African Mythology and the Violation of Life and Dignity of Albino Minorities in Nigeria

                                   

By Aloy Ojilere, LL.B (Hons.), BL, LL.M, PhD. He is an attorney, and academic in the Faculty of Law, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria where he teaches Human Rights, Gender Studies and Jurisprudence. His research interest is in the judicialization, globalization and constitutionalization of fundamental rights in Nigeria, India and South Africa. His recent publications include: Aloy Ojilere, & Gan Ching Chuan, (2015). Learning from the Indian Judiciary: New Directions for Securing Nigerian Women’s Right to Dignity. Asian Women, 31(1), 81-106; Aloy Ojilere & Gan C. C. (2015). Globalization and Judicialization of Socio-economic Rights in India and South Africa: Catalysts for New Directions in Nigeria. Comparative Constitutional Law & Administrative Law Quarterly (CACLQ), 2(4), 4-27, National Law University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India; Aloy Ojilere (2016). Obergefell v. Hodges and the Judicialization of Same-Sex Marriage in America: Legalizing the Impossible. International Journal for Intersectional Feminist Studies (IJIFS), 2(1), 33-51. Project Monma, University of Canterbury, New Zealand. The author may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

Abstract

 

The mythology, socio-cultural beliefs and superstition of some sub-Saharan African countries prejudice minorities and vulnerable persons, including albinos. In his Myths, discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa, (Amnesty International editorial review on Special Programme on Africa, 2011), Thuku, Muthee emphasised the truth that “the murders, amputations and trafficking in body parts of persons with albinism in parts of East and southern Africa is an affront to the dignity and sanctity of the human body as guaranteed under international human rights law.” However, using Nigeria as focus, this article posits, that aside East and Southern Africa, and contrary to prohibitions in municipal, regional and international law, the discrimination, physical violence, psychological hurt and even murder of albinos also occur in West Africa. It shows how domestic and global interventions can be reasonably applied to remedy this menace. It specifically recommends the interplay of status-specific legislation, civic, religious and human rights education, amongst others, as necessary tools for sustainable protection of life and dignity of albinos in Nigeria and parts of West Africa.  

 

Introduction

 

East and southern Africa have rightly been cited as popular destinations for extreme forms of culture-rooted segregation and abuse of albinos and sometimes, their relatives.[1] However, albinos in West Africa also face diverse forms of abuse, human rights violations and psychological hurt imbued in African mythology.[2] Using Nigeria as a case study, this paper underlines negative African mythology-rooted attitude to albinism and albinos such as physical violence, denial of socio-political benefits, psychological hurt and in extreme cases, murder. It posits that such discrimination and abuses violate the rights to life and dignity of albinos. It finally makes suggestions for addressing these archaic anomalies, particularly in furtherance of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 16, that is, the promotion of peace, justice and strong institutions through inclusiveness in society, accountability and access to justice for all.[3]

 

For the avoidance of doubt, this paper adopts the definition of Discrimination as:

 

    “Any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on any ground such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status, and which has the effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by all persons, on an equal footing, of all rights and freedoms.”[4]

 

Albinos and Albinism

 

Albinos are persons with defects in human pigmentation, the commonest of which is the inherited oculocutaneous albinism (OCA).[5] These defects which occur from birth[6] usually affect their skin,[7] eyes and hair texture,[8] and sometimes necessitates blurred or impaired vision[9]  due to greater disadvantage to adverse health effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR).[10]  Albinism has thus, been rightly defined as a condition inherited from birth as a result of the lack of melanin pigment which usually changes the colour of the skin, eyes and hair.[11]

 

Albinism Among Black Africans

 

Albinism is acclaimed to be a natural and universal human tendency[12] which cuts across world populations in varied proportions.[13] However, it is speculated, albeit unconfirmed by data, that the frequency of this condition is higher in black-skinned people than white-skinned people.[14] Some scholars also posit that African albinos, including Nigerian albinos[15] are prone to skin cancer[16] and vulnerable to a shortened life span.[17] Negative tags such as these, possibly explain why albinos are often not just considered naturally and spiritually different but also treated ‘differently’ in parts of Nigeria, West Africa and most of sub-Saharan Africa.

