African Union Plan of Action (2021-2031)
In July 2019, during its thirty-fifth ordinary session, the Executive Council of the African Union (AU) decided to adopt a Plan of Action on Ending Attacks and Discrimination against People with Albinism, (Plan of Action 2021-2031) making it a continent-wide strategy. The AU also decided that a Special Envoy on Albinism would be appointed to ensure the implementation of the Plan of Action.
Albinism is placed within the African Union Disability Architecture
To realize the vision of the AU Agenda 2063, and to accomplish the “Africa We Want” in our lifetime, the AU in 2018 adopted a Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. This was followed by an adoption of the African Union Disability Strategic Framework, which replaced the extended Plan of Action on the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010–2019).
The two instruments are part of the pillars of the African Union Disability Architecture (AUDA), which is a framework guiding Member States on ensuring disability rights and inclusion in Africa. The AUDA comprises three pillars: the Legal Pillar (Disability Protocol); the Programme Pillar (Disability Strategic Framework); and the Institute (AU Disability Institute). The timeline of 2031 as indicated for the Plan of Action is also based on available baseline information in 2019 for the Report on the Implementation of the Continental Plan of Action on the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010–2019).
The Plan of Action on Albinism, set out below, which includes an implementation matrix, forms part of the AU’s efforts to implement its Disability Strategic Framework and Disability Protocol. The Disability Protocol makes reference to persons with albinism in its Preamble given the unique situation of attacks and discrimination that they have faced on the continent in the last twelve years.
The Plan of Action establishes baselines and targets that are measurable and can be tracked and monitored. Monitoring requires rigorous data collection in order for Member States to correctly reflect statistics on persons with albinism. The targets of the Plan of Action for 2031 are loosely based on available baseline information from the Report on the African Decade of Persons with Disabilities (2010– 2019).
The Plan of Action (2021-2031) is based on its Precursor: The Regional Action Plan (2017-2021)
More specifically, the Plan of Action takes note of the Report of the Regional Action Plan (RAP, 2017–2021). The Regional Action Plan was developed by organizations of persons with albinism in Africa, select government entities in the region, as well as other human rights entities under the leadership of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. This matrix has been informed by the Report on the Regional Action Plan, and a two-day consultation in November 2020 with organizations representing persons with albinism, as well as representatives from national human rights institutions and the United Nations: the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. A group of elected representatives further met several times in 2021 to finalize the Plan of Action based on input from participants in the November 2020 consultation.
The Action Plan (2021-2031) has a detailed implementation table
The tables in the Plan set out the activities necessary to achieve the goals of the Plan of Action. The overall time frame is 10 years from 2021 to 2031.
The responsible entities are, in the first place, Member States, ministries, partner organizations and other stakeholders, which may differ from country to country.
Indicators and possible data sources are included.
It is believed that in illuminating the different components of action in this manner, policy planners and implementers will be assisted in adapting the Plan of Action to the specific context, country or region.
As noted in the AU Disability Strategic Framework policy document, the results-based management approach – which is also used here – will foster the participation of all actors and stakeholders in the implementation of the Plan of Action and promote accountability at national level. As the Plan of Action is an imperative tool for Member States to advance the human rights of persons with albinism effectively, it is essential that persons with albinism be consulted with and participate in its implementation.
Download the African Union Plan of Action (2021-2031): click here
History of the African Union Plan of Action (2021-2031)
Since 2006, over 700 attacks and other violations against persons with albinism have been reported across 28 countries in the Africa region. These numbers reflect a major threat to the right to life of persons with albinism on the continent. This is only the tip of the iceberg as very many other cases go unreported. In an effort to combat these violations, including alleviating preconditions which facilitate violence, the United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, in collaboration with various African Union mechanisms including the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the African Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, as well as other international development partners, contributed to the development of a Regional Action Plan.
The first Plan on Albinism was the Regional Action Plan (2017-2021). It was put together by the UN Independent Expert using recommendations from relevant resolutions of the United Nations and the African Union. Content was also distilled from recommendations made by treaty bodies, by the universal periodic review mechanism and from national responses, such as the multi-sectoral action plans from Mozambique and Malawi, as well as those made by various national task forces in the United Republic of Tanzania. De facto and de jure national responses from other countries, such as Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, were also considered.
The Regional Action Plan (2017-2021), was the first-ever regional mechanism to proactively address eradicating discrimination and violence against persons with albinism in Sub Saharan Africa. Its overarching objective was to monitor the true impact of efforts to protect and integrate persons with albinism by multiple stakeholders across Africa. In particular, the plan consisted in specific measures to realize the enjoyment of peace and human rights by persons with albinism. The objectives are divided into four pillars: prevention, protection, accountability and equality and non-discrimination.
In May 2017, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights endorsed the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa (2017-2021). In its resolution endorsing the Plan, the Commission urged States to adopt and implement the Regional Action Plan and to ensure the effective protection and promotion of the rights of persons with albinism and members of their families. It also invited organs and bodies of the African Union to give due regard to the Regional Action Plan within their mandates.
In October 2017, the European Parliament in its resolution on the Regional Action Plan expressed deep concern at the continuing and far-reaching discrimination and persecution faced by persons with albinism in Africa and condemned any inhuman and degrading treatment suffered by persons with albinism. The EU welcomed the Regional Action Plan as a positive and sustainable step forward, and called for its immediate and effective implementation. EU Member States are encouraged to keep engaging with affected countries effectively support policies which uphold the rights of persons with albinism.
In 2018, the UN Independent Expert presented the Regional Action Plan to the Human Rights Council. Click here to see that report.
The Pan-African Parliament also endorsed the Regional Action Plan via resolution in May 2018 (PAP.4/PLN/RES/05/MAY.18).
In 2019, a revised Plan of Action for the period 2021-2031 was adopted by the Executive Council of the African Union during its 35th ordinary session. In the period covering 2020 to 2021, under the leadership of the African Union in collaboration with the UN Independent Expert on albinism and scores of civil society organizations representing person with albinism across Africa an implementation strategy was developed for the Plan of Action. This strategy was embedded into what was to become the AU Plan of Action (2021-2031) to encourage immediate adoption into national legislation and facilitate action.
In 2021, at the end of its 5-year span, the Regional Action Plan (2017 – 2021) was evaluated by the UN Independent Expert and affiliates. Read that report here
In 2021, the Regional Action Plan ended and the African Union Plan of Action (2021-2031) took over. To view it click here.