Bringing Awareness to the Issues People Affected by Albinism Face
By admin May 7, 2015


Over the past few weeks the United Nations has been highlighting stories of survivors targeted by hate crimes because of their albinism and, on this past Tuesday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights launched a website aimed at disproving myths about albinism. Albinism is a very rare condition that affects approximately one in 17,000 people worldwide. The condition varies in degree and is characterized by a lack of pigmentation in the skin, eyes and hair.

While people affected by albinism are located worldwide, in Africa, many are targeted for their skin. East Africa has seen a recent spike in people targeted because of this condition. More specifically, Tanzania has seen a rise in crimes against Albinos which has coincided with a rise in the practice of witchcraft. Many who believe in witchcraft believe that people who suffer from albinism hold special powers and will kidnap, amputate limbs or even kill them in order to use their various organs when developing different potions and medicines. In March alone, there were 3 separate cases of Albino children being abducted from the country.

Meanwhile, in Kenya, many human rights groups are starting to target and prosecute people who are in the business of trafficking people suffering from albinism. Many of these traffickers will abduct children and smuggle them into Tanzania to be sold to a number of different witch doctors. By stopping the trafficking, the international community hopes that more awareness will be brought to this group of people.

A main problem facing the community affected by albinism is that they, often times, stay in hiding and are unaccounted for, making it difficult for them to access the necessary resources they need. This also makes it difficult for INGOs to reach the affected community. The UN is hoping that the new website, “People with Albinism: Not Ghosts but Human Beings” will bring the necessary attention to the situation of this community as well as bring awareness to others who may not normally think about this community. Given this community makes up less than one tenth of one percent of the world population, it is easy to pass them over when dealing with other human rights issues. But, as the UN has stated, they are not ghosts but are indeed human beings and raising awareness about the different issues they face on a daily basis will be the start for changing the different cultural and societal ideas that continue to cause discrimination for the community today.

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