Freetown, Sierra Leone: 13th June, 2019- Today, we acknowledge the efforts that have been made in clarifying Albinism to the public, especially to members of the media in Sierra Leone. On 18th December 2014, the General Assembly adopted Resolution 69-170 proclaiming 13th June as International Albinism Awareness Day.
"Still Standing Strong" is the theme for this year's International Albinism Awareness Day. This is a call to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with persons with albinism around the world. In several other countries, persons with albinism are subjected to heinous attacks and killings. Despite all these challenges, we remain positive and STILL STANDING STRONG!
In Sierra Leone, Persons with Albinism face huge challenges in the realization of their rights. They have been largely excluded from progressive efforts undertaken by government, civil society, donors and development partners. Issues affecting them have generally gone unnoticed and has resulted to deep stigma, exclusion, discrimination and sometimes violence against them…According to a report launched by OSIWA in 2018 titled: “Harassed, Misunderstood and Forgotten: Challenges faced by Persons with Albinism in Sierra Leone”.
To mark this year’s event, the Sierra Leone Association of Persons with Albinism (SLAPWA) is calling on the attention of the Government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Human Rights Commission, National Commission For Persons With Disabilities, Sierra Leone Union on Disability Issues (SLUDI) and other Government Agencies and development partners to promote and protect the rights of persons with Albinism in Sierra Leone.
To make this happen:
We want: Institution of Special sessions for hearing narration and documentation of human rights violation of Persons with Albinism (PWA).
We want: Designing public education campaigns and programmes to raise awareness, challenge mindsets and perceptions of communities and the public.
We want: Enactment of specific laws protecting the rights and lives of PWA.
We want: Engagement of National Commission of Persons with Disability to Mainstream PWA issues in their programmers beyond the “International Albinism Awareness Day”.
We want: More engagement of key sectoral Ministries advocate for provision of free subsidies social services such as health care and education for PWA.
We Want: Further research relating to everyday life challenges for society and policy makers to understand how to address their challenges.
We want: The adoption of the Regional Action of Plan of PWA issues done by United Nations Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights of Persons with Albinism in 2017-2021.
Mohamed Osman Kamara
Founder and Director (SLAPWA)