"Fast-growing movement" to defend people with albinism

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An Albino student (right) attends school in Niambly, near Duekoue, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo: UNHCR/H. Caux

There is a "fast-growing movement" to defend people with albinism, but they remain vulnerable to physical attack across the world.

That's the view of seven UN human rights experts, speaking ahead of International Albinism Awareness Day, observed on Monday, 13 June.

Matthew Wells reports:

Albinism is a harmless condition, characterized by light-coloured skin, caused by a lack of pigment.

In recent years, numerous role models have emerged to help destigmatize the condition, including Tanzania's first Deputy Minister of State Abdallah Possi and the Kenyan parliamentarian Isaac Mwaura.

The group of UN experts issued a statement saying that as the world prepares to mark the second International Albinism Awareness Day, the progress made was a cause for celebration, but the way ahead, is still "long and fraught with hurdles," they warned.

Pointing to celebrities such as musician Salif Keita of Mali, and Olympic gold medallist Kelly Gallagher, the human rights experts said their increased visibility was a "testament to the fruit of heightened awareness-raising."

But it was a "serious matter of concern," they said, that since the first awareness day last year, physical attacks against persons with albinism, particularly women and children, were continuing.

It was especially worrying, they added, that there had been reports of violence in areas with no history of previous attacks.

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 55"

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