African Union Plan of Action (2021-2031)

In July 2019, as a result of the continued engagement of the Independent Expert with the African Union, the Plan of Action on Albinism was examined at the Executive Council. The The decision cited can be found in the document: EX.CL/Dec.1063 [XXXV] concluded during its Thirty-Fifth Ordinary Session, which was held in Niamey, Niger from 4 - 5 July 2019.

The Plan is an improvement and continuation from the initial Regional Action Plan had been endorsed by various bodies regionally and internationally (see below)of the African Union and was subsequently adopted as a continent-wide policy under the title of Plan of Action to End Attacks and Other Human Rights Violations Targeting Persons with Albinism in Africa (2021–2031) (“AU Plan of Action”)

The AU Plan of Action is incorporated into the larger disability architecture of the African Union, thereby giving further legitimacy to the need to implement the measures contained therein. The African Union also decided at the same session that a special envoy on albinism would be appointed to ensure the implementation of the Plan of Action, an important step towards having a dedicated high-level official to oversee and drive the necessary actions under the Plan. In November 2020, the Department of Social Affairs of the African Union presented the Plan of Action and a draft implementation strategy for the period 2021–2031 for consultation and validation at an online meeting with stakeholders. Participants included civil society organizations representing persons with albinism and representatives of national human rights institutions and United Nations agencies, including the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and OHCHR. The consultation and validation process of the Plan of Action and the implementation matrix is expected to continue with these stakeholders into 2021 with the support of the Independent Expert and the Department of Social Affairs. The process is expected to be completed before the end of 2021, at which time the Plan of Action with its implementation strategy is expected to replace the Regional Action Plan

Download the AU Plan of Action on Albinism (2021-2031): here

Linking the Plan of Action (2021-2031) to the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): here

History of the AU Plan of Action

Context

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.

Its Precursor: the Regional Action Plan (2017-2021)

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 2018, the UN independent expert presented the Regional Action Plan to the Human Rights Council. Click here to see that report.

The Regional Action Plan had been widely endorsed

By the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights

In May 2017, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights endorsed the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa (2017-2021). In the resolution endorsing the Plan, the ACHPR 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.

By the Pan-African Parliament

The Pan-African Parliament endorsed the Regional Action Plan via resolution in May 2018 (PAP.4/PLN/RES/05/MAY.18).

By the European Union

In October 2017, the European Union 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.