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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 
Battle for people with albinism continues, gains ground: UN expert 

GENEVA (Xinhua) -- The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism on Monday highlighted a 14-year-old girl with albinism who topped Kenya’s national primary school exams in December, shattering stereotypes.

Ikponwosa Ero, the UN expert was speaking ahead of International Albinism Awareness Day on Wednesday, June 13, under its theme—“shining our light to the world”.

“Today, we celebrate the remarkable contributions of persons with albinism including Goldalyn Kakuya, a 14-year-old girl with albinism, who topped Kenya’s national primary school exams in December and shattered stereotypes and myths,” said Ero.

Albinism is congenital and characterized by the complete or partial absence of pigment in the skin, hair and eyes, and the UN expert said it is still often believed that persons with the disorder are unable to learn.

Prejudice against people with albinism illustrates the discrimination people with albinism face regarding access to education, including persistent bullying and the absence of reasonable accommodation for the vision impairment that is often part of albinism.

Inspired by her experiences as a person with albinism, Ero, from Nigeria, was designated in June 2015 as the first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism by the Human Rights Council.

In her statement Ero cited six women with albinism including victims of attacks and mutilation are currently preparing to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, shattering myths about albinism from one of the highest points in the world.

This campaign is a richly symbolic demonstration of the capabilities of women with albinism, said Ero.

“While we celebrate, we take a moment to reflect on those who have been attacked and lost their lives or were mutilated because they have albinism....Indeed the battle continues, but we are gaining ground,” she said. 

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