Annie Alfred: Hunted For Her Body Parts
Demand that Malawi protect people with albinism from murder
People call me Ghost. People call me White Man. Because I have Albinism. But I am just like anyone else. Just with white skin and white hair. But some people think that my bones and hair have magic powers that give them money and power. And they will do anything to get themAnnie Alfred
Annie Alfred is like any other child in Malawi. Her friends and family love her. Aged 10, she wants to be a nurse when she grows up. But she may never live to realise her ambitions because of people who believe her body has magic powers. These people think she’s unhuman. They call her names like “ghost” or “money”. They want to steal her hair or –worse – her bones.
Annie was born with albinism, an inherited condition that prevents her body from making enough colour, or melanin, to protect her skin from the sun. About 7,000-10,000 people in Malawi share Annie’s condition. And they are all at risk of being hunted and killed by people who think their body parts will make them rich.
An animal like a rhino, is better protected here in Malawi, than a person with albinism.
Attacks on people with albinism have seen a sharp rise since November 2014. In 2015 alone, there were 45 reports of actual or attempted murder and abduction.
People like Annie have nowhere safe to go. It isn’t just criminals who will kidnap them, but family members, too. They think that people with albinism are gold that can be snatched and sold. Annie and others like her need the full protection of the law.
Heartbroken mother Edna Cedric (left) clings to her son after identifying his murdered brother from his decapitated head. Nine-year-old Harry, an albino boy, is the latest victim of hunters selling body parts to witch doctors.
Albino people in Malawi are being killed so their body parts can be sold for use in potions. The latest victim was snatched from Edna’s arms while sleeping.
They came in the middle of the night. She awoke to the sound of the people kicking down the door of her house. Edna told me “Before I could understand what was happening, they sliced the mosquito net and grabbed one of the twins”… I held on to him by holding his waist….” Unable to continue speaking she breaks down in tears. When they could not overpower her, one assailant hit her in the forehead with a machete.
The boy’s twin keeps asking where his brother is. Edna can’t bear to tell him the truth
In November 2015, Amnesty International researchers met many people with albinism and their families who described how they live in constant fear of attacks and abuses.
Some had to move from rural to urban areas for their own safety. Children were withdrawn from schools by their families fearing attacks. Parents are constantly on guard for attacks against their offspring.
With your support we can:
• Ensure people with albinism are protected from attacks by identifying areas particularly susceptible to attacks and improving the visibility of police
• Give the police resources to adequately investigate crimes related to albinism
• Bring the perpetrators of albinism-related crimes to justice in accordance with fair trial processes
• Tackle the harmful superstitious beliefs perpetuating attacks on people with albinism through public education initiatives.