Man who says sister murdered wins protection case

Malawian man whose sister killed for having albinism had been refused protection here

A child with albinism in Malawi. Photograph: Reuters

A child with albinism in Malawi. Photograph: Reuters


A man who claimed he fled Malawi after his sister was murdered due to having albinism has won his High Court challenge over being refused subsidiary protection.

Mr Justice Richard Humphreys directed a rehearing of the application before a different member of the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. (IPAT)

He did so after finding deficits in how the tribunal member who heard the man’s appeal concluded there was no country of origin information to support arguments relatives of those suffering from albinism are at risk in Malawi. There was certain country information before the tribunal to that effect, he said.

That included a UN news service press release dated April 29th, 2016 stating “parents of children with albinism constantly live in fear of attack”.

A 2016 Amnesty International Report entitled We are not Animals to be Hunted or Sold - Violence and Discrimination Against People with Albinism in Malawi stated “misconceptions” can have a “damaging effect on members of families of people with albinism” and fear of harm is “also felt by other family members”.

An Amnesty International UK document dated February 2nd 2017, entitled The Ritual Murders of People with Albinism in Malawi referred to the need to protect “those with albinism and their families at risk of attack”.

An article in the Los Angeles Times, dated June 15th 2017, also noted the UN is relocating families of people with albinism from Malawi to Canada and other countries, the judge said.

Insofar as the tribunal decision expressly states there is no country information supporting the proposition relatives are not at risk, “that is hard to view as correct as phrased”, the judge said.

Earlier, he noted the tribunal member had accepted the man, aged in his early twenties, has a sister with albinism.

That was “quite a favourable finding” given the tribunal also felt there were “significant question marks” over the man’s story, he said.

Represented by Mark de Blacam SC, with Garry O’Halloran BL, the man claimed his sister was murdered due to having albinism and he was then advised not to be seen in public. He alleged he fled his home after there was an attempt to enter it and came to Ireland in May 2016.

After being refused asylum, he sought subsidiary protection which was also refused.

After IPAT rejected his appeal over being refused subsidiary protection, he sought judicial review.