10 years of International Albinism Awareness Day – collective progress celebrated, challenges remain

OHCHR

International Albinism Awareness Day, 13 June 2024

GENEVA (13 June 2024) — A UN expert today hailed the collective progress made in pursuing human rights for persons with albinism, since the UN General Assembly officially recognised 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD) in 2014. Muluka-Anne Miti-Drummond, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, made the following statement:

“For the past decade, we have made remarkable headway in highlighting the human rights concerns of persons with albinism – a feat that could not be achieved without the valuable partnerships and collaboration forged among persons with albinism and stakeholders who have been important allies in this endeavour.

It is apt that this year we celebrate under the theme 10 Years of IAAD: A Decade of Collective Progress. Significant strides have been made in combatting stigma, discrimination and violence experienced by persons with albinism.

In the past decade, the inclusion of persons with albinism in human rights discourse and decisions, also within the disability movement, have been encouraging to witness. However, we also recognise that the journey to a more equitable world for persons with albinism continues to be marred by significant challenges and difficulties.

Persons with albinism are still among those who are left furthest behind when it comes to the SDG promises and there is still a dire need to strengthen their protection in legislation and policies, as well as their inclusion in data collection, public awareness campaigns and representation in all spheres of society. All of these efforts contribute to debunking dangerous myths and misbeliefs that have been among the root causes of discrimination and marginalisation against them.

While we need to capitalise on the gains that have been made so far, we recognise that there is still much work to do. Ongoing prejudice, and violence against persons with albinism in various parts of the world is still concerning. I continue to receive cases of attacks and killings, often perpetuated against the most vulnerable in our societies – our children. With regard to health challenges, the struggle remains for many persons with albinism to access a simple bottle of life-saving sunscreen — an unaffordable luxury in some regions. This indicates how much work still remains in our pursuit to alleviate the plight of persons with albinism.

Reflecting on the achievements of the past 10 years, means we must also renew our commitment to address the remaining challenges adversely impacting the rights and well-being of persons with albinism. This requires a multi-faceted approach that engages all of us – the collective – and which will require more awareness-raising, education, advocacy, legislative and policy reforms, and community engagements.

In commemorating International Albinism Awareness Day today, we celebrate the resilience, strength, and contributions made by persons with albinism to our societies — while continuing to strive for a world where dignity, equality, and human rights are fully enjoyed by all persons with albinism.”

/Public Release. View in full here.