Women & Girls with Albinism Face Multiple Forms of Discrimination
Date: June 23, 2023
PEOPLE WITH ALBINISM FACE MULTIPLE FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION WORLDWIDE – WOMEN & GIRLS WITH ALBINISM
Albinism is a genetic condition inherited from both parents that occurs worldwide, regardless of ethnicity or gender. Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light. As a result, almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer. There is no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.
Albinism is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically. The physical appearance of persons with albinism is often the object of erroneous beliefs and myths influenced by superstition, which foster their marginalization and social exclusion. This leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination:
- Women who give birth to children with albinism are often repudiated by their husbands and their families, because they are not aware that both parents must carry the gene to pass it onto their children. Further, children with albinism are frequently abandoned by their parents or, more sporadically, the victims of infanticide, because of the appearance of their skin, the disabilities they may have as a result of their condition, and the belief that they may be a source of misfortune.
- The deeply entrenched prejudices they face worldwide also impede persons with albinism from accessing adequate health care, social services, legal protection and redress for rights abuses.
- The forms of discrimination faced by persons with albinism are interrelated. Their right to education, for instance, is affected by their vision impairment that can force them to drop out of school. A poor level of education, in turn, can lead to unemployment and affect their right to an adequate standard of living, consigning many to poverty.
The right to freedom from discrimination requires States to adopt comprehensive strategies to ensure that persons with albinism are afforded equal protection under the law and in practice.
UN Independent Expert on Persons with Albinism – Website: https://www.ohchr.org/en/special-procedures/ie-albinism
Inclusion of persons with albinism continues to be key to ending inequality: UN expert – International Day on Awareness of Albinism June 13.