Langley MP gets Commons to condemn attacks on Tanzanian children with albinism

Canada calls on Tanzanian government to act

Albino 12-year-old Tanzanian boy Adam Robert was attacked with a machete Oct 14 by members of his family

The campaign against the murder and mutilation of Tanzanian adults and children with albinism was unanimously supported by the Canadian House of Commons on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Members of Parliament supported a motion by Langley MP Mark Warawa that condemns the attacks on adults and children with albinism for their body parts, expresses the support of the citizens of Canada for people with albinism in Tanzania who have been the victims of such attacks, urges the Government of Tanzania to prosecute perpetrators of these crimes “actively and aggressively” and calls on Tanzanian authorities “to take immediate action to prevent further violence against persons with albinism and to bring to swift justice those who engaged in such practices.”

Warawa called the practice of hacking off body parts of people with albinism for sale to witch doctors who believe they possess magical powers an “unimaginable evil.”

To date, there have been 76 documented attacks resulting in 62 murders and 14 survivors. Only five of these cases have resulted in convictions in Tanzanian courts.

“Albinos are known as zeru zeru, meaning invisible, inhuman, a ghost,” Warawa said.

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition that results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light.

Almost all people with albinism are visually impaired, with the majority being classified as “legally blind”. While numbers vary, in North America and Europe it is estimated that one in every 20,000 people have some form of albinism.

In Tanzania, and throughout East Africa, albinism is much more prevalent, with estimates of one in 2,000 people affected.

Warawa praised the efforts of Under the Same Sun, a non-profit organization which promotes the well being of people disadvantaged by disability and poverty.

“My appreciation goes to founder Peter Ash, a passionate philanthropist and entrepreneur, and a resident of my riding of Langley, BC. He also happens to have albinism himself. His dedication to this cause is an example to us all.”

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