15 November 2013 Welcoming the adoption of the first-ever resolution on people with albinism by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the United Nations human rights office today urged all African States to take action to protect and ensure the rights these routinely mistreated people.
The resolution is “very positive and much-needed step forward,” as it came “shortly after the UN Human Rights Council adopting a second resolution on people with albinism on 24 September 2013,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told journalists in Geneva today.
While applauded the resolution, he said that OHCHR “remains deeply concerned about the overall situation of people with albinism,” stressing that the office continues to receive alarming reports on attacks and discrimination against them in several African countries.
In its resolution, the African Commission urges State Parties to take all measures necessary to ensure the effective protection of persons with albinism, to eliminate all forms of discrimination against them, and to increase awareness through education and public activities.
Concerning reports of systematic attacks against people with albinism, the text also calls on States to ensure accountability through impartial, speedy and effective investigations, prosecution of perpetrators and access to appropriate remedies for victims.
Meanwhile, the UN Human Rights Council is conducting a study on the situation of persons living with albinism, which aims to report during the Council’s twenty-eighth session.
Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, genetically inherited condition occurring in both genders regardless of ethnicity, in all countries of the world. It results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to sun exposure and bright light. Almost all people with albinism are visually impaired; they may have a shortened life span by lung disease or may develop life-threatening skin cancers.
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