East Africa: Albinos Killed for Body Parts

Thousands of peple with albinism in Tanzania and Kenya have left their home villages out of fear of persecution and moved to live in urban areas where they believe they are safer, according to activists defending the rights of albinos.

Most reported killings have occurred in Tanzania, where a “set” including limbs, ears, tongue, nose and genitals sells for thousands of dollars. The meeting heard that persecution of albinos was also common in Kenya. In August, a man was arrested for attempting to sell a Kenyan albino for US$250,000.

Albinos are people with a genetically inherited condition caused by the body’s inability to produce melanin pigment. This pigment helps the skin protect itself from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. Their killings are driven by the false belief that their body parts have a special potency when included in concoctions used in witchcraft.

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