Sunday, May 28

June 13 International Albinism Awareness Day

By Emeka Obitube (Umunna TV)

The United Nations marks International Albinism Awareness Day every June 13 and Member Nations are encouraged to raise awareness against the rising discremination and stigmatization against persons with albinism.

Albinism is a genetic condition which results in lack of melanin (pigmentation) in the hair, skin and eyes causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light. This results to visual impairment in people with albinism and likely prone to developing skin cancer. No known medically certified cure yet for the absence of melanin (pigmentation) causing albinism. Skin cancer is highly preventable if persons with albinism enjoy easy and free access to health care through regular healthy checks, regular use of sunscreen, sunglasses and sun-protective wears and device.

The global rise in discrimination against those living with albinism is alarming with high number of cases recorded in Africa.
The United Nations every June 13 encourages and continue to encourage member Nations to continue their efforts to protect, preserve the rights of persons with albinism to life , dignity, and security as well as their right not to be subject to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and to also ensure equal access for persons with albinism to employment, education, justice and enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

In Africa, the discrimination rates and figures against individuals with albinism is still very high and access to free and easy health care still not readily available and where available at a very high cost.
In some quarters, individuals with albinism face extreme segregation, bullying and inhumane treatments.

As at today in some quarters, albinos are still used for ritual killings, some horrendous and superstitious belief has it that their body parts can bring goodluck and flourishing wealth if sacrificed. Erroneously, some believe that albinos are evil spirits and are not allowed to freely associate with people thereby making them prone to abject rejection and abandonment. Persistent teasing and bullying of albinos still manifest in our society today.

Today the United Nations is using June 13 to continue to raise awareness and encourage Nations to do more for Individuals living with albinism and mark them globally for human rights intervention in the manner envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals for a better, free, just and egalitarian society.
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