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World Albinism Day

Ayotomiwa Ayodele

13th of June every year has been set aside by the United Nations to commemorate World Albinism day.

The theme for this year’s World Albinism Day is: “Still Standing Strong”.

According to the World Health Organization, Albinism is a genetic condition resulting in little or no pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. In several cultures around the world, and particularly in many African countries, people with albinism live in constant fear of murder, while some experience severe discrimination and bullying from their immediate environment.

Over time, lots of albinos have been brutally murdered and mutilated in several African countries. Local superstitions claim their body parts can bring goodluck and prosperity. Another widespread rumor is that Albino are evil spirits.

Tanzania is believed to have the highest percentage of Albino in the world.

International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD: which is a call to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with albinism patients around the globe) was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2014.

The resolution “encourages UN Member States to continue their efforts to protect and preserve the rights of persons with albinism to life, dignity and security, as well as their right not to be subject to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to continue their efforts to ensure equal access for persons with albinism to employment, education, justice and the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.”

IAAD

The awareness over the years seems to be yielding results as Albinos are now seen as part of the society with little or no discrimination like what was attainable in times past.

Also, people living with albinism are being considered for several benefits in society just like everyone else. During the 2019 general elections in Nigeria, people living with albinism were also given due consideration.

In Nigeria, the 9th Assembly has been charged to revisit the Albinism Bill thrown out by the 8th Assembly to protect the rights of persons living with albinism in Nigeria.

Advocates fighting for this course said that if the Albinism Bill is passed into law, it will address various human rights abuses against them in the country.

The proposed bill also requests that persons with Albinism be recognized, and put into consideration their peculiarities in terms of social integration and inclusiveness, etc., when coming up with policies.

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