Albinism Awareness Month is held in September to raise awareness on the rights of persons with albinism and to combat stereotypes, prejudices, harmful practices and beliefs that hinder their enjoyment of human rights and participation in society on an equal basis.
Albinism is a relatively rare, non-contagious, 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.
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 marginalisation and social exclusion.
Persons with Albinism, and in particular, children, are kidnapped and murdered, and their body parts are sold for muti in traditional medicine. Body parts are said to hold ‘special powers’. Conversely, some believe that persons with albinism carry bad luck, and newborn babies with albinism are abandoned or murdered to rid the family of bad luck.
Government is committed to break down barriers.
- Since the dawn of freedom, government has implemented a number policies and initiatives towards creating an inclusive society for all.
- We are committed to ensure that all persons realise their full civil, political, economic and social potential.
- We are working to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to work and contribute to the economy.
- We are working to create accessible infrastructure that accommodates persons with albinism, and related poor eyesight.
- Together we must advance policies and strategies for the hiring of persons with albinism and support them with appropriate training and skills development.
- The White Paper on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities protects the rights of persons with albinism.
Let us all work to combat stereotypes and prejudices in all spheres of life.
- We can support persons with albinism by promoting, protecting and advancing their rights in our areas of influence.
- Together we must fight harmful discrimination based on superstitions that are unfounded.
- We must fight discrimination based on appearance and colour that often confronts persons with albinism.
- We must work to ensure that persons with albinism enjoy all the rights and freedoms enshrined in our Constitution without discrimination.
- Government calls on all sectors of society to join the fight to end the cycle of violence against persons with albinism.
- Together we must eradicate any actions that undermines the fundamental human rights of persons with albinism.
- Through our collective actions we must declare that no person with albinism will be discriminated against, harassed, or attacked anywhere in our country.
- Together we can entrench and inculcate a culture of human rights throughout our communities.
- Unfounded beliefs contribute to the kidnapping and killing of children.
- Stop discrimination of any sort when you hear it, especially towards persons with albinism.
Government is committed to supporting people with Albinism.
- Persons with albinism are sensitive to bright light and there is significant vision impairment in the majority of persons with albinism.
- We must ensure that children with albinism are provided with the proper support and facilities in schools.
- We are working to ensure that persons with albinism have access to relevant health education, sunscreen, protective clothing, glasses and medical treatment.
- We must ensure that TVET colleges and universities provide adequate and timeous support services to students with albinism.
We all have a role in creating a better tomorrow.
- We must continue to break down the barriers which divide us.
- This generation must continue to work towards a society free from racial, social, economic and class barriers.
- We must strive to maximise the things we have in common rather than to focus on that which divides us.
- Civil society plays a critical role in changing our nation for the better.
- Our Constitution creates space for civil society to play an oversight role and support the vulnerable in asserting their rights.
- Persons with albinism are able to contribute meaningfully to society, and must be considered full citizens of this country.
Credit: The Government Communication & Information System https://www.gcis.gov.za/