Norway for Holistic Approach in Protecting PWAs, Elderlies
The Norwegian Ambassador to Malawi Ingrid Marie Mikelsen says continued attacks on persons with albinism (PWAs) and the elderly from attacks over myths of wealth accumulation and witchcraft accusations are indications that little is being done to protect these people from abuses.
Ambassador Mikelsen speaking in Mulanje on Tuesday during an open day on protection of the elderly and persons with albinism said there is need to collectively address the myths surrounding the attacks.
“Norway has attempted to address these challenges through programmes with Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for Development of People (CEDEP),” said Mikelsen.
She said initially the support started in five districts but due to rising cases of albino killings and people accused of witchcraft, the programme was scaled up into five more districts and she said currently the programme is running in ten districts of the country, Mulanje being one of them.
Executive Director of Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP) Gift Trapence said it is unfortunate that perpetrators of violence against the elderly and persons with albinism are their relations.
“The work we are doing is not for civil society organizations alone but other stakeholders including the faith leaders, chiefs and the general public should take role in fighting against violence against the elderly and persons with albinism,” said Trapence.
He urged government to strengthen and implement human rights policies and laws.
Innocent Walema, a boy with albinism from Piyasi village, testified how he survived different attacks from some people including a certain man who fled the village after his wife revealed her husband’s intentions to attack him.
“I left the village and went to stay with my uncle at Bondo village fearing for my life as almost every week I was experiencing some threats from unknown people,” said Walema.
CEDEP and CHRR are implementing a human rights program targeting the elderly, persons with albinism and other minority groups like the LGBTI in ten districts including Mulanje with support from the Norwegian government.