End discrimination against people with albinism
Published on: June 13, 2017 05:21 (EAT)
As we mark the International Albinism Awareness Day, many Kenyans still hold false beliefs, myths and superstitions about people with albinism leading to their marginalization and discrimination by society. In East Africa, many albinos have been hunted down and killed for their body parts which are used in black magic arts due to false beliefs that their skin or body parts bring good luck and fortune. According to a report by Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, an Independent expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, witchcraft is the main cause of attacks against albinos. On September 22, 2015, 56-year old Enock Jamenya succumbed to his injuries after been attacked by unknown men on his way home in Hamisi, Vihiga County. Such cases are on the rise as Kenya approaches the August 8, 2017 polls. Already more than 30 albinos in Kenya have been evacuated from areas near the Tanzanian boarder to protected because of the high likelihood of being targeted following Jamenya’s case. Further, Embu County people living with albinism have expressed their fears and now want the national and county governments to protect them from kidnappers who ferry albinos to the neighbouring Tanzania where witch doctors are allegedly asking Kenyan politicians to present their body parts as paraphernalia. Albinism Coordinator, Adriane Njoki, says that the government has tried to put in efforts to safeguard them but much has to be done to reduce stigmatization. “The government, through the National Council for Persons with Disabilities, has been able to give us caps, t-shirts and oil to use in order not to be affected by the sunburns. But we still go through serious stigmatization others calling us pigs, zeruzeru and even money. I want to urge the men who chase their wives claiming they have conceived with a white man not to do so for albinism is a condition doctors due to lack of melanin,” Ms Njoki told the Citizen Digital. On December 18, 2014 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a resolution proclaiming, with effect from 2015, 13 June as International Awareness Day to tighten further their campaigns against the attacks and discrimination and championing for the rights of persons with albinism as a group with particular needs that require special attention.