Citizen Reporter
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2 minute read
13 Jun 2022
11:14 am

Ending discrimination, ritual killings: What is International Albinism Awareness Day?

Citizen Reporter

People with this condition are ostracised and suffer discrimination, marginalisation, bullying, and ritual killings.

A Tanzanian family seated on the floor of their house, showing the mother, the aunt and five children, including a son and a daughter with albinism. Picture: iStock

International Albinism Awareness Day, on June 13, commemorates the rights of people born with albinism and aims to increase awareness and understanding of this genetic condition.

People with this condition are ostracised and suffer discrimination, marginalisation, bullying, and ritual killings.

The killing of people living with albinism takes place mostly in sub-Saharan African communities, especially among East Africans.

“A complete set of organs in Tanzania is priced at about $75,000 by criminal networks serving wealthy clients,” the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) reported.

Vicky Ntetema, an investigative journalist in Tanzania, told ISS researchers that a person living with albinism is valued at $340,000.

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Theme

This year’s theme is “United in making our voice heard”. The United Nations (UN) said the theme was chosen to amplify the voices and visibility of persons with albinism in all areas of life.

“The attacks have several root causes including ignorance, longstanding stigma, poverty, and most abhorrently, harmful practices emanating from manifestation of beliefs in witchcraft.

“The alarming reality is that these horrendous practices continue today,” the organisation wrote in a statement.

History

In 2013, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution that called for the prevention of discrimination against persons with albinism.

On 18 December 2014, the UN General Assembly proclaimed June 13th as International Albinism Awareness Day. The first observance was in 2015.

Meanwhile, a Catholic priest in Malawi was convicted in conspiracy to the murder of a man with albinism in 2018.

The victim of albinism hate crime was identified as MacDonald Masambuka, 22.

It was concluded by the Malawian High Court that the 12 people, including the priest (Masambuka’s brother), a hospital staff member, and a police officer plotted to kill Masambuka to extract his bones, hoping to benefit financially.

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