People with albinism in Swaziland have called on the Government to protect them because they say they are ‘hunted down like animals’.
The call came on Friday (17 June 2016) during a march to raise awareness of their plight.
The Swazi News reported, ‘The message was loud and clear that government should put in place policies to protect people living with albinism; who are always on the run, as they are hunted down like animals.’
People living with albinism took to the streets in Mbabane, the kingdom’s capital, as part of a global campaign to raise awareness.
People living with albinism are often hunted down and ritually killed in Swaziland and their body parts used in witchcraft.
During the national elections in Swaziland in 2013, people with albinism lived in fear that their body parts would be harvested by candidates seeking good luck.
Independent Newspapers in South Africa reported at the time, ‘In the past albinos, who lack the skin pigment melanin, as well as epileptics have been specifically targeted, prompting the police to set up registries.
‘In 2010, the killing and mutilation of albinos, including in one instance the decapitation of two children in Nhlangano, prompted panic.
‘Twenty-eight-year-old Sipho Dlamini said such albino killings regularly take place, but in the past were masked by rumours about albino behaviour.
‘“People were told that when an albino dies, he would go and die far away where he or she would not be found. I think they were killed,” he said.’