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Persons with albinism: Kenya on the way to becoming regional champion

Kiswahili version

GENEVA/NAIROBI (17 September 2018) – Kenya has recorded significant success in responding to attacks against persons with albinism and discrimination in the health sector but must do much more in other areas like access to justice, says a UN expert.

Presenting a statement at the end of a mission to Kenya, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, welcomed some of Kenya’s unique achievements, saying the country was set to become one of the leaders on the issue in the region.

“Kenya’s successes include the allocation of a substantial annual budget geared toward specific measures for persons with albinism, who had historically been left behind in the key sectors of health and education and had fallen prey to ritual attacks and the consequent insecurities,” she said.

“However, much remains to be done including access to justice and judicial remedies for victims of attack as well as socio-economic support for victims and their families to help restore their lives,” the expert added.

“There is also a great need for protection measures in border areas like Migori and Taita Taveta counties, where fear of attack remains high.”

“It is essential to undertake an intense and widespread sensitization campaign across the country, particularly in rural communities to ensure that the conditions that create attacks in the first place are dealt with,” Ms Ero said.

“There is also a need for reasonable accommodation to help persons with albinism. In particular, the provision of devices to aid those with vision impairment which is often the case for persons with albinism. The provision of such devices would help break down significant barriers to education and finding indoor employment. Hospitals that dispense sunscreen are also inaccessible to many people with the condition because of poverty and distance.

“I welcome the Government’s plans to remedy these barriers, particularly in the provision of visual aids and I strongly encourage it to consider producing sunscreen locally to enhance access and provide a source of employment for persons with albinism,” the expert emphasized.

“I also urge Kenya to create a brief but comprehensive national action plan, in line with the Regional Action Plan, to end violence and violations against persons with albinism as recommended by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

“The UN Sustainable Development Goals have a central pledge to leave no one behind, beginning with those who are furthest behind. I am convinced that Kenya is exemplifying this key principle. With improvements and continuity in its current positive trajectories, it will show the world some of the best practices for bringing those who are marginalized out of the fringes,” Ms Ero said.

The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.

ENDS

Ms Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria) was designated in June 2015 as the first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism by the Human Rights Council. Inspired by her experiences as a person with albinism, Ms Ero has, for more than a decade, been actively engaged in the research, policy development and practice of human rights concerning persons with albinism. As international advocacy and legal officer of Under the Same Sun, an NGO with a focus on albinism, she has participated in multiple activities and panels at the UN in Geneva and New York. She has extensive experience in research, policy development and advocacy in the field of albinism. She is the author of numerous papers and articles on the issue, including with regards to the categorization of people with albinism in the international human rights system.

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Check out our special website: People with albinism: not ghosts, but human beings.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Kenya

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Kenya (during the visit): Ms Maken Tzeggai (+
41 79 444 3781 / mtzeggai@ohchr.org
In Geneva (after the visit): Ms Maken Tzeggai (+41 22 917 9889 / mtzeggai@ohchr.org) or write to albinism@ohchr.org)