The albinism rights project is aimed to protect, promote and defend the fundamental human rights of persons with albinism in Nigeria.
The development of human rights within a country is critical to establishing stability and security within a population. When human rights are ignored, the marginalization of certain persons within a society typically prevent such a group from participating in and benefitting from development.
Persons with albinism face discrimination and barriers that restrict their participation in society on an equal basis with others every day. Due to those many challenges, persons with albinism throughout the world are unable to enjoy the full range of human rights and the same standards of equality, rights and dignity as others. While some of those challenges are global, others have predominantly been identified in certain regions like Nigeria. There are legal policy foundations to most of the human rights violations faced by persons with albinism, however, they have not yet been consolidated and there are no specific instruments or guidelines on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.
During a press release in Nigeria, in March 2014, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights alluded to the specific discrimination faced by persons with albinism and the extra vulnerability faced by children with albinism. She stated “One group at particular risk are some 800,000 children among the 2 million people living with albinism in Nigeria. Many of them are not in school because of visual impairment, discrimination from other children, and social exclusion as a result of their skin colour.”
Nigeria is yet to enact such legislation on the rights of persons with albinism even though it has signed and ratified by the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its Optional Protocol. Article 4 of the Convention mandates member states “to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention.”
Recently in Eastern Africa, attention has been drawn to the plight of Persons with Albinism due to cases of them being hunted for witchcraft. Even though, there have been one or two official reports of such events in Nigeria, there is growing fear that it is only a matter of time this trend will escalate. Even with the little threat of being hunted, those with albinism in Nigeria face a host of medical, political and societal difficulties.
If there is a limitation that affects enjoyment of rights that cannot be handled by the individual, the state has a duty to come in. International Human Rights impose the obligation on governments to provide for its people. Albinism in Nigeria presents an interesting case of combined medical and societal concerns of a marginalized group in a developing country. Analysis of the current international, regional and domestic laws and initiatives reveals inefficiencies in addressing the case of persons with albinism. Though, there is a national policy on albinism, unfortunately, this policy has not been implemented. It is possible that such an inefficiency could also be applicable to cases outside of albinism.