Malawi: Persons With Albinism Stage Demo, March to Malawi Presidential Palace

Police block APAM demonstrators from reaching State House.

Association of People with Albinism in Malawi (Apam) on Wednesday defiantly marched to Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe despite being denied permission to protest and stage vigils at State House, as they demanded President Peter Mutharika to immediately respond to their calls.

Lilongwe City Council had warned members of the association on Monday aagainst holding vigils at the palace citing Section 103 of the Police Act which restricts demonstrations or assembly within State residences.

However, on Wednesday Apam members with help by some civil society organisations (CSOs) led by Human Rights Defenders Coalition chairperson Timothy Mtambo, started the protest march from Lilongwe Community Centre Ground to an area 100 metres far from the State House where they are expected to hold vigils.

Mutharika is not available at the palace in Lilongwe as he has travelled to Mzuzu in the Northern Region to undertake a number of engagements, including commissioning of the Mzimba Integrated Urban Water and Sanitation Project.

President Mutharika last week met about 50 persons with albinism mostly drawn from the Southern Region under the banner of Poor and Concerned People with Albinism (Pacpwa) - a breakaway grop of Apam.

The President responded to demands of PWAs and directed Treasury to immediately start disbursing the K3.1 billion budgeted for the 2018-2022 National Action Plan on the Killings and Abduction of PWAs in the country.

Malawi is experiencing a resurgence of attacks against persons with albinism, with two fatalities and three abductions since December 31 2018. Two of those who were abducted were later rescued by community members, one remains missing.

Since November 2014, the number of reported crimes against people with albinism in Malawi has risen to 152 cases, including 25 murders and more than 10 people missing, according to Apam.

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