GLOBAL AWARENESS ABOUT ALBINISM &SOCIAL DISCRIMINATION.
BY: ELVIS MOM
Albinism remains a global problem especially in Africa and in some parts of Asian countries; Albinism is still very well misunderstood in these part of the world due to their skin colour, their physical appearance is always seen and perceived differently both socially and medically, people with albinism are seen as ghosts in some parts of African communities, while some see them as the ones the gods have forsaken, they are sometimes used for sacrifices to appease the gods or sometimes banished from their communities. These acts have accelerated their social exclusion and other forms of abuse.
In some African communities, if a woman gives birth to a child with albinism she undergoes spiritual cleansing and other barbaric practices; for example, she will be compelled to sleep with the native doctor while some are been sent back to their parents.
This is because they are not aware that both parents must carry the gene to enable them to give birth to a child with albinism. In some cases, children who are born with albinism are sometimes abandoned by their parents in other to appease the gods; this practice is done to appease the gods of the land. The global misunderstanding about people with albinism has led to multiple human rights violations against persons with albinism.
The implications of human rights violations faced by people with albinism worldwide have denied them social inclusiveness, right to access good medical services, right to education, right to legal representation, and other relevant human rights services. Their right to education is denied due to their poor vision; this sometimes forces them to drop out of school. Their inability to have a good vision is due to the low melanin in their skin which affects their sight, it is a genetic impairment that produces low melanin in their skin that affects their sight and not superstitious beliefs or an act of the gods against them.
People with albinism are often victims of violent attacks in many parts of African communities, some of these violations are largely not reported or documented, their families don’t even report to the appropriate authorities due to fear of been banished from their communities. Killings and attacks targeted against persons with albinism are a great concern for human rights defenders as their attackers get away with it, this further deepens their social exclusion in communities; such as the right to health services, education, and other social activities.
Truth about albinism
Albinism is rare; it is not contagious, albinism is a genetically inherited condition which occurs worldwide regardless of ethnicity or gender. It most commonly results in the lack of melanin pigment in the hair, skin, and eyes causing vulnerability to sun exposure. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is always subjected to numerous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion. People with albinism are not ghosts neither are they been forsaken by the gods of the land, albinism is genetically inherited; the father and the mother must carry the gene to enable them to give birth to a child with albinism.
People with albinism are normal human beings like any other person, their skin colour differentiates them from other persons, and this is due to the low formulation of melanin which affects the eyes, hair, and the skin. They suffer poor vision and sometimes skin cancer due to the low melanin in their skin. It is therefore very in-human and barbaric to subject persons to multiple violations because of their skin pigmentation.
To enable persons with albinism enjoys their right to freedom and to overcome marginalization requires states to make comprehensive laws that will protect people with albinism.