• UN Launches Major Anti-Witchcraft Campaign

    The United Nations has launched a new website designed to spread an extremely important message: Albinos are not ghosts.

    While albinism is a troublesome medical condition anywhere, albinos have a particularly troubled existence in some parts of sub-Saharan Africans. There, albinos have been targeted for murder, as their body parts are used by witch doctors to craft potions and other traditional remedies.

    Those who aren’t murdered may still be attacked and ostracized, as many people view albinos not as human beings, but rather as ghosts. Disturbingly, attacks on albinos appear to be increasing in recent years, despite bans on witchcraft and the continued penetration of modern technology and medicine into African societies. Even among those who don’t view albinos as ghosts, misunderstandings about the condition (such as the believe it may be contagious) are widespread.

    Now, the U.N. is fighting back. Its new website, titled “People With Albinism: Not Ghosts But Human Beings,” includes testimony from 12 people afflicted albinism who recount their experiences coping with their condition and their efforts to debunk myths associated with the disorder.

    The website also links to resources on albinism and suggests ways people can increase awareness of the suffering of albinos, while also encouraging people to tweet their support for albinos by using the hashtag #notghosts.

    It is not clear how many people both believe albinos are ghosts and have access to the Internet, so how much practical effect the website will have is uncertain.

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