EOC and OHCHR launch Report on Situation of Persons with Albinism in Uganda

The Report titledEnhancing Equality and Countering Discrimination against Persons with Albinism in Uganda” was launched at the official commemoration event of International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June in Kampala.

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) have launched a report highlighting challenges faced by Persons with Albinism (PWA) in Uganda and measures needed to fight discrimination against them. The launch on 13 June 2019 brought together representatives from the albinism community, government, civil society, and the diplomatic community. The report examines problems facing PWA such as challenges in access to healthcare, education, an inadequate protection framework and the discriminatory attitude of other community members towards PWAs.

During the launch, OHCHR Uganda Deputy Representative Ms Nicole Bjerler emphasized, “Persons with albinism are human beings just like all of us, and are entitled to the full enjoyment of their human rights, without any exception, and need to be treated with dignity and respect.”

The report makes several recommendations to demystify existing myths, superstitions and believes about albinism. It stresses the need to collect data to determine the number of PWAs in Uganda including their functional disabilities. The report further calls for adequate support for persons with albinism to be integrated into the national health system, and on the relevant Ministries to develop and implement programs that adequately respond, on a sustainable basis, to the health and education needs of PWAs, among others.   

The Acting Chairperson Equal Opportunities, Commissioner Joel Cox Ojuko, stressed that “Persons with Albinism should be provided with equal opportunities and all the support they require to live a valuable and meaningful life.”

While officially launching the report, Daniel Johansson Århem, Counsellor at the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda, appreciated that the report contained valuable information, which would help in reflecting on what needs to be done to assist persons with albinism. He further hoped that it would “lead to strategic interventions that will provide effective support to persons with albinism to develop their full potential.”

“Government and all relevant authorities need to put the rights of Persons with Albinism at the heart of policy-making, Ms Olive Namutebi, the President of Albinism Umbrella emphasized at the launch of the report.

OHCHR Uganda has supported the celebration of the International Albinism Awareness Day since 2015. This year, several activities marked weeklong celebrations under the theme “Still Standing Strong”. These included amongst others: a press conference on 10 June 2019 at the Ministry of Health, an awareness campaign on albinism on the streets of Kampala and in some other towns such as Jinja, Gulu and Mubende, a football match and blood donation in Kampala.