A new report has just been published by the international organisation Under the Same Sun addressing the torture of people with albinism in Burundi. The report has been submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture, Session 58.
People with albinism in Burundi regularly face torture. They are ritually hunted, attacked and murdered. Limbs and digits are hacked off to feed an illegal trade in their body parts, a phenomenon rife in other countries in the region, including Malawi and Tanzania. Myths about the ghostly magic of albinism suggest that these body parts can bring fortune and good health. The crisis is so serious that the United Nations Independent Expert on the rights of persons with albinism, recently stated that people with albinism are facing systemic extinction.
But the government has failed to protect Burundians with albinism. Investigation, prosecution and punishment continue to be weak and limited. Perpetrators go unpunished while the government sections off people with albinism in police stations for their protection, often without food or clothing. The Convention Against Torture demands that states do better.
People with albinism have little or no pigment in the skin, hair and eyes. This report shows how this violence and the fear people with albinism are subjected to, is and should be considered as torture.
The report includes graphic cases of mutilation and murder, chilling statistics, but also hopeful recommendations.
Download the full report here