In a joint statement yesterday, the Legal and Human Rights Centre (LHRC), the Tanzania Albinism Society (TAS) and the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) said that the desecration was a criminal act, underscoring the need for the public authorities to take serious legal actions against the perpetrators.
“We understand the matter has been reported to the police, but we do not want this to end up with investigations. The police force must take further steps against all those responsible and make sure they are taken to court,” the NGOs emphasised.
Anna Henga, lead panelist and LHRC executive director said such incidents had gone down in previous years due to collaboration between the government and different stakeholders, including the media.
Such incidents violate human rights and devalue human dignity as stipulated in the country’s constitution and various international protocols on human rights, she emphasised, noting that the increase noticed in such occurrences has resulted in people with albinism living in fear compared to previous years.
The desecrated remains were identified to be those of Heri Kijangwa (45), who died from skin cancer on June 4 last year and was buried at Tanda village in Lushoto District three days later.
It is reported that the perpetrators dug up Kijangwa’s grave on Tuesday last week and stole the coffin containing his remains.
The police in the region have arrested three people, members of the same family, in connection with the incident.
The police effort is chiefly a follow-up on a statement released in Dar Salaam on Friday by ‘Under the Same Sun’ (UTSS), an activist organization for people with albinism, with a copy relayed to The Guardian.
The deceased was a laboratory technician at the Temeke Referral Hospital in Dar es Salaam and was also completing his Master’s studies in public health at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, being among beneficiaries of an education programme sponsored by UTSS, the statement indicated.