2023 Un International Albinism Awareness Day Organized By TAF Africa

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The Albino Foundation Public Notice

The Albino Foundation Public Notice

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY SYMPOSIUM TO COMMEMORATE THE UN INTERNATIONAL ALBINISM AWARENESS DAY ORGANIZED BY TAF AFRICA, NIGERIAN INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS (NIIA), ALBINISM ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (AAN), AND THE NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (NCPWD) HELD ON TUESDAY, 13TH OF JUNE 2023.

1.1 Preamble

On June 13, 2023, the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) in partnership with TAF Africa, the Albinism Association of Nigeria (AAN, NCPWD, and other partners organized a one-day symposium to mark the UN International Albinism Awareness Day (IAAD). The program, which was held at the Conference Chamber of the NIIA, was chaired by the executive secretary of the National Commission for People with Disabilities, Dr. James David Lalu, and hosted by Professor Eghosa Osaghae, Director General of the NIIA. The symposium was well attended by directors of the institute, senior research fellows, Dr. James David Lalu, executive secretary, National Commission for People with Disabilities, represented by Mrs. Oguntade Amidatu A, Dr. Philip Igbinijesu, Dr. Edi Onyinye, Dr. Olufolakemi Cole-Adeife, Mrs. Bisi Bamise, Christopher Hohl, University of Mainz, Germany, members of the public, and members of the press.

Following a series of efforts by individuals, including Dr. Jake Epelle, to moderate the discrimination against people with albinism, the United Nations consented by setting aside a special day for the celebration of people with albinism. The United Nations eventually approved a special day for albinism awareness across the globe on June 13, 2014. Hence, IAAD Day was set aside by the United Nations to raise awareness, advocate for, and protect the rights of people with albinism. Since 2014, the global community has marked albinism awareness day, with the most recent tagged “Inclusion is Strength” on June 13, 2023. On behalf of the National Commission for Persons with Disabilities, Mrs. Oguntade donated Three (3) million and sunscreen cream.

In his opening address, the NIIA DG, Prof. Osaghae, gave a brief observation by first noting that in today’s world, we must set out to complement each other in tandem with the theme of the symposium “Inclusion is Strength”. Prof. Osaghae thanked Ayomide Akintobi, often referred to as “Barry White,” for initiating this program and Dr. Jake Epelle for his support for the program and his contributions towards nation-building in Nigeria. Prof. Oshagahe stressed that nations like Canada and a host of Western countries that have embarked on direct policies towards inclusiveness have excelled in terms of commonly shared goals. Though Nigeria has shown some form of commitment by ratifying some of the international protocols on inclusiveness, such commitment has not been matched with the existing realities. The DG concluded by stating that the real challenge is not awareness but consciousness of our collective humanity.

Furthermore, the Canadian Deputy High Commissioner, Amb. Teshome Nkrumah noted that IAAD is an important day to create awareness and support people with albinism. The IAAD aims to create a more inclusive society, as currently practiced and strongly upheld

as a core value in Canada. Thus, the country remains committed to supporting advocacy and zero discrimination against people with albinism. Hence, Canada calls for more global support against discrimination and greater inclusion for people with albinism.

1.2 Observations

The observations made at the programme are as follows:

  • The IAAD has become an annual event adopted by the United Nations to increase awareness and the need to stand in solidarity with people with albinism across the globe.
  • The IAAD was adopted by the UN via Resolution 13, with Canada, the USA, and a host of other countries playing lead roles in its final adoption. Despite this resolution, several countries have not really tapped into the salient points in it.
  • Persons living with albinism must move beyond complaining about discrimination and work hard to become the best they desire to be.
  • There is a compelling need to educate persons with albinism on the dangers of skin cancer and how best the Nigerian government could help mitigate these challenges.
  • We observe that the international development partners are beginning to drive the inclusion of albinism into the global agenda, and this must be commended.
  • Persons with albinism are yet to draw up their strength in exploring and responding to the challenges they are often confronted with.
  • Most parents in Nigeria have not really done enough to provide special protection for their children with albinism.
  • Empowerment programs for people with albinism have been lacking in Nigeria, and this has greatly affected their survival instincts.
  • Absence of sustainable educational policy to support persons especially children with albinism.
  • People with albinism often face discrimination and violence because of their skin colour.
  • The main challenge with albinism is skin cancer and low vision.

1.3 Recommendations

The recommendations made at the programme are as follows:

  • Persons with albinism are encouraged to move beyond exhibiting low self-esteem and an inferiority complex and make conscious choices that will make them actualize the specific goals they set out to achieve in life.
  • Persons with albinism must ensure they deploy their mental, emotional, and psychological strength in exploring their world.
  • Creation of an albinism trust fund to support the health and educational needs of persons with albinism.
  • The compelling need for the appropriate government institutions, corporate organizations, developmental partners, philanthropists, and well-meaning individuals to give greater attention and support to the national policy on albinism.
  • The Government At All Levels Should Be Made To Integrate People With Albinism Into The Society And Ensure It Supports Their Participation In Education, Economics, And Other Social Activities.
  • Government At All Levels Should Support The Celebration Of The Annual IAAD Event To Create More Awareness Of The Plight Of Persons With Albinism.
  • The International Community Should Be Encouraged To Do More In Supporting The Course Of People With Albinism.
  • Persons With Albinism Should Be Encouraged To Participate In Governance And Be Given Equal Opportunity.
  • Persons With Albinism Should Be Encouraged Not To Engage In Self-Medication To Avoid Unintended Life-Threatening Consequences.
  • More Awareness Campaigns Are Required From Relevant Government Agencies, Development Partners, Ngos, And Well-Meaning Individuals To Abolish All Forms Of Discrimination.
  • The Government, Development Partners, Ngos, And Well-Meaning Individuals Must Strive To Provide Support For Sunscreen, Sun Protection Hats, And Other Related Skin Care Products, Which Are Key To Avoiding Skin Cancer.
  • The Government Should Subsidize Health Care For People With Albinism. Specifically, We Call On The Current Government Of President Bola Tinubu To Resuscitate The Free Medical Treatment For Skin Cancer Treatment For Persons With Albinism In At Least One Teaching Hospital Across The Six Geo-Political Zones In Nigeria.
  • While We Commend States That Have Domesticated The Act Of Persons With Disabilities, We Call On The Federal Government To Compel States Who Are Yet To Domesticate This Act To Do So Without Further Delay.
  • Though Lagos State Is Doing Everything Possible To Address The Health Challenges Of People With Albinism, The Government Still Needs To Do More, Particularly By Providing Free Surgery For Skin Cancer Patients.

The Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), TAF Africa, AAN and NCPWD, and other partners wish to thank all participants that attended the One-day symposium organized to mark the UN International Albinism Awareness Day.

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