 

Nonetheless, that Africans are more prone to albinism than whites remain speculative because according to Fayoyin and Ihebuzor,[18] even outside Africa, organisations exist which are dedicated to promoting albinism awareness, appropriate care and proper medical assistance including sun protection facilities for albinos.[19]

Attitude to Albinos and Albinism in African Socio-Cultural Mythology

 

The African Mythology represents the African attitude to the unseen divine.[20] It reflects the people’s ancestral socio-cultural beliefs especially in relation to themselves inter se and intra their ‘unseen’ gods. This underscores widespread African belief in their ancestors as formidable spiritual forces for determining social structures.[21]

 

Although albinism is a condition inherited from birth as a result of the lack of melanin pigment which usually changes the colour of the skin, eyes and hair, in the mythology of most African communities,[22] it is usually greeted with resentment, stigma and prejudice[23] which sometimes extend to the parents of the albinos. [24]

 

African mythology considered albinos as being naturally and spiritually ‘different’ from the rest of humankind. They are usually perceived in diverse terms, most of which are derogatory, demeaning and negative. While some consider albinism as a divine “curse”, others view albinos as unique and extraordinary spirit-beings or divine spirits who possess special healing powers.[25]

 

For instance, in a survey on the cause of albinism carried out in Zimbabwe, using 138 school children with albinism (averagely aged 14.4 years old) as respondents,[26] found that 70 (50.7%) of them had no knowledge of why they lacked skin coloration and were different from their classmates. 15 (10.9%) said it was due to biological factors, 19 (13.8%) believed it was an act of God, while 13 (9.4%) stated other incorrect causes, such as punishment for a family member mocking an albino, witchery, and “top layer of skin missing”.[27] Other misconceptions regarding the cause of albinism include the belief that the devil replaced the African child with an albino or that the mother was impregnated by a white man.[28] Other scholars also found that even educated albino women never get employed for jobs in Zimbabwe for fear that albinism is contagious and “employers always said, more or less, during the interview that an albino secretary would hurt the company’s reputation.”[29]

 

In countries like Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and South Africa, albinos are usually kidnapped and even killed for ritual purposes.[30] In the Great Lakes district of East Africa particularly, persistent violence against albinos, though common but under-reported,[31] is often induced by strong negative superstition linked to witchcraft.[32] Thus, body parts and vital organs of albinos are sometimes harvested and used for preparing special spiritual charms[33] and magic medicines.[34] Some African cultures even deride persons with albinism as having their own pungent unique “smell” which is so offensive that if one sits next to an albino, one will “smell so bad that others will vomit”.[35] In some isolated cases, however, people with albinism have received social support from dedicated NGOs.[36] Nonetheless, the intrusions practiced on albinos as culturally designated objects have not diminished.[37]

 

An advocacy report Through Albino Eyes published by the International Federation of Red Cross/Red Crescent in Tanzania provided a qualitative perspective on the plight of albinos in East Africa.[38] It stated that at least 10,000 albinos were unable to study, trade or cultivate their land for fear of hunters hired by big money traders and witch doctors to harvest albino body parts for witchcraft.[39] The contention is therefore true that “the murders, amputations and trafficking in body parts of persons with albinism in parts of East and southern Africa is an affront to the dignity and sanctity of the human body as guaranteed under international human rights law.”[40]

 

In parts of West Africa, including Nigeria, albinos also suffer varying forms (albeit in less degrees of violence) of discrimination and violation of rights. For instance, in the mythology of the Yoruba tribe of South West Nigeria, albinos are described by the derogatory terminology of Afin or eni-orisa, that is, “one who belongs to the deity.”[41] In certain cases, they are denied and deprived of essential amenities such as education, employment and other basic life provisions which are instead reserved exclusively for the free born.[42] A study of l000 African albinos in Nigeria showed that negative societal attitude due to insufficient understanding forced albinos to undertake menial outdoor work.[43]

 

Ancient mythology of the Ibos of South East Nigeria before the coming of Christian missionaries and the introduction of Christianity, also considered albinism, like the birth of twins, as sacrilegious and abominable.[44] In those early times albinos were killed at birth and twins were abandoned in the forest to die.[45] Their mothers were sometimes sacrificed to the ‘gods’ as communal apology and for cleansing the land of the abomination[46] because Africans at that time saw no reason why African parents endowed with natural black skin could give birth to a “yellow” or “white” child, or how a pregnancy to produce more than one child.

