Sunday, Feb 18th

UNESCO Leads Joint UN Efforts in Support of People with Albinism

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Ms Rodrigues with children with albinism in ShinyangaIn January 2015 the United Nations Country Management Team, consisting of heads of agencies gave UNESCO, and UNESCO’s Representative in Tanzania, a lead role in coordinating the joint UN intervention in support of people with albinism. The joint UN intervention seeks to combat the attacks, discrimination and stigma, as well as diverse health risks that people with Albinism face within and around Tanzania.

An Important Initiative
A joint approach gives the UN an opportunity to pool resources, avoid duplication, and together deliver results that will improve the lives of people with albinism in Tanzania.

In Tanzania, persons with Albinism face severe discrimination, physical assaults and encounter difficulties in living a life of dignity.  A large number of attacks, often motivated by the use of body parts for ritual purposes, have claimed the lives of at least 73 people with albinism since 2000. These attacks continue to be accompanied by a high degree of impunity, and while Tanzania has made efforts to combat the problem, much more must be done to protect this vulnerable segment of the population, and end these heinous crimes.

Knowledge and advocacy on the discrimination of people with albinism - both in Tanzania, Africa and the rest of the world - has gathered pace. However, despite the growing antagonism against the horrendous acts, the attacks have continued to happen and are expected to increase in moving towards the general elections in 2015.

As part of its effort to promote equitable development and the promotion of human rights in the country, in 2015, the UN, in partnership with the Government and other partners will be scaling-up efforts to end violence against people with Albinism.

Children at the Buhangija Children’s Center.  Photo: UTSS Ezekiel Mkusa


What is the UN Doing?

UN ActivitiesThe Joint UN Intervention works on two tracks:

(1) trying to meet the immediate needs of children with Albinism while simultaneously

(2) seeking long term beneficial changes.

UNESCO Representative Zulmira Rodrigues is pushing for change in the treatment of people with albinismFirstly, the immediate wellbeing of children with Albinism will be addressed through interventions aiming at improving their living conditions, providing them with better facilities and necessary protection.

The UN also stands by to support the Government to develop a long-term strategy – to support the re-integration of people with albinism into their families and communities.  In this regard the UN is seeking to promote public awareness and education interventions striving for addressing and contending the myths related to Albinism, promoting inclusive environments and thus help in ending discrimination and persecution of people with Albinism around Tanzania.

For this Intervention to be successful, UNESCO is engaging international and national partners from Media outlets, NGOs, as well as in the public and private sectors.

If you interested in working together with UN please contact:

Ms. Zulmira Rodrigues, UNESCO Representative in Tanzania