Skip to main content

Root causes of attacks against people with albinism: witchcraft and health

Geneva -

Root causes of attacks against people with albinism

Witchcraft and Health

Geneva 22 February 2016 − Expert panelists will discuss root causes behind the violent attacks and discrimination against people with albinism, when they meet at an event at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva (Room XXIII) on 7 March 2016 at 13:30. The event is hosted by the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute and the recently appointed UN independent expert on human rights of persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero.

“Hundreds of people with albinism have been reportedly attacked in the last decade for the purposes of taking their body parts particularly, their limbs, hair, skin and bones,” says Ms. Ero. “While the attacks have been reported, the reasons why they occur are yet to be analysed. Preliminary studies indicate that the attacks are often spurred by witchcraft-led beliefs that body parts of people with albinism can bring about wealth and good luck when used in potions.”

At this event, expert panelists from the UN and civil society will present findings on root causes from their work in affected communities. The phenomenon of witchcraft, its characteristics as a harmful traditional or cultural practice, and the role it plays in spurring violations against people with albinism will be discussed. Health issues particular to persons with albinism and how this correlates to the discrimination and violence they face will also be discussed. The event which will be moderated by Ambassador Yvette Stevens of Sierra Leone will also feature an excerpt of the newly produced film, Jolibeau’s Travels featuring links between albinism and witchcraft.

For more information, accreditation and event access contact:

Mr. Arnaud Chaltin:

Ms. Marina Mazzini: