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Witchcraft Killings Of People With Albinism Rose During Pandemic – UN Expert

witchcraft killings of people with albinism rose during pandemic un
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GENEVA (28 July 2021) – Killings of people with
albinism have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, as
some people plunged into poverty turned to witchcraft in
hopes of gaining quick wealth, Ikponwosa Ero, the outgoing
UN independent expert on the rights of people with albinism,
said today.

“Despite progress on many fronts, I was
deeply saddened at the notable increase in reported cases of
people with albinism being killed or attacked because of the
mistaken believe that using their body parts in potions can
bring good luck and wealth,” she said. “Even more
tragically, the majority of victims have been
children.”

Ero was named to the post by the Human
Rights Council in 2015 and will be succeeded on 01 August by
Ms. Muluka Anne Miti-Drummond of Zambia.

“As I leave
office, I am gratified that the Human Rights Council has, in
an historic resolution,
condemned harmful practices related to witchcraft and ritual
attacks, but there is still much to be done,” she
said.

The ground-breaking resolution passed by the
Human Rights Council earlier his month condemned human
rights violations committed through witchcraft accusations
and ritual attacks and called for international consultation
and recommendations on the matter.

“I have spent the
last six years battling witchcraft-related attacks against
people with albinism, and am gratified that there has been
much progress on several continents, despite some setbacks
during the pandemic,” said Ero.

As progress on the
issue, she cited a regional action plan on albinism in
Africa in collaboration with the African Union. In addition,
awareness-raising campaigns have increased public
understanding of the challenges for persons with albinism in
Africa and globally, including in countries like Brazil,
Japan and Fiji.

Research
on albinism has increased more than tenfold, she said, and
the explosion in data and reliable information has increased
understanding of how the right to health, education, on
disability rights and racial discrimination pertain to
people with albinism. There is also increased understanding
of the rights of women and children impacted by albinism and
the need to protect against harmful
practices.

“While we have come very far in the fight
against these heinous acts, the road ahead remains long and
arduous,” said Ero. “For this reason, this mandate
remains crucial, and I call on States to provide all
possible support to my successor.”

Ms.
Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria),
Independent
Expert on the enjoyment of human rights of persons with
albinism
was designated in June 2015 as the first
UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by
persons with albinism. The vision of Ms. Ero’s mandate is
driven by the cross-cutting principle of the UN Sustainable
development goals: “leaving no one behind…starting with
the furthest behind first.” Ms. Ero has over a decade of
experience in the research, policy development, and practice
of human rights concerning persons with albinism. She has
advised organizations and governments around the world on
human rights concerning persons with albinism. As the
International Advocacy and Legal Officer for Under the Same
Sun — an international organization with a focus on
albinism — she developed strategic initiatives involving
regional and international human rights mechanisms, prepared
guiding documents, and oversaw the implementation of
recommendations made by the UN and other human rights
organizations. Ms Ero is also the author of numerous papers
and articles, particularly with regards to applicable legal
frameworks as well as the development and implementation of
special measures to facilitate the enjoyment of human rights
by persons with albinism.

The mandate of the
Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by
persons with albinism was established by the Human Rights
Council in June
2005.

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