The Centre for Human Rights made a presentation before members of the Pan African Parliament Permanent Committte on Justice and Human Rights on the continued plight of persons with albinism on the continent and the need for regional action on 9 August 2017. The presentation is part of the Centre for Human Rights’ on-going efforts to advance the rights of persons with albinism in Africa which began in 2016. The presentation, which took place at the Pan African Parliament headquarters in Midrand, South Africa during the Justice and Human Rights Committee session sought to bring to the attention of the Committee members the continued persistent and egregious violations of the rights of persons with albinism. More importantly the need for African states to adopt the recently finalised Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa, a 5-year plan to address attacks and related violations against persons with albinism in Sub Saharan Africa.
Ms Innocentia Mgijima-Konopi, Programme Manager for the Disability Rights Unit at the Centre for Human Rights making the presentation before the Committee informed members that the UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, in collaboration with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights and multiple stakeholders have contributed towards the development of the Regional Action Plan on Albinism in Africa for the period 2017-2021. The plan which was endorsed by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights at its 60th Ordinary Session, in May this year is an important recognitition of the need to address the continued violence, widespread discrimination, stigma and social exclusion directed at persons with albinism, particularly women and children.
The plan is the first ever regional initiative to eradicate discrimination and violence against persons with albinism and consists of recommendations made by various human rights bodies and mechanisms at the AU and UN level. These recommendations have been distilled into concrete and specific measures, achievable over immediate, short to medium term (0 to 5 years) whilst triggering long term initiatives. The recommendations are divided into four clusters: prevention meaures, protection measures, accountability measures and equality and non-discrimination measures.
The Chairperson of the Justice and Human Rights Committee in responding to the presentation acknowledged that there was a need for the Committee to get better acquinted with the human rights situation of persons with albinism in the different countries and to explore ways to contribute towards advancing the rights of persons with albinism through the Action Plan on Albinism.
The presentation is one of many first step towards collaboration between the Centre for Human Rights and the Pan African Parliament.