Wednesday, December 23, 2009

African Albino Man Granted Asylum in Spain

"Mali albino given Spanish asylum 'fled discrimination'"

By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News, Madrid

"Lawyers for a Malian albino man granted asylum in Spain have told the BBC he faced constant discrimination at home."

"Abdoulaye Coulibaly, 22, who arrived illegally by boat in the Spanish Canary Islands in April, says he also survived two kidnap attempts in 2007.

Cases of violence aimed at albinos are unusual in Mali, but there have been numerous cases of murder, kidnap and torture of albinos in East Africa.

Lawyers say Mr Coulibaly's case shows the problems are more widespread.

In Tanzania, witchdoctors sell good-luck potions made from the body parts of albino people for thousands of dollars...

Mr Coulibaly is the first albino man from Africa to be granted asylum by Spain.

His case was taken up by the Spanish refugee aid agency, CEAR.

'He found it difficult to get work in Mali and whenever anything went wrong in his town, people would blame him,' Kimi Aoki, a lawyer from CEAR in Las Palmas, told the BBC.

'They said he brought bad luck,' she said.

Mr Coulibaly was even blamed when the boat that carried the migrants to Spain from Africa got into difficulty.

Ms Aoki said he escaped two kidnap attempts with the help of people on the street...

It can take up to two years for the Spanish authorities to process an asylum application but Mr Coulibaly's case was completed in just nine months.

Surprised local lawyers call it a 'real success' and hope it can help other albino people who seek refuge here.

The asylum application of the only other African albino to do so previously was rejected and is currently under appeal. "

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