 

However, with the theological encounter of Christianity with ancient mythology of the Ibos of South East Nigeria, the birth of twins became accepted as a glorious blessing from Almighty God. Albinos too were no longer considered or treated ‘differently’ with regards to interpersonal relationships, allocation or enjoyment of social, cultural and religious privileges and amenities as well as political rights to dignity and life.[47] The worst treatment albinos receive today among the Ibos of South Eastern Nigeria, is being called ‘unfortunate Europeans’ especially by their peers in school, because of their perceived “excess” fair complexions and in some cases, blurred vision due to extreme sensitivity to sunlight,[48] just the same way the Hausas of Northern Nigeria call them Bature Ntuda, meaning “fake white man”.[49] 

 

Thus far, it is certain that the stigma and atrocities affecting the albino population in sub-Saharan Africa may rather be attributed to ignorance and lack of familiarity and sufficient education about albinism.[50]

 

Violation of Life and Dignity of Albinos in Nigeria and Parts of West Africa

 

The stigmatization, racial discrimination, dehumanization and general affront to life and dignity of albinos which is rooted in African cultural mythology and prevalent in East Africa,[51] and Southern Africa  also occur in Nigeria[52] as well as parts of West Africa[53] including, Burkina Faso, Guinea,[54] Sierra Leone,  Ghana[55] and Ivory Coast,[56] albeit in diverse proportions.

 

In Nigeria, the most common cases of stigmatization, violence and psychological hurt against albinos occur among the Yoruba of South West Nigeria where local mythology promote the belief that albinos belong to deities and may equally be used for rituals.[57] Among the Ibos of South East Nigeria, the stigmatization of albinos is not popular except that in some social settings, albinos are scornfully called “unfortunate Europeans” or “fake white men”.[58] Malians similarly describe persons with albinism by the term gomblé or gombolé, which literally means “red monkey”.[59]

 

Interestingly, in Southern Africa, referring to a person by the term 'albino' is not considered derogatory, but in the West, the term 'person with albinism' is preferred to the term 'albino'.[60] This is because ‘albino’ puts the condition before the person while 'person with albinism' puts the person before the condition.[61]

 

In some cases, unfortunately, the segregation of albino children prevents them from attending school in parts of Africa.[62] For instance, at the first International Albinism Awareness Day held in Accra, by The Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism (GAPA) in June 2015, some of the placards raised by members read: 'Persons with albinism are human beings'; 'Send children with albinism to school'; 'Say no to societal prejudice’; and 'Albinism is not a curse'.[63]

 

Suffice to say that in West, East and southern Africa, albinos suffer varying degrees of humiliation and abuse which constitute gross violation to their rights to life and dignity. These violations include, but not limited to stigmatisation,[64] discrimination,[65] isolation, psychological harm,[66]  physical abuse and broad violation of human rights.[67] In some extreme cases, albino children are killed at birth or abandoned to die.[68]

 

It is however, noteworthy that unlike in East and southern Africa, the kidnapping and killing of albinos for organ harvest or rituals are not prevalent, but rather an emerging form of organised crime of human trafficking in Nigeria[69] and possibly, other parts of West Africa.

