International Albinism Awareness Day
Written by Roneel Narayan on June 13, 2022
Albinism is a rare and genetically inherited health condition present at birth, which results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light but is also non-contagious. There is no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism and almost all people with albinism are visually impaired and are prone to developing skin cancer in some countries, a majority of persons with albinism die from skin cancer between 30 and 40 years of age.
International Albinism Awareness Day is observed by the United Nations on June 13 every year.
History and significance:
The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 calling for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against persons with albinism since it is still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically and 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 and leads to various forms of stigma and discrimination.
On 18 December 2014, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 2015, 13 June as International Albinism Awareness Day. In response to the call from civil society organizations advocating to consider persons with albinism as a specific group with particular needs that require special attention, the Council created the mandate of Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism on March 26, 2015.
The theme for International Albinism Awareness Day 2022 is “United in making our voice heard”. According to the United Nations, the theme was chosen because including the voices of persons with albinism is essential to ensure equality #Inclusion4equality; to celebrate how groups of persons with albinism and individuals increase the visibility of persons with albinism in all domains of life; to encourage and celebrate unity among groups of persons with albinism; to amplify the voices and visibility of persons with albinism in all areas of life; to highlight the work being done by albinism groups around the world.