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UN rights chief condemns attacks on albinos in Tanzania

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] on Tuesday condemned [press release] the increase in attacks on those with albinism in Tanzania. Pillay's statement comes following four attacks on albinos over a 16-day period, including three children. Pillay called the attacks "abhorrent" and called upon local officials in Tanzania to do more to address the problem by prosecuting attacks on albinos, caring for the victims and educating people about using stereotypes, such as the belief that albinos have magical qualities. Tanzania rarely prosecutes those who perpetrate crime against albinos and of the 72 murders of albinos since 2000 [UN News Centre report], only five have been prosecuted.

The treatment of albinos in Tanzania is one of many human rights issues that Pillay has addressed recently. Last week Pillay presented [JURIST report] an annual report outlining the "daunting" human rights crises that occurred in 2012, including armed conflicts in Syria, Palestine, Mali and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Last month Pillay urged [JURIST report] the international community to continue to prevent human rights abuses and hold perpetrators accountable. Speaking to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Pillay specifically mentioned the ongoing situations in Rwanda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Palestine, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Sudan and Syria. Also in February Pillay expressed concern [JURIST report] over reports that three Palestinians being held in Israeli custody are in poor health from hunger strikes protesting Israel's use of administrative detention. Pillay also released a report [JURIST report] criticizing Sri Lanka for failing to investigate widespread reports of killings and other atrocities during the 26-year civil war it fought with the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. The same month, Pillay expressed shock and sadness [JURIST report] concerning the brutal rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen in South Africa and urged the country to take a stronger approach to prevent sexual violence.

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