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Alibinism: Another Kind of Discrimination

The “3rd Committee” of the UN General Assembly deals with social issues and human rights. In following the 3rd Committee last fall, the 2016 interns were especially interested in a panel on discrimination, at which one panelist was a young girl with albinism. She discussed the discrimination and persecution of albino people, especially boys and girls. Albinism is an inherited disease in which the skin produces very little pigment in the skin, hair, and eyes. Many albinos contract skin cancer because they lack protective pigment, but perhaps the hardest burden is the social ostracism that leads to stress, low self-esteem, isolation, fear, and even violence. In some African countries the body parts of individuals with albinism are sought after by witch doctors; there have been numerous cases of children with albinism murdered for profit. In 2013 it was estimated that the body parts of an albino could net $75,000 (National Geographic). The UN office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights is trying to raise awareness for protection of the rights of persons with albinism.  The picture features Tanzanian children.

–Deyanira Garcia SDS and Noeli Massoni CCV