By Flaudhia Kitenge
My name is Faudhia Kitenge from Tanzania. I am living with Albinism.
I write to address human right abuses against children and young people living with albinism. As they say justice delayed is justice denied. In our country we have many people who have been sentenced to death in what is called “albino killing”. There are cases where young women have lost body parts and others their lives due to cruel and out-dated beliefs which promote use body parts for lucky charms. In one case after cooperation with community members, the police caught the responsible person and took him to court. We heard a lot about the court case but to our horror after two weeks he was free and back on the streets.
What do you think will be the effect on society? People won’t stop such kind of murder and torture, simply because they think nothing serious will be done. I have heard them say that our president will not sign the death sentence into law because of human rights considerations. So my question is, aren’t people living with albinism human? Our government signed a number of treaties on human rights for all citizens. The Convention on the Right of the Child Article 6 it says that every child has the right to live. This article doesn’t exclude any group of children. A child with albinism, a child with any disability is still a CHILD! The African Charter on Human and People's Rights, Article 3 says that every individual shall be equal before the law. This is clearly not being implemented.
Coming to what I think should be done to address this injustice.
First by the government- they should respond to these abuses as they are reported so that the whole community can understand that such crimes will be punished .
By the religious leaders- they should speak out more about the value and dignity of every person. And also that we are all equal before God.
By community leaders- speak out against some beliefs in some rural areas that a child with a disability is a punishment from God. This is so bad that some midwives immediately kill that child and dump his body in the forest.
By the NGOs- I know they have done a lot to support communities in urban areas. But please move to remote parts of our country and see what you can do to help children that don’t go to school because of disability. Discrimination is a human rights abuse!
As children living with disability we are living in fear. Sometimes we cannot move around freely outside our homes for fear of being attacked.
Yes, we signed the Human Rights Articles but what about their implementation?
I rest my case.
As a result of the ever present danger of being killed for body parts, young people living with albinism often live very sheltered lives. They don’t have the same access as other young people to information and services concerning their sexual and reproductive health and rights, including how to prevent HIV. We need to reach all young people if we are to end AIDS by 2030.