Africa rights body takes steps to protect people with albinism

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An Albino boy carries a baby in Oromi IDP camp, Kitgum District, northern Uganda, 17 May 2007. © Manoocher Deghati/IRIN

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has welcomed the adoption on 5 November of the first resolution on people with albinism by the main regional human rights body in Africa.

Albinism, a genetic condition found in all races, is characterized by a deficit or complete lack of melanin in the skin, hair and eyes.

People with the condition are persecuted in some regions because they are seen as a "curse" and killed in other areas for their body parts, believed to bring luck.

In the resolution, the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights calls on States to take all necessary measures to ensure the effective protection of individuals with albinism, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them and to increase education and public awareness.

Rupert Colville is OHCHR's spokesperson.

"The African Commission's decision, which comes shortly after the adoption of a second resolution on people with albinism by the Human Rights Council on 24 September 2013, is a very positive and much-needed step forward. We urge all African States to implement the resolution effectively, and to take specific measures to protect and preserve the rights to life and security of people with albinism."

However, Rupert Colville notes, even with the adoption of the resolution, alarming reports of attacks and discrimination against people with albinism continue in several African countries.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’28”

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