KILLING OF PERSONS WITH ALBINISM IN AFRICA – PROTECTION & SUPPORT KEY NOW!
This blog answers many questions regarding the plights of People with Albinism or PWA in Africa.
- How to help Albinos in Africa?
- Why are albino body parts valuable
- Why are there so many albinos in Tanzania
- Albino Killings in Africa
- Protection of Albinos in Africa
- Basic Human Rights of Albinos in Africa.
During my visit to Uganda, I met Pat Robert Larubi, a local independent investigative journalist from Uganda. I was shocked to learn about the massive discrimination against Albinos in Africa, based on nothing but their skin color. Not only are people with albinism discriminated against and even raped, their body parts and sometimes the whole bodies are also being sold in a black market. This horrendous crime is often done by the own family of the people with albinism.
I had no idea about this unless I visited myself. I am glad that a talented local journalist is making a difference by protecting the basic human rights of people with Albinism in many countries of Africa, such as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania where the highest number of such cases are found. There is still a lot to be done. Read on to know about a little discussed topic which needs your help and empathy. I really hope that Pat succeeds in his genuine mission to help and create awareness about the People with Albinism in Africa. The protection of basic human rights of the people with Albinism in Africa is the need of the hour.
I wish all the success to my new African friend Pat from Uganda. He is doing a wonderful job in creating a movement and awareness on albinism across multiple African nations. I felt the world needed to know this story. This is why I am sharing in on my blog and social media platforms.
Pat Robert Larubi is a seasoned Uganda based investigative journalist, special feature news producer with BBS- Buganda broadcasting Service, travel writer and photographer with Soft Power News, Uganda’s leading online news portal. An award winning disability right activist advancing the rights of persons with albinism across East Africa through his work with Pats Journal The Albinism News Network. It is a forum where people come to discover, learn and share inspiring and positive stories on albinism and those making a difference around the world.
Let us hear about the issues related to Albinism in Africa from Pat himself. This article is written by Pat. The copyright of the text and all the images clicked by him remains with Pat.
Meet The Ugandan Journalist creating awareness on Albinism in Africa.
Traveling to discover the often neglected stories, a Ugandan Journalist is changing narrative on Albinism in many African countries.
From Uganda to Kenya, Tanzania and across other African Countries, Pat Robert Larubi, a Ugandan based independent investigative journalist, special features TV News producer, Lifestyle and travel photographer, blogger and award-winning disability rights activist has continued to spin the wave of change on the rights, protection and support for persons with albinism, creating awareness and changing the negative narratives on albinism in Africa.
Through Pats Journal – Albinism News Network an online story telling platform where people come to discover, learn and share inspiring stories of persons with albinism across the globe, Pat has continued to build awareness and changing the negative narrative on albinism.
People with Albinism aka PWA need your love not sympathy –
Albinism to me is not the problem but how people perceive it is what needs to be addressed. I moved in this world to create awareness and project positive image of PWA (Person with Albinism/People with Albinism) through my writing and pictures as strong and able human beings as opposed to being seen as an object of sympathy. Through this work I am hoping to change the mindset of our key stakeholders, policy makers at all levels of government, parents and our children to accord and treat PWA as equal human being.
Albino Body parts for sale – Some shocking revelations:
There was need to address the recurring incidence of attacks, kidnaps for ritual murder, mutilation, stigma and outright discrimination of PWA simply because of the colour of their skin.
A United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Person with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero in a report dubbed “Waiting to Disappearing” revealed that over 600 persons with albinism across 28 countries in Africa had been killed in a decade while others mutilated or traumatized after surviving attacks.
“However, these figures are just a drop in the ocean, given the numerous undocumented and untold stories. Even then, a number of stories go unreported because of the involvement of family members besides lack of a formal monitoring mechanism to accurately track reported cases.”, Ero said.
Why are albino body parts valuable in Africa –
Her revelation is confirming the current wave of murder for rituals and open pursuit of Persons with albinism in some parts of Africa namely Tanzania and some west African countries under the pretext that their body parts bring wealth and/good fortunes.
How much Albino body parts in Africa sell for – Some shocking statistics?
“People are willing to pay as much as $3,000 or $4,000 for a limb, or as much as $75,000 – about £50,000 – for the ‘full set’, a whole body of a person with albinism” according to a recent news report by the Mail Online.
Adding that, since people began collecting records of the attacks, in West Africa there have been 74 killings and 59 survivors of attacks. Even the dead are not safe: 16 graves have been robbed. And these are only the recorded cases.
Albinism is more prevalent in Tanzania and West African countries
Tanzania and West African countries lead for killing PWA for quick cash. No single case of murder had been recorded in Uganda based on my two years research and investigation on the plight of persons with albinism in the country.
What causes Albinism in Africa and else-where
Wide spread level of stigma, discrimination and misconception continues to lag on because of ignorance on albinism as a non-contagious but a hereditary genetic condition characterized by total absence of pigmentation (melanin) resulting into a pale colour in the skin, hair and eyes of the victims.
Besides the above mentioned facts, I found that there is a looming threat resulting from the violation on the sexual and reproductive health rights of the women with albinism.
In my months long field work, I listened to a number of heart breaking stories related to repeated episodes of rape of the women by unscrupulous men within their own community.
Women with albinism face rape in Africa – HIV/Aids and more:
Agatha Kalonzo, a refugee from Congo now residing in Uganda shared the pain and sorrow of looking after three fatherless children simply because she had been raped over and over in her different stage of life. A mother of six now and in a stable relationship, she still recounts the horrible memories and what the future of her three daughter will be like. It is even worse for her now as they are all grounded in a refugee’s settlement camp in a foreign land.
