Glimmer of hope for under-siege albinos
From ALLOYCE KIMBUNGA in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania
DAR-ES-SALAAM, (CAJ News) -PEOPLE with albinism in the region of Sub Saharan Africa are facing some of the most extreme forms of human rights violations.
They face physical attacks fuelled by erroneous beliefs that their body parts can be used in potions and in other witchcraft practices.
A majority of victims are women and children. They also face entrenched discrimination and stigma extending to their family members particularly mothers of children with albinism.
These victims have received a major boost following plans to host a first ever summit to address their concerns.
The event hosted by the United Nations Independent Expert on albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania will develop specific measures to tackle the attacks and discrimination faced by persons with the condition in several countries in the region.
It will be held from Friday until Sunday.
The inaugural Action on Albinism in Africa comes on the heels of the International Albinism Awareness Day on Monday (June 13).
The participants are from 28 countries in the region.
These are drawn from government, human rights institutions and specialists from within and outside the African Union and United Nations.
Albinism is a congenital disorder characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes due to absence or defect of tyrosinase, a copper-containing enzyme involved in the production of melanin.
It affects about one in 17 000 to 20 000 in Europe and North America. It is more common in sub-Saharan Africa, with an estimate of one in every 5 000 to 15 000.
– CAJ News
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