Initiative For Advancement of the Albinism Cause Warns Against Stigmatisation of Persons with Albinism
A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the initiative for Advancement of the Albinism Cause (INAAC), yesterday, condemned social media content promoting the stigmatisation of Persons with Albinism (PWAs) in the society.
Founder of INAAC, Joy Odigie, expressed worry over the development, in a statement made available to newsmen in Benin on the occasion of the 2023 Zero Discrimination Day, marked every year on March 1, with the theme: “Save Lives: Decriminalise”.
Odigie said it was worrisome that discrimination had continued to heighten against PWAs, has continued, especially due to negative content being put on the social media space. She said: “Albinism is a genetic condition that decreases the production of melanin, resulting in a fair skin complexion, light eyes and hair, and increased susceptibility to skin and eye conditions.
“PWAs in Nigeria have always had to contend with different forms of social discrimination and stigmatisation from a section of the population.
“Discrimination of this group of persons had led to murder, amputations, abuse and trafficking in body parts of PWAs in some parts of Nigeria.
“This is an affront to the dignity and sanctity of the human body as guaranteed under international human rights law.”
“Some of the misinformation about albinism was being propagated by some PWAs, who care more about financial gains than respect for their fellow PWAs.
“Discrimination takes various forms. The term ‘albino’ is often used in a derogatory way to dehumanize people with albinism.
“Skits are meant to educate people and not to dehumanise people. Portraying persons with albinism as blind persons or calling them names like afternoon, fake oyibo is highly condemnable.
“The depiction and portrayal of PWAs in film and fiction has been asserted by different albinism organizations and others to be largely negative.
“This is a cause for concern, as it reinforces, or even engenders, societal prejudice and discrimination against such people.
“Most persons believe what they see and hear on social media, whether they are true or not.” She called on the media to help in changing the narrative via promoting the right information about albinism as well as demystifying myths. She also advocated for stringent human rights laws that would protect the rights of PWAs in society.