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International Albinism Awareness Day 2020: Theme, date and everything you must know

International Albinism Awareness Day 2020 theme is ‘Made to Shine’. The theme has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and successes of people with albinism worldwide.

Jun 13, 2020 10:45 IST
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International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated worldwide on June 13, 2020. The day aims at creating awareness and acknowledging the multiple forms of discrimination that people with albinism face worldwide.

Albinism is non-contagious, genetically inherited, rare difference present at birth. This condition results in a lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.

This year’s International Albinism Awareness Day theme is ‘Made to Shine’. The theme has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and successes of people with albinism worldwide.

Albinism Awareness Day 2020 Theme- ‘Made to Shine’

The theme ‘Made to Shine’ has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and success of people with albinism as well to stand in solidarity with people with albinism through their challenges.

 As people with Albinism continue to face all forms of human rights violations, in some of the countries they have also been branded as ‘Corona’ or ‘COVID-19’ in an attempt to scapegoat them for the pandemic.

The theme symbolizes that even though people with albinism continues to suffer bullying, stigma, the world stands together with them in their fight for life that is free of violence and discrimination. A world where they are made to shine.

What is Albinism?

It is a rare, genetically inherited, and a non-contagious difference that is present at birth. In almost all kinds of albinism, both the parents must carry the gene of albinism for it to be passed on, even if they do not have albinism themselves.

Albinism results in a lack of pigmentation (melanin) in skin, hair, and eyes and causes extreme sensitivity to the sun and bright light. As a result, most people with albinism are visually impaired and are also prone to developing skin cancer. There is still no cure for the absence of melanin that is central to albinism.

Albinism all over the world:

While the numbers of people having albinism vary, it has been estimated that in Europe and North America 1 in every 17,000 to 20,000 people have some form of albinism. The condition is observed to be more prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa with an estimate of 1 in 1400 people being affected in Tanzania. For the select populations in Zimbabwe and other specific ethnic groups of Southern Africa, the prevalence has been reported as high as 1 in 1000.

Health Challenges faced by people living with Albinism:

People with albinism are highly vulnerable to develop skin cancer and in most countries, the majority of people with albinism die from skin cancer between 30-40 years of age.

But skin cancer is preventable when people with albinism enjoy their right to health. It includes sunscreen, regular health check-ups, sun-protective clothing, and sunglasses. In a number of countries due to the continued discrimination or unavailability of the preventable measures, a person with albinism is often left behind.

United Nations and human rights for people with albinism:

There is no doubt that people with albinism face worldwide discrimination and are misunderstood medically and socially. Their physical appearance is often the subject of myths and erroneous beliefs. Therefore, they must be targeted for human rights interventions in a manner that has been envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals.

 The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2013 that called for the prevention of attacks and discrimination against the people with albinism. In response to the civil society organization’s call for advocating to consider people with albinism as a specific group that requires special attention, the UN Human Rights Council created the mandate of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism.

The Human Rights Council in June 2015 appointed Ikponwosa Ero as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.