 

Albino Rights in International Human Rights Law

 

There is no international instrument for the specific protection of the right to life, dignity or non-discrimination of albinos. This is the bane of albino protection in international human rights law. However, contemporary international human rights law seeks to promote, respect, protect and guarantee the rights to life and dignity of all persons and minorities, obviously including albinos.[70] These protections fall within the contemplation of Goal No.16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), that is, peace, justice and strong institutions which seek to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development” and provide access to justice for all and and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.[71] And as rightly posited, social justice is the core development goal of sustainable development.[72]

 

Some of the human rights instruments which enshrine the equality, respect and protection of the rights of all persons and minorities but without specific mention of albinos include the Universal Declaration on Human Rights 1948, the Convention on the Rights of the Child 1989, International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination, [73] the Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights 1986,[74] the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 1992,[75] the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) 1966.

Part of the Preamble to the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination succinctly captures the unacceptability of racial discrimination (invariably including discrimination against persons with albinism) within the comity of nations thus:

“Convinced that any doctrine of superiority based on racial differentiation is scientifically false, morally condemnable, socially unjust and dangerous, and that there is no justification for racial discrimination, in theory or in practice, anywhere,

Reaffirming that discrimination between human beings on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic origin is an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations among nations and is capable of disturbing peace and security among peoples and the harmony of persons living side by side even within one and the same State,

Convinced that the existence of racial barriers is repugnant to the ideals of any human society,

Alarmed by manifestations of racial discrimination still in evidence in some areas of the world and by governmental policies based on racial superiority or hatred, such as policies of apartheid, segregation or separation,

Resolved to adopt all necessary measures for speedily eliminating racial discrimination in all its forms and manifestations, and to prevent and combat racist doctrines and practices in order to promote understanding between races and to build an international community free from all forms of racial segregation and racial discrimination.”[76]

Chapter 1, Article 1.3 of the UN Charter express the purposes and principles of the United Nations to include the quest “to achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural, or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to race, sex, language, or religion.”[77]

More specifically, its Article 1.2 provides that one of the purposes and principles of the United Nations is to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace.[78]

Articles 2.1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides inter alia,  for equal protection of the law "without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status."[79] Its Article 26 equally “prohibit any discrimination and guarantee to all persons equal and effective protection against discrimination on any ground such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.”[80]  In its Preamble, the said ICCPR also recognizes the inherent dignity, equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family as the foundation of freedom, justice and peace worldwide and that “these rights derive from the inherent dignity of the human person.[81]

Albinos are also covered by the various protection provided under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Preamble to the said ICESCR recognise, among others, that cultural and socio- economic rights are inseparable from the “inherent dignity of the human person” and that the enjoyment of the right and freedom against fear and want is only be achievable if conditions exists for enjoying of economic, socio-cultural, political and civil rights.”[82]

Under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), especially Articles 1 and 5 thereof, “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’ and ‘no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”[83]

Unfortunately, albino abuse and discrimination continue to strive irrespective of the blanket provisions and status-neutral language of these international instruments. It is thus, worthwhile that albinos, alongside other minorities, vulnerable, abused or segregated races,[84] ought to be considered as a “race” deserving of status-specific legislative protection within the contemplation of international human rights law.

Albino Rights in Nigerian Domestic Law

 

No domestic legislation or other international legal instrument applicable in Nigeria offer specific protection of the rights and dignity of albinos or persons with albinism. However, every form of abuse and discrimination against albinos, particularly stigmatisation, the killing, maiming and trafficking in body parts of persons with albinism is an affront to human sanctity and dignity guaranteed in general domestic and international human rights law.[85]

 

For instance, section 33 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) guarantees the right to life and accordingly “no one shall be deprived intentionally of his life, save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence of which he has been found guilty in Nigeria.”[86]

Its section 34 (1) (a) guarantees the right and respect for the dignity of person, and that prohibits the infliction of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment on any person.[87]

In its section 41 (1) the said constitution guarantees the right of every citizen of Nigeria to move freely within Nigeria and to reside in any of its part according to his pleasing.[88]

 

The inviolability of human beings and the guarantee of life and dignity of all persons (which obviously include albinos) are also secured by Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1986,[89] thus: “Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily deprived of this right.” [90]

 

