UN rights expert in first official visit to Malawi to assess situation of people with albinism

By Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

United Nations Independent Expert Ikponwosa Ero will carry out a monitoring visit to Malawi from 18 to 29 April 2016 to assess the human rights situation of people with albinism. Ms. Ero visit comes at a key time when attacks of persons with albinism and the sale of their body parts are frequently reported from the country.

This will be the first country visit ever by the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism since the Human Rights Council established the mandate in March 2015. “I look forward to this first official mission to evaluate the situation of human rights of persons with albinism in Malawi, make concrete recommendations, and identify good practices to promote regionally,” said Ms. Ero, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government. “Attacks of persons with albinism and the sale of their body parts will be one of the main focusses of my visit. Yet, I cannot separate these crimes from other relevant and contributing human rights issues faced by this group in the spheres of health, disability, education, harmful traditional practices, among others,” she stressed. The Independent Expert is tasked to report on developments and obstacles to enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism; identify and promote good practices; and combat stereotypes, prejudices, harmful traditional practices and beliefs that hinder the enjoyment of their human rights. During her two-week visit, the human rights expert will travel to Lilongwe, Machinga, Zomba, Phalombe and Kasungu. She will meet with representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, local and territorial authorities, the Malawi Human Rights Commission, civil society groups, including organisations of persons with albinism, and members of the diplomatic community. “I also give particular importance to meeting with persons with albinism as well as families affected by violations of the human rights of persons with albinism,” Ms. Ero added. At the end of her visit, on Friday 29 April 2016, the expert will share with the media her preliminary observations at a press conference which will be held at 10:30 am at the UNDP premises in Lilongwe, Plot 7/Area 40, Lilongwe. Access to the press conference will be limited to journalists. (Contact for press conference: Chikondi Lunduka: Office: 01 773 500. Mobile: 0999750573 / [email protected]) The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017.