Albinos in Mozambique have suffered more than 100 attacks since 2014, a UN expert said Friday, with hunters persecuting them for everything from their toes to their faeces.
Ikponwosa Ero, the UN Human Rights Council’s special expert on albinism, said she was “deeply struck” by the sense of fear within the community in Mozambique.
While widely reported in neighbouring Tanzania and Malawi, attacks against albinos in Mozambique were a new phenomenon, said Ero at the end of her 12-day mission to the country.
“(They) are hunted and their body parts are wanted — everything from their heads to their toes, their hair, their nails and even their faeces are collected,” she told reporters in Maputo.
Ero said local activist groups had gathered evidence of more than 100 attacks on albinos since 2014, with the real figure thought to be higher.
Between 20,000 and 30,000 Mozambicans are living with albinism, which causes white skin because of a hereditary condition that leads to an absence of pigmentation.
“It is believed that the masterminds operate in a secretive but powerful cross-border network akin to that of drug barons,” Ero said.
“To date, none of them have been caught or prosecuted and perceived networks are yet to be identified.”
Canadian charity Under The Same Sun has documented 178 murders of albinos in Africa over approximately 10 years.