At UN, Humanists International calls for education and training globally about the challenges faced by persons with albinism

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 12 March 2024

In a statement made on behalf of Humanists International at the 55th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, President of Humanists Malawi, Wonderful Mkhutche, has highlighted the need for education to realize the rights of persons with albinism.

The statement was made as part of the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Albinism. The Independent Expert’s report focused on the right to education for persons with albinism.

Mkutche’s statement supported the findings of the Independent Expert in underscoring the importance of education for persons with albinism. The superstitions and myths surrounding persons with albinism, including that they are “ghosts in human form,” leads to widespread stigma.

The statement continued to outline the need to provide persons with albinism with better access to education, including higher education, where some individuals are refused admission altogether. Bully, hate crimes, and harmful traditional practices also undermine the right to education of persons with albinism.

Wonderful Mkutche delivering his statement to the UN by video statement

Mkutche called not only for better educational opportunities for persons with albinism, but also better education and training for educators and the population in general about persons with albinism, so that the stigma can be further reduced.

In conclusion, the statement called for greater financial support and assistive devices to help support persons with albinism to access education, and called for a broader mindset change to support the necessary progress.

There have been hundreds of cases of attacks and killings of persons with albinism reported in 28 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade. Amnesty International reports that there were at least 170 hate crimes against persons with Albinism in Malawi alone between 2014 and 2021, including 20 murders. The Independent Expert, Ms. Muluka-Anne Miti-Drummond, identified witchcraft as one of the leading drivers of hate crimes against persons with albinism.

The statement followed one delivered to the UN at a previous Council session, by Humanists International Board Member Leo Igwe, which highlighted the role of critical thinking in combating harmful superstitious attitudes towards persons with albinism.

In 2023, Humanists International coordinated a submission to the UN on related issues. Humanists Malawi was one of four member organizations, along with Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Freedom Centre Uganda, and Social Development Foundation, that made the submission. The submission was part of a study by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the situation of the violations and abuses of human rights rooted in harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks, as well as stigmatization.

Featured photo by Xabi Oregi on Pexels.

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