On June 13, the world gathered to celebrate 2019 International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD). IAAD is a call to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with “those not suffering with albinism” but “albinism patients” worldwide.
In spite of the marginalization received, they still stand strong. It’s significant to note that albinism isn’t a race scattered abroad, they are just born with a unique condition.
Albinism patients still face numerous forms of discrimination, verbal abuse globally. Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, medically and socially. The physical appearance of an albinism patient is often the object of erroneous myths and beliefs sold to us by superstition, which birth their marginalization and social rejection. This has lead to numerous forms of stigma and discrimination from the world today.
In some societies, the erroneous myths and beliefs, heavily influenced by superstition, has made the lives of persons with albinism vulnerable to threats. These myths and beliefs are centuries old and are still fresh in today’s cultural attitudes and practices around the globe.
Albinism Awareness Day 2019 – “Still Standing Strong”
This year’s theme was inspired after most people with albinism are beginning to fight for their place in the real world.
In a statement released by the United Nations official website, it states that, “Persons with albinism are being faced, and continue to face, ongoing hurdles and challenges that seriously ridicule their enjoyment of human rights. These range from stigma and discrimination, to barriers in education, health, and invisibility in social and political arenas. In addition, in some countries, they are prone to attacks and killings. Despite all these challenges, persons with albinism remain positive and are STILL STANDING STRONG!”
The theme calls people to support their cause in the awareness campaign and right from their achievements and positive practices to the promotion and protection of their human rights. Albinism patients are being faced with social stigma, obstacles in access to areas of education and health and ignorance in social and political arenas.
What is Albinism?
Albinism is a congenital condition caused by complete or partial lack of pigmentation in eyes, hair, and skin. This accompanied by a number of vision defects including nystagmus, photophobia, and amblyopia. The condition can last for years or even a lifetime.
The IAAD is being observed annually on June 13, after the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution A/RES/69/170 proclaiming with effect from June 13, 2015, as International Albinism Awareness Day.
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 calling for the baring of discrimination and attacks against persons with albinism. Moreover, in response to the call from civil society organizations advocating to consider albinism patients as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, on 26 March 2015, the Council created a mandate of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.