New Study on the Human Rights and Protection of Persons with Albinism in Mozambique with a Special Focus on Human Trafficking
In Mozambique persons with albinism are estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 individuals, a relatively small group, which is dispersed across the country. Even though albinism is a natural inherited condition, persons with albinism are subject to discrimination, exclusion, verbal and physical violent attacks, which can amount to body part and organ removal, organ trafficking and murder. Following the sudden increase of reported physical attacks against persons with albinism at the end of 2014, which intensified in mid-2015, the trafficking of persons with albinism for the removal of body parts received increasing attention from law enforcement and human rights actors in Mozambique.
At the peak of the attacks in 2015, the United Nations Independent Expert (UNIE) on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero received reports from civil society of over a hundred attacks during this period. According to the UNIE, the number of attacks must be even higher than the reported ones, as there is no systematic mechanism to facilitate the monitoring and reporting of such cases. The UNIE also states, that whereas physical attacks against persons with albinism, including kidnapping and trafficking in body parts, have been reported in the majority of the provinces of Mozambique, Zambezia seems particularly affected. She also states that, although adults are also targeted, it is children who appear to be the majority of victims.
Several studies, cited throughout this report, exist about persons with albinism in Mozambique. Most of them are of a sociological and anthropological nature, looking mainly at myths, beliefs and witchcraft practices or studies that focus on trafficking in persons (TiP). However, there is no comprehensive study providing wide-ranging information on socio-political and socio-cultural beliefs that cause the discrimination of persons with albinism and which examines the everyday life situations and challenges, human rights violations, including TiP, that persons with albinism are experiencing.
This situation analysis gathers information and results from various studies and reports, and complements them with results from primary data collection in Mozambique. The situation analysis therefore contributes to filling information gaps and to the availability of a more complete understanding of the situations and challenges persons with albinism face in Mozambique. One of the goals of the analysis was to have a better understanding of the situation through the stories and inputs from persons with albinism themselves. However, it is beyond the scope of this situation analysis to aim at filling all potential information gaps.
The situation analysis consists of a) an analysis of the socio-political root causes of the discrimination against persons with albinism and socio-cultural beliefs with regard to persons with albinism in Mozambique; b) an examination of the everyday life situations and challenges for persons with albinism, as well as human rights violations that persons with albinism are experiencing, with a special focus on human trafficking; c) the legal and policy frameworks to protect persons with albinism in Mozambique and d) a legal analysis of the cases related to human rights abuse faced by persons with albinism, including trafficking in persons, in order to recognize patterns and analyze if the criminal procedures as well as the rulings are in line with international standards