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Hunted down and ostracised, Burundi albinos want their own census and MP

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An albino girl at Kasisi Primary School in Fort Portal in Uganda. Albinos in Burundi want a law to compel parents to keep their albino children in school. Photo/MORGAN MBABAZI

An albino girl at Kasisi Primary School in Fort Portal in Uganda. Albinos in Burundi want a law to compel parents to keep their albino children in school. Photo/MORGAN MBABAZI 

By BAMUTURAKI MUSINGUZI

Posted  Monday, December 28  2009 at  00:00
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The growing trade in albino body parts comes as no surprise in the region as many central Africans believe that albino flesh has magical powers thanks to widespread sorcery.

Albinos in Burundi live with discrimination every day right from their homes, community, school and work.

According to Mr Kazungu, some parents have even disowned their albino children while others keep them hidden.

“I was lucky my parents loved and protected me to the extent they educated me to university level. Other albinos are unlucky their parents will not support them thinking that they are of no use in life or are unable,” Mr Kazungu observed.

Albinism is a congenital lack of the melamin pigment in the skin, eyes and hair.

Melanin protects the skin from the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

Albinos are also vulnerable to medical complications.

Health experts estimate that albinism affects one in 20,000 people worldwide.

To address stigma, Mr Kazungu suggested that the government should sensitise the public on the plight of albinos.

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