BLANTYRE-(MaraviPost)– The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) is deeply concerned and moved by the resurfacing of gruesome attacks on persons with albinism and strongly condemn the gruesome murder of Yasin Phiri , aged 54, of Mundiyeghe village in the area of T/A Fukamapiri in Nkhatabay district.

This attack, happening on the eve of the new year, represents a massive setback to progress achieved since 2018.

In the press statement released on Tuesday and available to The Maravi Post, the association is urging  the authorities to do everything within their power to bring the perpetrators of this barbaric crime to justice and to take all necessary measures for enhancing the safety of persons with albinism in the country.

Here is the full APAM statement?

 

APAM CONDEMN THE GRUESOME MURDER OF YASIN PHIRI IN NKHATABAY DISTRICT

Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

The Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) is deeply concerned and moved by the resurfacing of gruesome attacks on persons with albinism and strongly condemn the gruesome murder of Yasin Phiri , aged 54, of Mundiyeghe village in the area of T/A Fukamapiri in Nkhatabay district. This attack, happening on the eve of the new year, represents a massive setback to progress achieved since 2018.

We urge the authorities to do everything within their power to bring the perpetrators of this barbaric crime to justice and to take all necessary measures for enhancing the safety of persons with albinism in the country.

It is quite unfortunate that Malawians with albinism are among the most marginalised and vulnerable of the country’s citizens, yet very little attention continues to be given to protecting them from human rights violations, threats and violent crime.

According to facts we have gathered, the murder of Mr Yasin Phiri occurred on the night of 31st December 2018 at Mundiyeghe Village in the area of T/A Fukamapiri in Nkhatabay district. The deceased was living in his house together with his three sons after his wife temporarily left for her home after the two disagreed over the behaviour of the wife displayed to their tenant.

On this particular night, the deceased went to sleep in his room and one of his sons, George Yasin, aged 9, was also sleeping in a different room . The other two sons were at Kande T/C for their business. At about 22hrs, two unknown thugs broke into the house through a window and went straight into the room of the deceased where they started stabbing him.

Thereafter they took the deceased at a distance of about 20metres where they chopped both arms and they left. All this was taking place whilst the youngest son was inside the house after he was threatened to be killed if he shouted. Matter was reported at Chintheche Police Post where it was referred to Nkhatabay Police Station.

A Postmortem conducted by medical officials revealed that the deceased had died due to severe loss of blood due to the multiple wounds and chopping of both arms.

This case is agonizing and profoundly frustrating considering that just last month, on 10th December 2018 the Association of Persons with Albinism in Malawi (APAM) last month successfully commemorated the World Human Rights Day by holding a national stakeholders conference where the need to enhance the protection of persons with albinism was highlighted.

We call upon authorities and all stakeholders to redouble their efforts in implementing the National Action Plan, which addresses the root causes of attacks on persons with albinism, including a nationwide awareness raising campaign, strengthened investigations and prosecutions, together with strengthened protection and victim assistance measures. As a vulnerable minority group, persons with albinism are in need of social and legal protection in order to enjoy the full spectrum of fundamental rights, including the right to life and freedom of movement.

It is quite unfortunate that despite the National Action Plan and public condemnation of the attacks by the President of Malawi and senior government officials, the violence is continueing. It is also quite disheartening that although some individuals have been arrested, charged and convicted, the majority of crimes remain unresolved due to lack of government resource priotization, creating a climate of impunity as well as deep fear.

As we mourn the death of Mr. Yasin Phiri, we encourage the authorities to ensure a thorough, prompt and impartial investigation not only into his killing but also the cases of other persons with albinism, including MacDonald Masambuka, Joseph Kachingwe, Harry Mokoshoni and others, and bring all alleged perpetrators to justice.

The government of Malawi has obligations under the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to protect, promote and ful?l the right to life, dignity, personal security and safety for all people in Malawi, including vulnerable groups such as people with albinism, and ensure equal protection before the law.

The Constitution of Malawi also places obligations on the government to protect the rights of all people, including persons with albinism.

Therefore, as we condemn the killing of Mr. Yasin Phiri, we urge the authorities to do everything within their power to bring the perpetrators of these crimes to justice and to take all necessary measures for enhancing the safety of persons with albinismin the country.

OVERSTONE KONDOWE

APAM PRESIDENT

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