Every Child has a Right to Life: Protect Children with Albinism

Wednesday 6 July 2016

June 16th every year is the Day of the African Child. The commemoration of this day originates from the valiant children who stood up against the apartheid Government in the streets of Soweto in South Africa for better quality education on 16th June 1976. 

This years Guest of Honor in Malawi, Minister of Gender, Children, Disabilities and Social Welfare (MoGCDSW), Dr. Jean Kalilani urged people in the country to join hands in stopping the abduction and killing of people with albinism during the national commemoration at Chiwembu Community Ground in Mwanza district.

It is sad that in this day and era Malawi still holds beliefs that are costing the lives of innocent children. The Minister expressed that every Malawian has the responsibility of ensuring that people with albinism, especially children, are protected from abduction and killings.

Photo Caption: Minister of Gender, Children, Disabilities and Social Welfare (MoGCDSW), Dr. Jean Kalilani at Save the Children’s pavilion

“Creating a safer environment for people with albinism requires a collaborative effort. While government has set up measures of stopping this malpractice communities also need to equally play their roles in promoting and protecting the rights of people with albinism,” she explained.

The minister also assured the audience that Government has put in place effective and efficient measures that would stop perpetrators from abducting and killing albinos in the country. Among others, she said Government has strengthened its judicial system such that cases related to albino abduction and killing would be handled faster and that those found guilty would be given stiffer punishment. With this she gave reference to one of the perpetrators that was recently sentenced to life imprisonment.

Save the Children had its own booth that was advocating for proper nutrition for every child in older to ensure that children are not tempted into destructive behaviors such as prostitution just because they are not getting enough food from their homes. Every child deserves a balanced diet for suitable development. In line with this, Dr. Kalilani asserted that despite families having inadequate provisions, they should always ensure that their children are given enough food in order for them to grow well. 

One albino child begged the audience to stop killing children with albinism and called for a moment of silence in honor of all children with albinism that were killed. It was a heartbreaking moment that brought tears to others.

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Gender Children Disability and Social Welfare, Dr. Mary Shawa said the Day of the African Child is very important because it provides opportunities for stakeholders to assess how they have performed in protecting and promoting the rights of children.

“We create amendments in areas where we see we have not done well and maintain areas where our performance has been satisfactory,” she said. 

Subsequently, Senior Chief Nthache thanked Government for holding the national event in his area, promising to cooperatively work with Government in protecting and promoting the rights of children in the area.

The commemoration was enlivened with performances that carried messages regarding child protection from: hunger, abduction sexual abuse and most of all protecting children with albinism. 

By Anissa Chitwanga, Advocacy & Campaign Officer