CRPD/C/22/D/24/2014 A. Summary of the information and arguments submitted by the parties The facts as submitted by the author 2.1 The author was born on 3 March 1983. She is from the village of Ntubeye in Kagera Region of the United Republic of Tanzania. She is a person with albinism and a single mother. Until 2008, she was self-sufficient as a farmer. 2.2 On 17 October 2008, while she was sleeping with her 2-year-old son, the author was attacked by two men who cut off one of her arms with machetes and maimed the other. She managed to see the men: one of them was her neighbour, and she did not know the other. The author screamed for help but no one came to her rescue, and the men managed to escape with her arm. The other arm was later amputated in the hospital. The author was pregnant at the time, but, as a result of the attack, she miscarried. 2.3 On an unspecified date in 2011, the attackers were arrested and tried. The author claimed that she knew one of the attackers well. However, her testimony was given little weight because the court considered that, as a person with a visual impairment who could therefore not see well, she could not correctly identify the attackers. Additionally, her father was allowed to testify without any power of attorney and while he was drunk. His testimony contradicted the author’s. The attackers were therefore acquitted for lack of evidence. 2.4 After the incident, the author was unable to perform any activity. The District Commissioner took her in and accommodated her at his home. However, she continued to face harassment, discrimination and stigma, and, without her arms, she was unable to carry out personal routines such as bathing and feeding herself. 2.5 According to statistics provided by the author, the total number of persons with albinism in the United Republic of Tanzania is estimated to be more than 200,000. 2 Persons with albinism are subjected to various forms of persecution and discrimination, many of which are grounded on myths. It is believed, according to the author, that they are “a curse from God” or “internal ghosts”. The author also refers to the belief that the body parts of a person with albinism provide wealth and prosperity. In this context, persons with albinism are frequently victims of witchcraft; such practices are also aimed at eliminating persons with disabilities because it is considered that looking after them is an unnecessary burden for the community. In that connection, the author submits that impunity characterizes most cases of violence perpetrated against persons with albinism, as the State party’s authorities consider that such violence is linked to witchcraft, which is a generally accepted cultural practice and about which prejudice still prevails in society. 2.6 The author claims that no effective domestic remedies are available in the State party. The State party authorities failed to prosecute with due diligence and commitment to enable justice to be done in the author’s case. The authorities handled the case negligently and failed to gather significant evidence, leading to the acquittal of two of the accused persons for supposed lack of evidence. 2.7 The author claims that it is up to the State party to appeal against this ruling through the Office of the Attorney General. She further argues that her right to a fair trial was violated as reparation has not been made for the harm that she suffered, and her cause was not considered thoroughly by the competent national authorities. In that connection, the author refers to the decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Arges Sequeira Mangas v. Nicaragua, according to which, in the case of crimes of public action, and even in those that may be prosecuted by a private actor, it is not valid to demand the exhaustion of domestic remedies, since the State has a duty to maintain public order and therefore has an obligation to set the criminal law system into motion and process the matter until the end. As stated by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and quoted by the Commission in the above decision, the obligation to investigate must be assumed by the State as its own legal duty, not as a step taken by private interests that depend upon the 2 2 The United Republic of Tanzania has one of the highest rates of albinism in the world, estimated at 1 in 1,429 people (Stiefel, “Albinos in Africa: a population at risk”).