AAN’s History

In February 2021, the Africa Albinism Network (AAN) emerged under the visionary leadership of Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, the esteemed inaugural UN Independent Expert on the rights of persons with albinism. Born from two decades of global advocacy and groundbreaking policy work, AAN has successfully concluded a pioneering two-year pilot in 2023. This ambitious phase culminated in the creation of National Action Plans, modeled on the Africa Union Plan of Action on Albinism (2021-2031), in 8 African nations. These crucial plans, which ground the AU’s strategic framework at the national level, represent a beacon of hope, particularly for countries grappling with violence against those with albinism, setting a precedent for change and inclusivity.

History of the Albinism Movement

Before 2008, fewer than an estimated 30 albinism groups existed globally. In the past 15 years, that number has more than quadrupled, with the greatest growth occurring in Africa. In the same period, the albinism movement  increased its engagement before the United Nations and African Union substantially. 

Timeline of Major Events in the History of the Global Albinism Movement

The United Nations Human Rights Council


In response to advocacy led by Under the Same Sun, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 (A/HRC/RES/23/13) calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. 

On November 5, 2013, the African Commission adopted Resolution 263 on the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism. Among other things, this resolution requires member states to include in their reports to the African Commission, information on the situation of persons with albinism, including good practices in protecting and promoting their human rights.

International Albinism Awareness Day


On December 18, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 2015, June 13 as International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD).

The Mandate of the Independent Expert


In response to the call from civil society organizations advocating to consider persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Human Rights Council created the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. In June 2015, the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Ikponwosa Ero as the first Independent Expert (“UNIE”) on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.

The First Pan African Albinism Conference


The first ever Pan African Albinism Conference was held in Dar es Salaam from November 19– 22, 2015, and marked an unprecedented moment in bringing together major stakeholders to discuss and empower advocacy and protection measures for people with albinism. The conference was hosted by Under the Same Sun (UTSS) and attended by over 200 delegates, including representatives from albinism communities of 29 African nations and 9 non-African nations.

The Regional Action Plan on Albinism


The Regional Action Plan on Albinism (2017-2021) was developed by organizations of persons with albinism in Africa, select government entities in the region, and other human rights entities under the leadership of the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. It was endorsed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Pan-African Parliament in 2017 and 2018, respectively.

Africa Disability Protocol mentions Persons with Albinism


In 2018, the African Union adopted a Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa. The Disability Protocol refers to persons with albinism in its Preamble and includes several provisions on harmful practices that impact persons with albinism in the region. 

The Global Albinism Alliance


From January 26 to 28, 2020, civil society groups representing people with albinism from six continents gathered in Paris, France to lay the foundation for an international coalition to combat the attacks, stigmatization, and discrimination against people with albinism. They formed the Global Albinism Alliance.

Africa Albinism Network founded


Inaugurated in February 2021 by the former UN Independent Expert, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, the Africa Albinism Network is a consortium of non-governmental organizations working to promote the welfare of persons with albinism and their family members.