Over the previous weekend, the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR) and Centre for The Development of People (CEDEP) organized a 1-and-a-half day workshop in Dedza. The meeting was officiated by a board Member of CHRR, Mr. Undule Mwakasungula and gathered Police Investigators, Police Prosecutors and Magistrates from Dedza, Salima and Machinga. The meeting objective was to examine the experiences of the people living with albinism, people accused of witchcraft and the LGBTIQ+ community in Malawi and the investigations of the crimes committed thereof. It also aimed to look into access to justice for vulnerable groups.
Supported by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, the two organizations have carried out various awareness raising activities and workshops to prompt discussion and solutions around the same. Shockingly, the engagement revealed that Malawi has the highest number of albino killings among 29 countries in Africa. To date, a total of 194 cases of body exhumation, killings and abductions have been recorded so far. Markets for the same remain unestablished. Most cases of crimes against Persons With Albinism (PWAs) are registered in border districts such as Nsanje, Machinga, Ntcheu, Mulanje, Phalombe, Zomba. Lilongwe, the district with the highest population density was also mentioned as having high numbers of these cases.
Trans-diverse communities are also another marginalized group in the country and cases of violence against them are still being registered in Malawi. Of late, this has been coupled with the militarization of COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing of masks in public. Additionally, the elderly in Malawi especially in rural areas remain vulnerable to abuse on suspicion of practice of witchcraft. Cases have been rising and some other have lost their lives in the process. One of the facilitators, National Governance and Programmes Coordinator for CCJP Mr. George Chiusiwa reiterated that access to justice for these groups is difficult and emphasized that justice must connote equality, equity, fairness all in line with procedures.