Its Article 2 is directly imperative to the protection of albinos against non-discrimination. The said Article 2 states thus:

 

“Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the right and freedom recognized and guaranteed in the present charter without distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national or social origin, fortune, birth or other status.”[91]

 

By Section 42 (1) (a) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution,

 

“A citizen of Nigeria of a particular community, ethnic group, place of origin, sex, religion or political opinion shall not, by reason only that he is such a person be subjected either expressly by, or in the practical application of, any law in force in Nigeria or any executive or administrative action of the government, to disabilities or restrictions to which citizens of Nigeria of other communities, ethnic groups, places of origin, sex, religions or political opinions are not made subject.”[92]

 

This paper argues that the tripartite nature of the Nigerian legal system whereby civil law, customary law and religious law apply simultaneously qualify customary law (which is often considered as the basis of socio-cultural mythology) as part of “any law in force” within the contemplation of section 42(1) (a) above. Consequently, albinos should be treated as a ‘community’ and protected hereunder. Unfortunately, this fact makes it quite difficult to harmonise or eliminate most discriminatory socio-cultural mythologies and religious practices which violate the rights to life and dignity of albinos and vulnerable groups.

 

Furthermore, section 42 (2) of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) prohibits every deprivation or disability on any citizen of Nigeria “merely by reason of the circumstances of his birth.”[93] And without doubt, albinism has been medically and scientifically shown to be a natural circumstance of birth which cuts across race, creed or religion.[94] Persons with albinism are also deemed protected hereunder, albeit, not specifically mentioned.

 

It is therefore unlawful in the Nigerian jurisprudence to deny albinos the enjoyment of education and other social benefits, or to kidnap them, kill them or harvest their body parts for rituals, magical powers or any purpose whatsoever. It is equally unlawful to discriminate against them or intimidate them into living in fear or prevent them from residing freely in any part of Nigeria.

Consequently, every act or omission, albeit rooted in African socio-cultural or religious mythology which inflict or promote injury, hate, indignity, intimidation, discrimination or death against albinos and persons with albinism in Nigeria amount to are condemnable and actionable constitutional breaches.

 

 

 

Recommendations for Sustainable Protection of Albinos in Nigeria

 

The quest for sustainable guarantee of life and dignity of albinos and persons living with albinism in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa require the dynamic interplay of religious, political, socio-cultural and legal stakeholders, as well as media (including social media), NGOs, civil society and grassroots advocacy/activism, to say the least.

 

Although no relevant fundamental rights provision of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution or any other subsisting legislation, or any regional or international instrument applicable in Nigeria, make any specific mention of albinos with regards to none discrimination or protection of life and dignity, no reasonable argument can be offered to suggest that albinos are or may be excluded from enjoying the rights and protections guaranteed thereunder. This paper, however, suggests that the relevant fundamental rights provisions in the Nigerian Constitution and other relevant legislation on equality, life, dignity and non-discrimination applicable in the country be amended so that albinos are specifically mentioned, for according to Olagunju, albinos have a right to life and should be treated equally like non-pigmented persons everywhere.[95]

 

Such amendment will substantially resolve the existing constitutional lacuna in Nigeria which also exists in Tanzania where, in spite of protections listed in Articles 12-16 of the Bill of Rights in the 1977 Constitution of Tanzania, “little has been done to make sure that such provisions protect the rights of Albino people in Tanzania.” [96] 

 

The amendment will also bring albino issues, specifically, to the fore of domestic and international discuss, just as in the case of the child-specific 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child which eventually led to the enactment of the Child Rights Act, 2003 in Nigeria. [97]

 

In the same way, agitations for special and particular human rights protection for women led to the introduction of some women-specific international instruments in spite of existing gender-neutral human rights instruments.[98] Some of the most popular women-specific international instruments include the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995,[99]  the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW),[100] the UN Vienna Declaration and programme of Action, 1993,[101] African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, 2003[102] and especially the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (also known as the Maputo Protocol).[103]

