On Albinism Awareness day, June 13, the United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon called on all countries to end the discrimination that threatens the well-being, health and even the lives of people with albinism.

He rather urged that countries provide programmes that will enable them play a full part in the society.

In a message marking the second International Albinism Awareness day, he said: “I call on all countries and stakeholders to recognise that human rights apply to all people everywhere, including people with albinism”.

He explained that albinism has often been subjected to mystification, triggering erroneous beliefs and myths.

“The completely mistaken belief that potions or amulets made from the body parts of people with albinism have magical powers has given rise in some countries to a demand for such human remains.

“This has led to attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism, and even to the theft of their bodies from graveyards.

“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to leave no one behind,” said Mr. Ban. “That includes people with albinism. The cycle of attacks, discrimination and poverty must be broken.”

Albinism is found in every country and society in the world, regardless of people’s ethnicity or gender.

According to the UN, discrimination and stigmatization of people with albinism also exists in varying degrees all over the world.

Due to the long history of discrimination and stigmatization of albinism, in some places, people with this condition may live in abject poverty, without access to basic services like accommodation, healthcare and education.

In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism.

In response to the call from civil society organisations advocating for persons with albinism to be considered a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Council created the mandate of this Independent Expert in March 2015, the first of it’s kind.

Author: Ope Adedeji