Hasifah Namulondo, in Kamulu district, Eastern Uganda says she survived a rapist in her teen years but kept on getting sexual advances from cunning men who simply wanted to use her to prove if ‘she was truly a woman’.
These cases of rape have resulted into other women being infected with HIV/AIDS besides, high number of unplanned pregnancy and unwanted babies.
Those who have opted to fall in love honestly, have expressed being used and dropped which leads to the ever increasing vicious cycles of poor needy single mothers.
Stigma, discrimination and misconception around People with Albinism in Africa.
You know for me from listening to these numerous stories and what I had covered in the mainstream media over a period of time. I realized there was a lot of untold and neglected voices in the mainstream media. I developed an urge to push forth for inclusion and seeing to it that all voices matter especially for persons with disability.
So, I resigned from my highly paying Television job where I had worked as a special features news reporter/producer to take on this solo journey of advocacy for the sake of humanity.
Awareness on people with Albinism in Africa
And guess what? What started as a blogging passion on albinism led to the creation of Pats Journal that eventually got officially launched by the Rt. Hon Rebecca A. Kadaga, the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda during a celebration to mark the third international albinism awareness day celebrations in Jinja district.
I guess this could have not been possible without the support I got from Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism, working as a volunteer communication assistant.
Since inception my advocacy journey has focused mainly on increased publicity and media attention on issues surrounding albinism and as I do this, I have had to travel across the region to gather, interact, learn and share challenges encountered vis-à-vis factual aspects on albinism.
The routine skin cancer prevention clinics outreach program by Source of the Nile Union of Persons with albinism (SNUPA) where I am directly involved have all been a plus in creating the buzz.
Ultimately as I do all this advocacy work it’s my hope that, Persons with albinism will one day be free from all forms of socio-economic and political injustice.
How To Help Albinos in Africa –
Never the less I will continue to provide and facilitating access to accurate and authoritative information about Albinism while countering ignorance surely knowing that those affected will get inspired by reading other peoples story of hope, hard work and resilience while they find self-acceptance, support and sense of belonging within their own communities.
Mr and Miss Albinism – Bringing them in mainstream
For example last year, I led a team of ten Ugandan youth with albinism for the first ever Mr and Miss Albinism East Africa under the auspice of source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism organized by Albinism Society of Kenya. It is one maiden event that brought together 30 contestants from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda respectively. From this very event that, Uganda got its first ever Mr and Miss albinism Uganda.
Our Miss Albinism Uganda has embarked on a campaign for a cancer free society given the fact that cancer too remains to be one of the biggest threat claiming the lives of PWA in Uganda. During the outreach free sunscreen courtesy of Utrasun and Advantage Africa to SNUPA are given to participants.
However, because of the massive campaigns and advocacy but numerous organization more Persons with Albinism continue to come out and the number is seen to be gradually on the rise.
Why are there so many Albinos in Tanzania?
In Tanzania, persons with albinism represent one in every 1429 births, a much higher rate than in any other nation. According to Al-Shymaa Kway-Geer, a member of parliament with albinism, “There are 6,977 officially registered Persons with Albinism in Tanzania. While Kenya is said to be having the usually published 3,000 while in Uganda preliminary figures point at about 20,000 people.
Future plan – Protection of Albinos in Africa
We want to strengthen our human rights advocate plan, build strategic and strong partnership with all those interested in making a difference in the work. Secondly, soon we will be releasing a trailer from one of our upcoming film “The Invisible fathers” and we hope that this will go a long way in creating more awareness on this particular topic. The team is here to stay and we will still count on them to walk with us in this journey.
Human Rights of Albinos in Africa
Your involvement and support is an inspiration towards our endless efforts and work towards re-dignifying the lives of persons with Albinism. Besides you will be helping us continue propagating UN Sustainable Development Goals 10 for reduced inequalities and focus on Goal 16 with an ultimate goal of promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build an effective accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. This way we will be “Leaving No One Behind” and from our team, we are going nowhere except pushing towards success and we want to count on you to be able to support us today.
Contact details of Pat Robert Larubi
If you need more information on the same or want to hire him for a project, you can contact him directly on his Facebook Page called Pats Journal.
About the author from Uganda – Pat Robert Larubi
Pat Robert Larubi, is a special features and documentary film maker currently working with Buganda Broadcasting Service (BBS Terefayina) in Uganda.
His cutting-edge investigative reports and human centered stories on nodding g syndrome, the plight of people with disability gave him visibility not only as a journalist but more of a disability rights activist.
Besides his media role, Pat worked as junior lecturer of computer, radio and television production at UMCAT School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
In 2017, Pat was selected among top 18 African Journalists for a six months fellowship by DW Akademie Africa for Tell_The_Story, Conflict Sensitive Reporting fellowship.
In the same year, he emerged 3rd place winner of best portrait photographer at the Uganda Press Photo Award (#UPPA2017) respectively.
Between Jan 2015 to December 2016, Pat worked as the digital online content aggregator, reporter and life style photographer for Chimp Reports.
He resigned and founded, Northernews Wire recognized as Northern Uganda’s Independent Community Based Media Organization aimed at capturing, digitizing and archiving all oral knowledge and real time news and events across the region. It is manned by Defever O Martin Wodnam.
While working as volunteer with Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism – SNUPA Pat initiated #PatsJournal a digital online news platform for people and organizations working towards the provision of public and private discussion that enhances greater public awareness, engagements, human rights and protection of persons with Albinism in Africa.
He also promotes UN SDG Goal 10 for reduced Inequalities and 16 for peace and justice and strong institutions.
In his words, “With you all at heart, I am serving a purpose led life and not fulfilling a need.”
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