Ritual killings in Tanzania of people with albinism continue to increase according to reports released by United Nations human rights officials. Rooted in superstition and carried out through tradition, people are mutilating children and adults with albinism for witchcraft purposes. The attacks peak during political elections, as politicians pay thousands of dollars to obtain body parts for their “magical benefits” to help gain power, win elections and increase their wealth. Although worldwide non-profit organizations are fighting to protect these victims, African governments fail to intervene effectively.
One in 1,400 people in Africa are born with albinism, which is the highest rate among the world’s countries. The Canadian organization, Under the Same Sun, has documented 332 attacks since 1998, which does not include unreported, especially in more rural areas. Warehouses have been built as a temporary solution to help protect victims, where many children are housed and educated. Several cases of sexual and physical abuse have been made known to the public, making these facilities another dangerous place for the children to reside.
Lisa Schlein, “Tanzania: Ritual Killings of People with Albinism Increase,” AllAfrica, August 25, 2014, http://allafrica.com/stories/201408260456.html.
Samuel Oakford, Fueled by Superstition, People Are Violently Attacking Albinos in Tanzania,” Vice News, August 27, 2014, https://news.vice.com/article/fueled-by-superstition-people-are-violently-attacking-albinos-in-tanzania.
Student Researcher: Kirsten Ross (Sonoma State University)
Community Evaluator: Cora Guy (Member, Community and Local Law Enforcement Task Force, Sonoma County)