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UN rights chief condemns ‘abhorrent’ attacks on people with albinism in Tanzania

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5 March 2013 The top United Nations human rights official today said she was appalled by reports of increased attacks against people with albinism in Tanzania, and called on the authorities there to take stronger measures to halt the crimes and to educate people against stereotypes, including the belief that body parts from albinos have magical qualities.

“I strongly condemn these vicious killings and attacks, which were committed in particularly horrifying circumstances, and which have involved dismembering people, including children, while they are still alive,” the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a press release.

Since late January, four attacks were reported – three involving children, one as young as seven months old.

Authorities are investigating three of the cases, but according to the news release, successful prosecutions are rare. Out of the 72 murders of people with albinism documented in Tanzania since 2000, only five cases were prosecuted.

“I urge the Tanzanian authorities to strengthen their legal response to such crimes and increase their efforts to bring perpetrators of attacks and killings to justice,” Ms. Pillay said, adding that the Government has the primary responsibility to protect people with albinism.

According to the High Commissioner’s office (OHCHR), the killing and mutilation of people with albinism is often linked to witchcraft. Some practitioners allegedly also believe that the witchcraft is more powerful if the victim screams during the amputation, which explains why the body parts are often cut from live victims.

“These crimes are abhorrent. People with albinism have the right to start living, like anyone else, without fear of being killed or dismembered,” Ms. Pillay noted.

She also urged the Government to guarantee the victims’ right to redress, and to provide them with medical and psychosocial treatment, as well as legal support.

“I am deeply alarmed by the general discrimination and social exclusion many people with albinism suffer, as a result of their skin colour, not just in Tanzania but in other countries as well,” Ms. Pillay said, noting that families of children with albinism frequently neglect their education.

Those who do attend school often suffer from severe bullying, and many are forced to drop out of school and live in poverty.

Article source: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44279&Cr=Tanzania&Cr1=

Fire in S. Darfur camp kills 3, destroys 62 houses -sources

A fire broke out in South Darfur’s Kalma camp for displaced killing three people and destroying 62 homes this week, a sheikh says.

Two children aged four and seven were killed along with an elderly woman. Cows, donkeys and poultry also died as a result of the flames, which burned 62 homes and large quantities of food and crops.

Kalma’s Sheikh Ali Abdul Rahman Tahir told Radio Dabanga the Center 1B area of the camp was affected, estimating the incident caused “millions” of Sudanese pounds in losses to its residents.

Yaqoub Mursal, commissioner of Bilel locality where Kalma is situated, said the fire killed one child and burned 27 homes, 13 of which only partially.

He said some families lost everything due to the flames and estimated Kalma’s damages to be around 600 thousand Sudanese pounds (about US$136,000.00).

Radio Dabanga file photo

Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/44205

Strike of N. Darfur hospitals’ doctors to pause for ‘one day’

Doctors of El Fasher’s hospitals in North Darfur announced a one-day pause in their general strike to treat the accumulating number of patients in health centers “following ethics of their profession”.

Physicians began a strike on Sunday after “exhausting all attempts and means to get the responsible authorities to address their demands”.

According to a source, they met on Tuesday and decided to halt their protests for one day on Wednesday before carrying on with it from Thursday until Saturday.

The doctors are demanding the full reinstatement of their salaries, better working environment and to be paid extra hours and bonuses.

They claim the government has “illegally” cut off three months of their salaries, adding this represents them a loss of 45 million Sudanese pounds (about US$10 million).

Photo: Doctors at Kassab camp, North Darfur (Albert González Farran/ UNAMID)

Related: N. Darfur doctors enter second day of general strike (4 March 2013)

Article source: http://www.radiodabanga.org/node/44207

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