Hon John Majisi, Member of Parliament(MP) for Krachi-Nchumuru, has asked Ghana’s Parliamentarians to address the increasing physical and psychological attacks on people with albinism in Africa and in particular, West Africa, where they suffer persistent discrimination, ill-treatment and denial of basic human rights.
According to the MP, many persons with Albinism have suffered and continued to suffer attacks, discrimination and stigmatisation in society.
He stated that, despises several human right laws against discrimination, persons with albinism are still faced with multiple forms of discrimination worldwide because of their distinctive appearance.
Hon Majisi made the called when he presented a statement on the floor of parliament to observed the International Albinism Awareness Day, which is marked annually on 13th June, in parliament yesterday.
Albinism is a rare, genetic difference present at birth, that occurs in members of both sexes, all ethnicities and in every country in the world.
It is as a result of lack of pigmentation in the skin, hair and eyes, people with albinism are subject to high rates of skin cancer and many are legally blind.
Discrimination against persons with Albinism is severe in parts of East Africa, where superstition fuels a lucrative trade in albino body parts, which are used in potions and amulets believed to bring good fortune or cure diseases.
The attacks take the form of murder, mutilation, rape and grave robberies to exhume and sell body parts of persons with albinism.
Research Reports indicated that, albinism is affecting one in 17,000 people in North America and is also said to be much more prevalent in East Africa, where it affects as many as one in 1,400 people.
Around the world, people with albinism are subject to widespread discrimination, as a 2015 Report of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) notes that, “as of October 2014, over 340 attacks against persons with albinism, including 134 killings, have been recorded in 25 countries.”
Albinism are disabled people but since they are not recognized to be having disabilities, many countries government has no programme to address their needs.
Hon John Majisi
This, Hon Majisi, an advocate for rights of persons living with disability said, these attacks violate virtually all human rights and civil liberties as elucidated by the international and regional human rights instruments.
“Mr. Speaker, Persons with Albinism are discriminated against although Article 17(2) of the 1992 Constitution states that “a person shall not be discriminated against on grounds of gender, race, colour, ethnic origin, religion, creed or economic status”, he sated.
He said, persons with albinism are often denied the most basic right, such as access to education, healthcare, employment, right to social and family life and as well as freedom of movement for fear of been attack or kill.
While calling on colleague MPs to support the campaign against discrimination on persons living with Albinism, Mr Majisi said, persons with Albinism are human beings like any other Person.
“They are normal people with less pigment in their skin and this is characterized by complete or partial absence of melanin, the pigment which gives colour to the skin, hair and eyes,” he explained.
The 2018 International Albinism Awareness Day was observed on the theme,” Shining Our Light to the World.”
Again, the Krachi-Nchumuru lawmaker said, the theme could only become meaningful and sustainable if urgent steps are taking to improve conditions for Persons with Albinism.
He called for the establishment of disability desks in the District, Municipal and Metropolitan Assemblies in collaboration with Ministry of Gender, Children and Social protection to lead campaign to remove the stigma associated with Albinism.
In addition to that, Mr Majisi said government should supplement the budgets of Organizations and Institutions involved in the protection of the rights of Persons with Albinism.
Parliament, he noted should also expedite action on a Review of Persons with Disability Act (Act 715, 2006) to comply with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.
He expressed the view that when these and others, “proper things done, with social protection systems put in place, Persons with Albinism would feel safer, take advantage of opportunities and contribute their quota to the nation development.”
As a nation, he said we need laws to protect our people, taxes removed on cosmetics for persons living albinism and a budget to cater for their needs.
Mr Majisi said sensitization should start with parliamentarians in constituencies where there are families that have people with albinism.
He further asked government to provide persons with Albinism enough resources to advocate for their human rights in the midst of the numerous societal and medical challenges that confront them.
Source: the republic news online.com/Felix Engsalige Nyaaba