n African Human Rights Law Journal - Violent attacks against persons with albinism in South Africa : a human rights perspective

Volume 17 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



South Africans living with albinism are among the most marginalised and vulnerable of the country’s citizens, yet very little attention is given to protecting them from human rights violations, threats and violent crime. Although the extent of violent crimes targeting South Africans with this condition has not reached the levels encountered in other African countries, new evidence indicates a surge in violent crimes against persons with albinism. The vulnerability of these persons requires immediate attention before it spirals out of control. It is clear that a case is to be made for compelling, in particular, the state to intervene. Based on the groundbreaking decision of the South African Constitutional Court in the Carmichele case, this article begins a debate on the state’s affirmative duty to prevent, investigate and punish violent acts against persons with albinism, as it is feared that the incidents reported in South Africa may trigger copycat crimes. Provisions from international and regional human rights instruments relevant to the issues faced by persons with albinism highlighted in the article are explored briefly.

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