Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
An albino holds a placard during an Albinism awareness campaign in Harare Source: Pixabay

Geneva, September 21, 2017: “When I was sleeping in my house, four people came and started attacking me with machetes,” said Mariama Staford, an albino in Tanzania. “One of those four people was a neighbor, and he is the one who took the machete and was cutting my arms.”

Staford was 25 years old when she was attacked in 2008. She told VOA that her neighbor first cut off her right arm and threw it to his accomplices. Then, “he chopped off my left arm.”


“I tried my best to struggle in order to defend myself,” she said, “but it was not successful and so they pulled me down in front of my son, who at that time was only two years old.”

She said it took seven hours before villagers carried her on a stretcher to a dispensary.

“When I reached there, the doctor who was on duty said that I should be returned home because I was already dead,” Staford said.

U.N. action

Two years ago, in an effort to counter such attacks, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights appointed Ikponwosa Ero as the first U.N. independent expert on human rights of persons with albinism.

UN: Attacks Against Albinos for Body Parts, Stands Human Rights Issues


FILE – The U.N.’s independent expert on human rights and albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, addresses a news conference at the end of her official visit to Malawi on April 29, 2016.

Ero, of Nigeria, also has albinism — an inherited condition that affects the pigment of the skin and hair. She said attacks, mutilation and murders occur because of the false belief that albino body parts can bring wealth and good luck.

Ero told VOA that she has documented close to 800 cases of attacks against albinos in the past decade in sub-Saharan Africa, where such witchcraft-related violence is most common.

“Those are reported cases alone. Most cases are not reported because most cases involve family members or people known to the victim,” Ero said.

She said the practice thrives because there is a lot of money to be made.

“The Red Cross reported that the body parts were valued on the black market. Like an arm was valued at $2,000, and a complete corpse at about $75,000. So, there are profits to be made even though you do not believe in witchcraft,” she said.

Though it is the witch doctors who drive this trade, they rarely are brought to justice. Ero said there were very few witch doctors among the prisoners she met during two visits last year to Malawi and Mozambique to assess the situation of people with albinism.

ALSO READ: The Traditional Healers of Malawi Deny Link to Albino Killings.

“Societies are afraid of them,” Ero said. “The police are afraid of them. So, those are usually not prosecuted.

“And then the people on the high scale who are going to pay the money are usually not in jail because they are the elite. Who you find in jail are poor farmers, poor peddlers who are offered a lot of money.”

Staford’s story

No one has paid for the crime committed against Mariama Staford.

“My case reached the trials, and the neighbor that I knew for 10 years was released,” she said. “The court said that because I have albinism, I have low vision, so I could not have recognized my neighbor chopping off my arms.”

Staford has suffered other repercussions, as well. When the attack occurred, she was six months pregnant. She lost her baby.

She told VOA she also must live with the suffering of her son who, as a two-year-old child, was forced to witness the horrific attack against his mother.

“It saddens me to know that, as a mother, I was unable to take care of him, just like a mother would do — even embrace him after the attack,” Staford said. “But also, he is a sad person and he always remembers what happened.”

Staford said there should be stringent laws against any person who attacks people with albinism. She also would like to see the government take away licenses to practice from witch doctors.

Staford and her son, who does not have albinism, as well as two siblings — who do have the condition — are living in protective custody in a safe house in Tanzania run by a branch of a Canadian-U.S. charitable organization called Under the Same Sun. (VOA)


Popular

IANS

'E-Attorney' to help lawyers handle client information and case details easily.

By Ganesh Bhatt
A 10-year-old prodigy from Tamil Nadu's Vellore has created an app called 'E-Attorney' to help lawyers handle client information and case details easily. Through this app, users can sign in and add client documents and store other case related information quickly.
Kanishkar's father, who is also a lawyer, was facing great difficulty in keeping client details organised during the pandemic. Therefore, when the young boy had to choose a course subject for his coding project, he decided to create something that would help his father. Through 'E-Attorney', users can also contact their clients directly and the clients, who are given access to the app by their lawyer, can also easily view their case documents stored in the app.

brown wooden tool on white surface Lawyers are facing great difficulty in keeping client details organised during the pandemic. | Unsplash


Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

Not only has the Queen of England long been a visitor to the racing at Ascot but she's also had the honour of having a winner of her own at the meeting.

By- Nanci SEO

Now we're into 2022, the anticipation for a new racing season is hotting up even more.

By the time the world focuses its gaze on Ascot in mid-June, records will have been broken, and new winners will have been celebrated in the other meetings such as the Grand National. However, there's nothing quite like the Royal Ascot meeting and the historic Ascot Gold Cup race, which has been running since 1807. The race is the first leg of the triple crown of thoroughbred racing in the UK, making it one of the most important on the racing calendar.

The meeting is held at the course, which is just 28 miles west of London and only a few miles from the residence of the British Royal Family, Windsor Castle. It's also been an event that the monarchy of Britain has often visited and had a personal interest in. Not only has the Queen of England long been a visitor to the racing at Ascot but she's also had the honour of having a winner of her own at the meeting as noted by Town & Country. Will there be another Royal victory this year? Let's look at some of the favourites for the headline race, the Gold Cup.

Trueshan

The six-year-old gelding's pedigree means he's a real threat to all his other riders at Ascot this year. Trueshan has previous experience of winning the course; he won in 2020 at the British Champions Long Distance Cup, with his jockey Hollie Doyle commenting, 'he went through the ground like a tractor, he loved it.' Going into 2021, he was much fancied after looking strong in the lead up to the meeting but was pulled when his trainer Alan King deemed the ground to be too firm. He had a successful season, winning the Goodwood Cup and the Prix Du Cadran in France in October. So he's in fine fettle going into 2022, does that mean it's finally his year to taste Gold Cup success?

Keep Reading Show less
Wikipedia

Good Earth, released its first-ever limited-edition art prints in 2020.

Good Earth, released its first-ever limited-edition art prints in 2020, depicting flora and wildlife recovering their due place in nature.

Van Vaibhav is Good Earth's guiding concept. The brand has a profound passion for nature in all of its forms, and preserving the beauty of the forest is at the centre of everything. In keeping with this ethos, there is no better way to commemorate our 26th anniversary than by giving back to the environment.

The Dreamscape art print series celebrates the brand's birthday. Endangered and fragile creatures of wild paradise come alive with attention to their condition in India.

The artwork, titled 'Living on the Edge,' underlines the importance of getting a closer look at these wonderful creatures. While everything appears to be lovely and unconstrained, these endangered species are truly living on the verge of extinction.

The Dreamscape will be printed in 500 limited edition Poster prints, which will be available for purchase the brand's web store. All sales revenues - matched with an equal amount by Good Earth - will go towards the Wildlife Trust of India's aim to conserve and protect vulnerable and endangered species, as part of our ongoing relationship.

Good Earth's Founder and Creative Director, Anita Lal Google Earth's Founder Anita Lal spoke about the initiative, "Animals are so vulnerable, and their habitats are ever receding due to the pressure on land." |WikipediaWikipedia

Keep reading... Show less