Kampala 12 September 2019- "Persons with albinism in Uganda need support. Their experiences of discrimination are multiple and intersecting. Short, medium and long term measures must be put in place for relief, rehabilitation and development initiatives," said Ikponwosa Ero, the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
Ikponwosa was speaking at the first national meeting of Civil Society Organizations of Persons with Albinism in Uganda organized by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa. Having in background the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa (2017-2021), the meeting aimed inter alia, at a mapping interventions of Civil Society Organizations across the country and focus on partnerships in building a national action plan, which according to Ik Ero, is not only possible, but necessary if the discrimination and the human rights violations persons with albinism in Uganda face are to be mitigated.”
In her presentations at the meeting, she revealed that whereas national action plans for persons with albinism have worked well in neighbouring Kenya and Tanzania, they need a dedicated budget from the Governments in order to succeed.
While speaking at the same meeting, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Country Representative in Uganda Robert Kotchani noted that “Persons with Albinism remain largely a marginalized group and continue to suffer discrimination and violations of human rights.” He called for openness, honesty and creativity among CSOs of Persons with Albinism in working “tirelessly to promote and protect the rights of Persons with Albinism in Uganda.”
Participants shared experiences of the several challenges that Persons with Albinism in Uganda face; ranging from stigma, discrimination to lack of self-esteem and myth, especially in rural areas, explains Olive Namutebi, Chairperson of the Albinism Umbrella, but, “basic and simple acts of kindness such as visiting Persons with Disabilities in their homes, restores hope and make the struggle worth the efforts.”