The Africa Albinism Network (AAN), in a statement presented to the 77th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights, ACHPR held in Arusha, Tanzania, called on the African Union Commission to appoint an Envoy on Albinism as a matter of urgency. The Statement was presented on behalf of AAN by Yumna Mmanga, an albinism rights activist from Tanzania.
The statement also calls on member States of the AU to implement the AU Plan of Action on Albinism in Africa (2023 – 2031) by adopting National Action Plans on Albinism in their respective countries.
“AAN further calls on African countries to adopt national legislation and policies that safeguard and support the work of Human Rights Defenders, including those with albinism, in following international and regional human rights standards.”
Read the statement below or download the complete copy here (in English only).
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR) 77th Ordinary Session: Human Rights Situations in Africa, 20 October – 9 November 2023, Arusha, Tanzania
Statement delivered by Africa Albinism Network on behalf of Under the Same Sun on “the human rights situations of persons with albinism in Africa”
The Africa Albinism Network, speaking on behalf of Under the Same Sun and over 200 albinism groups across Africa, draws your attention to the human rights situation of persons with albinism in Africa.
Persons with albinism across Africa continue to endure daily discrimination and stigma in their interactions with society, primarily because of the colour of their skin and the pervasive misconceptions and harmful practices surrounding the condition of albinism across Africa. This has led to ongoing attacks, ritual killings, grave desecrations, and banishment from their communities. Regrettably, these harmful practices continue to persist on the continent, with our region alone reporting over 900 cases of attacks to date in a little over a decade.
Since 2020, we have documented 48 attacks across 11 countries, with Madagascar recording 19 cases, Malawi 10 cases, and Zambia reporting 5. Alarmingly, over half of these cases have targeted children with albinism below 18 years of age. We strongly believe that many more cases go unreported due to the frequent involvement of family members. This is deeply troubling, considering that people with albinism are both few and highly visible.
Globally, people with albinism are at a much higher risk of developing skin cancer and eye damage from increased sun exposure. A significant number of persons with albinism unfortunately still develop skin cancer before reaching the age of 40, and tragically, some succumb to this preventable condition before reaching that milestone.
In addition to these pressing issues, persons with albinism across Africa continue to encounter significant barriers to access to education due to failure to accommodate their vision impairment and security concerns. Given these challenges, we strongly recommend that Member States of the African Union who are impact to immediately:
- Implement the African Union Plan of Action on albinism by adopting National Action Plans that include comprehensive protection measures. We commend Uganda and Angola for their bold steps in adopting their National Action Plans on Albinism and urge Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa to speed up adopting their draft National Action Plans. Additionally, we call upon Malawi to review and renew the recently expired National Action Plan on albinism.
- Adopt national legislation and policies that safeguard and support the work of human rights defenders, including those with albinism, in accordance with international and regional human rights standards, such as the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
- Lastly, we urgently call upon the African Union Commission to appoint an AU Envoy on Albinism to champion this critical cause.