Monday, April 27, 2009

Albino killings: Acknowledge witchcraft 2009-02-15 12:06:33 By Ley Melwa
In order to win the fight against killings of people with albinism, the Government should first of all accept the fact that witchcraft exists, contrary to the laws of the land which categorically dispel such existence. The President of the University of Dar es Salaam Human Rights Association (UDHRA), Onesmo Olengurumwa, said yesterday that the Government should make that u-turn, claiming that the entire population was convinced of its presence despite the absence of scientific verification. Olengurumwa was taking part in the Mlimani Hard Talk on How to Battle Atrocious Killings of Albino in Tanzania jointly organised by the UDHRA and Tanzania-German Centre for Postgraduate Studies in Law. ``The war against these killings becomes all the more difficult because the law does not provide for the existence of witchcraft while individuals do,`` said the UDHRA chief, adding that once the problem is addressed to that an extent it would be easier to deal with the culprits. Killings of albinos are fuelled by the lust to get rich quickly. Greedy, heartless gold miners and fishermen in the Lake Zone and people in other businesses elsewhere in the country are trading in the body parts of albinos, including limbs, hair, skin and genitals which are controversially reported to enable them catch more fish or strike huge precious minerals. The belief that albinos have magical power is widespread in the superstition and witchcraft industry which tempts some politicians and business people to apply it, in order to increase their prospects for success. However, Lawyer George Bakari suggested that the Judiciary, the media, CSOs, religious leaders, politicians and communities should bolster response to weed out the deeply entrenched superstitious beliefs that incite the murders through the systematic violation of human rights. Bakari warned that nobody knows who is next after the albinos, quoting the late pastor Martin Niemoller of Germany who said, `first they came for Jews, I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. They came for the communist, I did not speak out because I was not a communist. They came for the trade unionist, I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. When they came for me, no one was left to speak out`.
SOURCE: Sunday Observer

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