Statement by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
13 June 2021
Today we mark International Albinism Awareness Day with the theme “Strength Beyond All Odds, “in tribute to persons with albinism across the world who stand strong despite the challenges they face. This theme also expresses solidarity with all people as we battle the global pandemic of COVID-19.
The pandemic is exacerbating the challenges faced by people with albinism. In some countries, they have been smeared with names such as “corona” and “covid-19”. Some were banished from their communities, or ostracised.
The socio-economic effects of the pandemic appear to have also increased harmful practices involving the body parts of people with albinism. Four countries have reported a number of physical attacks; the most recent one took place last month.
People with albinism suffer discrimination, marginalisation, bullying, violence and ritual killings in various parts of the world.
We remember and pay homage to those who have lost their lives to these violations. We also salute survivors – some of whom have risen above these tragedies and have bravely shared their stories to raise awareness and to educate others about the overall human rights situation of people with albinism.
I am encouraged by the exemplary work being done to promote the rights of persons with albinism worldwide. For instance, the African Union's Plan of Action on albinism in Africa (2021-2031) was developed following deep collaboration between the AU and people with albinism in the continent. Important policies and laws have been adopted, or are in progress, in – Guinea, Panama, Brazil and Nigeria, among others. The first-ever United Nations Independent Expert on albinism recently presented a
report that highlighted many achievements since her mandate began six years ago.
These and other measures by Governments, UN bodies and civil society are vital to ensure respect for human rights, and support for our pledge to leave no one behind.
I call on States and the international community to continue to build and strengthen partnerships with persons with albinism and organizations representing them, to ensure they are included in decision-making that concerns them and to promote their enjoyment of all human rights.
We stand in solidarity with all persons with albinism, who with strength beyond all odds, continue to fight for a life that is free of discrimination and violence.
I wish you all a happy International Albinism Awareness Day.