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Let’s kill the myths associated with disability, HRC urges journalists

THE Human Rights Commission has called on journalists to kill myths associated with disability.
And the commission says journalists should continue following up the issue of Miriam Kumwenda of Chama, a girl living with albinism who lost her hand after being attacked last year.
Speaking during a Human Rights Commission discussion forum with members of the media in Chipata on Friday, HRC chief information, education and training officer Mweelwa Muleya urged the media to create positive perceptions about the people living with disabilities.

“There are role models among the people living with disabilities; let’s tell their stories to the rest of the world for people to appreciate the abilities of persons with disabilities. Let’s fight discrimination and stigma against persons with disabilities by bringing stories that build positive perception of persons with disabilities. Let’s create positive perception about persons with disabilities as able, capable members of society, that disability is just but part of human diversity. Let’s kill the myths associated with disability where people talk about witchcraft, a curse and all those things,” Muleya said.

He said the media should bring more information like medical factors that cause disability.
Muleya said journalists were human rights defenders.
“As HRC, as well as journalists, because of the nature of your job as duty bearers, you have the responsibility to ensure that you promote and respect the rights or freedoms and reputation of others. Your works should not injure others because you are human rights defenders,” he said.

And Muleya said journalists should take keen interest in the case of Kumwenda, who was attacked last year by unknown people.
He said HRC had also been following the matter as it bordered on human rights. In November last year, Kumwenda 19, had her right hand chopped off by unknown people who attacked her in the night.

Kumwenda, who spoke from her hospital bed at Chama district hospital, said on the fateful day as she was sleeping, she heard a knock on the door and that the man who was knocking told her to open the door for him. She said she did not pay attention to what the man was saying.

Kumwenda said the man later forced himself in the house and closed her mouth with a cloth so that she does not shout for help before dragging her into the bush. She said while in the bush, other unknown people emerged and started beating her.
Kumwenda said her attackers started chopping her left hand but someone reminded his colleagues that they needed the right hand and that the left hand should not be tampered with.

She said when they started cutting her right hand she felt as if she had been hit with an unknown object. Kumwenda said afterwwards she did not remember anything. She said the attackers left her unconscious thinking she had died but after sometime she gained conscious and started crying.
Kumwenda said her parents got her and took her to the nearest hospital.

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