The Human Rights Tragedy You Don't Know About in East Africa
In East African nations like Tanzania, albinos have to deal with both the medical issues they face and something which may be much more deadly: witch doctors.
Witch doctors work from the superstition that an albino's body parts can lead to power and wealth. Those afflicted with albinism have been victimized in Tanzania, 72 have been murdered in the past 13 years with only five successful prosecutions for the crimes. According to a United Nations report, the crimes are not limited to murder, but also human trafficking. An unidentified individual attempted to sell a man suffering from albinism for $250,000. The most chilling portion of the report comes at the expense of albino children:
"Some even believe that the witchcraft ritual is more powerful if the victim screams during the amputation, so body parts are often cut from live victims, especially children. The use of children is likely linked to the pursuit of innocence which, it is believed, enhances the potency of the witchcraft ritual."
Children are slaughtered while still awake and alive at the expense of superstition and lore. Superstition also creates an issue with prosecuting these crimes, as it is believed those with albinism cannot die and only "disappear." This obviously creates a lack of empathy for those who must continuously live in fear, not for the medical issues that arise because of their lack of skin pigmentation, but because of their neighbors.
For more information on the Tanzania Albinism Society and the work they're doing to prevent these killings from continuing, please visit their Facebook page located here.