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Photo Courtesy of: Open Society Foundations
Protection, Security and Well-beingIn-Person Gatherings

Human Rights Crisis in Africa: A Call to Action to Address Abuses Against Persons with Albinism

The Open Society Foundations and Human Rights Funders Network invite you to this briefing to raise awareness on this underfunded and under-recognized human rights crisis facing persons with Albinism in Africa.

Co-sponsored by: Africa Grantmakers’ Affinity Group, the East Africa Association of Grantmakers, and the newly launched HRFN Africa Donors Working Group

Location: Open Society Foundations, 224 West 57th Street, Room 4A, New York, NY (Remote participation available via conference line)


Persons with albinism “don’t die, they disappear.” This is the myth propagated in several African nations, where persecution and discrimination against persons with albinism—who are demonized, dehumanized, and whose body parts are believed to possess magical powers—is on the rise. In the past two years, there have been reports of increasing violence, including infanticide, mutilation, killing, kidnapping, and trafficking in body parts of persons with albinism for witchcraft purposes. These practices seem to be spreading to more countries on the continent and taking on new dimensions, such as exhumation of graves and the trade in body parts becoming a cross-border issue. Prosecution of cases is often difficult, as many attacks are carried out with the aid of close family members who cover up for perpetrators. Prosecutions that do go forward have been criticized for targeting low-level agents, leaving the powerful and wealthy who are often the masterminds behind mutilations and killings untouched.

Alongside violence, this human rights crisis intersects with myriad human rights issues, including children’s exclusion from and segregation in education, public health concerns—given that 90 percent of persons with albinism in Africa die of skin cancer before the age of 40—and gender inequality, as women who give birth to children with albinism are often abandoned by the fathers, and women and girls with albinism are more targeted for abuse.

Join this meeting to learn more and discuss the role of funders in combating abuses against persons with albinism in Africa.

Speakers will include:

– Ikponwosa Ero, UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of the human rights by persons with albinism

– Alison A. Hillman, Human Rights Initiative, Open Society Foundations

– Bonface Massah, Association of Persons with Albinism – Malawi (APAM)


Resources from the meeting:

For more information, please contact Rebecca Landy, Program Manager, Engagement.