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International Albinism Awareness Day 2019: “Still Sanding Strong”

Today, June 13, marks the celebration of the International Albinism Awareness day 2019. It is a day set aside to celebrate albinos all around the world as well as stand in solidarity with them, championing their cause and fighting for their basic rights as humans.

On December 18, 2014, the General Assembly adopted with effect 2015, 13 June as International Albinism awareness day. Ikponwosa Ero from Nigeria was designated in June 2015 as the first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of Human rights by persons with albinism by the UN Human rights council. Since then, the day has marked as an international celebration all around the world.  Albinism as a condition has been treated with bias and a lot of superstition, most especially in Africa. The discrimination and unjust treatment of people living with Albinism have been on the rise in Africa. In the past, they were believed to be evil beings and were subjected to terrible torture as well as unjust killings.

The theme for this year; the campaign is “Still Standing Strong” and it is targeted at creating hope for Albinos, who in the face of unjust treatment and discrimination, are still standing strong. Referring to this year’s theme, the UN wrote; “This is a call to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with persons with albinism around the world, and to support their cause – from their accomplishments and positive practices to the promotion and protection of their human rights”. In Africa, between one in 17,000 and one in 20,000 people are albinos, and a majority are being made to suffer unjustly from family, friends and even school peers. Also, in sub-Saharan Africa, albinism affects one in every 5,000 to 15,000 people. Majority of them are denied the right to education, in most developing parts of African, as well right to health care and jobs.Albinism

Image Credit: The New Times

Albinism is not a spiritual condition, it is simply a disorder that results from a reduction or absence of the pigment melanin. It is a genetic condition that primarily affects the eyes, hair, skin and vision. Melanin helps to protect the skin from the UV rays of the sun, a lack of adequate proportion might lead to an increased rate of skin cancer as well as sensitivity to the sun rays. The condition also affects their vision in the sun. There are no cures for albinism, however, with the right diet, the prevailing symptoms might be kept under control.

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