The Southern African Development Community (SADC) will join the international community in commemorating the International Albinism Awareness Day on 13 June.
This follows the adoption of Resolution 170 by the 69th United Nations General Assembly on 18 December, 2014, in which the General Assembly encouraged Member States to, among others, protect
and preserve the rights of persons with albinism to life, dignity and security, as well as their right not to be subject to torture and cruelty, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
SADC Executive Secretary Stergomena Lawrence Tax said in a statement said in the same resolution, Member States were called upon to observe International Albinism Awareness Day in order to increase awareness of the human rights situation of persons with albinism and understanding of albinism.
This year's International Albinism Awareness Day is commemorated under the theme "Made to Shine", which was chosen to recognize, celebrate and stand in solidarity with persons with
albinism around the world, and to ensure that they live free from discrimination and fear, and are empowered to enjoy their fundamental human rights.
"As we commemorate the day, SADC reiterates its unwavering support and commitment to stand in solidarity with, and to combat any form of discrimination against persons with albinism
around the world," Tax said."We recognise that persons with albinism continue to face various forms of abuse, ranging from stigma and discrimination, low access to health and education services, social and political exclusion, as well as persecution that sometimes includes ritual murders," she added, stating that it is for this reason that SADC condemns and will continue to condemn, in the strongest terms, all forms of violations and abuse against persons living with albinism.
"On this day, it is crucial to underscore the need for advocacy interventions to dispel societal myths and misconceptions about albinism and to ensure the protection and upholding of the
rights of persons with Albinism. These will also contribute to amplifying and strengthening the voice of persons with albinism and for relevant stakeholders such as Government ministries,
and non-state actors to mainstream albinism in their planning and programming. In the same breath, I wish to commend Member States that have made efforts to combat persecution of people with albinism," she said.
Meanwhile according to Tax SADC also applauds the admirable strength and willpower demonstrated by people with albinism to persevere, despite the various challenges they face.
"We encourage role models with albinism to share their success stories to reinforce our belief that people with albinism can shine amidst difficult times and to encourage others to stand up for their rights and shine," she concluded.