Africa: 'Not Ghosts but Human Beings - ' UN Rights Office Launches Website On Albinism

Digital Content

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) launched today a website dedicated to the issue of albinism aimed at debunking the myths of the rare condition which is "still profoundly misunderstood, socially and medically."

The website, People with albinism>Not ghosts but human beings, contains a wide range of resources on the condition of albinism, which affects from 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 15,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Hundreds of ritual attacks against persons with albinism, particularly children, have been reported in various countries and many more cases remain undocumented or unreported because of the ostracism of victims and their families, as well as the secret nature of witchcraft.

The United Nations has expressed revulsion at a recent spike in gruesome attacks against people with albinism in several African countries, where in the past six months, at least 15 albinos were abducted, wounded, or killed, including three such incidents in the last week of March.

The website site details some of the key human rights issues that people with albinism faced on a daily basis, and told the stories of 12 people ranging from musicians and models to activists, athletes, doctors and judges who were working to make a difference, to debunk the myths and ensure that people with albinism could live a life free of stigma and violence.

According to OHCHR, the colours on the site have been tested for its accessibility, particularly for people with albinism who sometimes have difficulties reading online sites that have vividly-coloured backgrounds and text. The colours of the site were chosen for their neutrality. The new website can be accessed here: