Human Rights Violations on Children with Albinism in Africa 2015- 2016

Human Rights Violations on Children with Albinism in Africa
2015-2016
1. This report is respectfully submitted by Under The Same Sun to the African Committee of
Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC) Banjul, The Gambia,
November 2016.
2. Under The Same Sun (UTSS) is a civil society organization committed to ending the oftendeadly discrimination against people with albinism. UTSS promotes, via advocacy and
education, the wellbeing of persons with albinism who are misunderstood, marginalized, and
even attacked and killed because of their genetic condition. While UTSS acts globally, much
of our focus has been on the crisis faced by people with albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Executive Summary
3. Around the world, children with albinism1 are particularly vulnerable to discrimination. They
are isolated by stigma, myth and cultural prejudice. In some African countries they are
physically assaulted and killed.
4. Myths persist that body parts of persons with albinism bring fortune and good health. A
corpse can be worth up to US$75,000 on the black market. Family members are often
complicit. Victims are most often children with albinism.
5. With very pale skin, hair and eyes as well as low vision, these children are insulted, mocked,
harassed and intimidated.
6. Due to the marginalization and fear of attacks, the children drop out of school and isolate
themselves from classmates, family and community. Alone, they are even more vulnerable.
7. Across 26 African countries, there have been 501 reported attacks since year 2000. This
includes 187 documented murders of people with albinism and 314 cases of missing persons,
assault, mutilation, rape, attempted abductions, grave violations and other acts of violence.2
In 2015-2016, 30 children with albinism between the ages of less than 1yr to 17yrs were
attacked in 12 African countries, Malawi being the lead.3 Henceforth it can be seen that this
is a continental issue that needs to be addressed by the African Union as a unity of African
Member States.
8. Under the Same Sun makes recommendations in the areas of education, healthcare,
protection, legal assistance, policy, awareness raising, and cooperation with international
human rights mechanisms to address violation of human rights of children with albinism
in Africa.
What is Albinism?
9. Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition characterized by a lack
of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes. It occurs regardless of ethnicity or gender. Both
parents must carry the gene for it to be passed on, even if neither have albinism
themselves4
10. The majority of people with albinism are “legally blind” and very sensitive to light.
Eyeglasses can only partially correct this problem. While most can read large print and don’t
require Braille, they cannot see a blackboard in a regular classroom. This limited vision often
Under the Same Sun submission re ACERWC

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