Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary-general, says Albinos have been discriminated, mystified, mistreated and killed for too long, for the erroneous belief that they have magical powers.
Ki-Moon called on all countries to end the discrimination that threatens the well-being, health and even the lives of people with albinism, and to provide programmes that will enable them play a full role in the society.
“I call on all countries and stakeholders to recognize that human rights apply to all people everywhere, including people with albinism,” he said in a message marking the second International Albinism Awareness Day.
Albinism is found in every country and society in the world, regardless of people’s ethnicity or gender. According to the UN, discrimination and stigmatization of people with albinism also exists to varying degrees all over the world.
“Albinism has often been subjected to mystification, triggering erroneous beliefs and myths.
“The completely mistaken belief that potions or amulets made from the body parts of people with albinism have magical powers has given rise in some countries to a demand for such human remains.
“This has led to attacks, abductions and killings of people with albinism, and even to the theft of their bodies from graveyards.”
He highlighted that due to the long history of discrimination and stigmatization of albinism, in some places, people with this condition may live in abject poverty, without access to basic services such as accommodation, healthcare and education.
“The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pledges to leave no one behind. That includes people with albinism. The cycle of attacks, discrimination and poverty must be broken.”
He also welcomed the appointment of the first independent expert on the human rights of people with albinism.
In 2013, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism.
In response to the call from civil society organizations advocating for persons with albinism to be considered a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Council created the mandate of this independent expert in March 2015.