Anger in Mauritius over vitiligo-shaming outburst

Anger in Mauritius over vitiligo-shaming outburst

The speaker of parliament in Mauritius has been widely criticised for shaming an MP with vitiligo, a condition which causes patches of skin to become lighter.

"Look at your face!" Speaker Sooroojdev Phokeer said 11 times to MP Rajesh Bhagwan.

It followed an altercation during which the MP had referred to the speaker as a "drunk" and a "shame".

A video of the exchange has been shared on Twitter:

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Vitiligo is a disease that causes areas of the skin to lose their normal pigment, or melanin.

The comments have sparked calls for the speaker's resignation and condemnation nationwide as well as abroad.

After the exchange Mr Bhagwan said it was "shameful" to comment on someone's health, saying the speaker was a "national disgrace".

In a Twitter post Vitiligo Support UK called the speaker's behaviour "disgraceful".

"Vitiligo is not a definition of our character," the group said, adding that Mr Phokeer's face should "show shame" for his "bullying and disrespect".