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International Albinism Awareness Day: “The battle continues, but we are gaining ground”

Speaking ahead of International Albinism Awareness Day on Wednesday,13 June, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, takes stock of progress under the theme, “shining our light to the world”.

“Today, we celebrate the remarkable contributions of persons with albinism including Goldalyn Kakuya, a 14-year-old girl with albinism, who topped Kenya’s national primary school exams in December and shattered stereotypes and myths. Indeed, it is still often believed that persons with albinism are unable to learn. This prejudice illustrates the particular discrimination they face regarding access to education, including persistent bullying and the absence of reasonable accommodation for the vision impairment that is often part of albinism.

Similarly, six women with albinism including victims of attacks and mutilation are currently preparing to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, shattering myths about albinism from one of the highest points in the world. This campaign is a richly symbolic demonstration of the capabilities of women with albinism.

While we celebrate, we take a moment to reflect on those who have been attacked and lost their lives or were mutilated because they have albinism. I am heartened by the commitment to putting these atrocities to an end. Indeed the battle continues, but we are gaining ground.

In light of the fundamental pledge made in 2015 by all member states of the United Nations to leave no one behind, starting with the furthest behind first, it is essential for all stakeholders to support persons with albinism in their quest for the enjoyment of their human rights. There are challenges but these are evidently surmountable.”