This paper therefore recommends that the following status-specific legal instruments be introduced to facilitate sustainable protection of life and dignity of albinos: UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Persons With Albinism (CEDAPWA), UN Convention on the Rights of Albinos (CRA), African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Albinos in Africa, as well as Albino Rights Act in Nigeria. Similar suggestions made by feminists and women rights advocates culminated in the enactment of a number of gender-specific domestic legislation and international instruments which form part of Nigeria’s current human rights jurisprudence.[104]

 

This paper further suggests that the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, 1992 be amended by protocol to specifically include albinos as a racial/ethnic minority within the contemplation of the Declaration.[105] However, prior to the implementation of the above suggested recommendation for status-specific international instruments for the protection of albinos, the Nigerian government and courts should exert the political will and judicial activism for applying the already existing status-neutral international human rights instruments towards the protection of albinos. Such activism must overlook the dualist approach to treaty enforcement whereby international law is considered a separate form of law which is inferior to municipal law, and must first be domesticated into a local legislation in accordance with Section 12 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution before they become applicable and compelling in the Nigerian courts.[106]

Relevant Governments should also take bold procedural and legal steps to address this problem by decisively investigating, arresting and prosecuting all perpetrators and/or collaborators of such attacks, no matter how highly placed, through the judicial process. Such initiative has been put in place in Malawi. [107]

 

Additionally, courts and judicial tribunals in Nigeria and elsewhere in West Africa should also give courageous and generous interpretation of constitutional or legislative provisions where discrimination, kidnap, killing or other violation of dignity or life of persons with albinism is in issue, irrespective of any possible argument or constitutional lacuna to the contrary.

 

It may also be worthwhile for Nigerian governments to set up robust constitutional mechanisms for supervising and coordinating the implementation of relevant legislation for human rights protection, even though in Tanzania where such agency exists, albino abuse remain popular due to laxity and corruption of such government institutions.[108]

 

Core religious, community and traditional rulers who are the major custodians of the conscience, morals, traditions and native customs of the people should participate in awareness campaigns for the social acceptance and tolerance of albinos in their various communities. This will necessitate proper understanding of albinism, right false myths and orientation surrounding albinism, socio-cultural inclusion of persons with albinism, as well as the steady elimination of violence and discriminations against albinos, especially on the basis of African mythology and superstition.

 

The effectiveness of this drive will, however, involve the proactive participation of other stakeholders such as governments, media (including social media), civil society organisations, school teachers and pupils, NGOs, lawyers, trade unions, prominent activists, medical practitioners, the police, the courts, town unions, traditional healers, local magicians, farmers and hunters. Above all, government must ensure that in the present circumstance, pending implementation of these suggested recommendations, albino abusers, especially the kidnappers, hunters and their sponsors are swiftly prosecuted to the full extent of justice.

 

Without such broad interplay of stakeholder commitments, it will be difficult to create positive attitudinal change of realistic non-discrimination and guarantee of rights to life and dignity of albinos and persons living with albinism in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. As Olowu rightly posited, the struggle for human rights will be won or lost at the national level.[109] Therefore, protecting the rights and dignity of minorities and disabled persons, particularly albinos, is a desperate challenge for sub-Saharan African countries where neglect and failure to prioritize disability rights is common, albeit, the adoption of the African Women’s Protocol in 2003 was a progressive step with respect to women’s rights.[110]   The African human rights system was also derided as the least developed within the comity of regional systems,[111] albeit this allegation has been challenged,[112] and rightly said to be capable of denying Africa’s other contribution to the growth of international human rights law.[113]

 

Imperatively too, since the violation of albino rights is known to be prominent among developing African countries, the international diplomatic community, especially the developed western nations, may as well tackle this menace by the threat or actual imposition of economic and other sanctions on such erring countries. This method will be impactful because most sub-Saharan African countries are developing nations who conventionally look up to the developed western world as well as international donor organisations for social, financial, military, infrastructural and other strategic developmental support.

 

Conclusion

 

Albinism is a natural circumstance of birth which often causes skin and hair discoloration, UVR sensitivity and sometimes vision impairment.[114] The mythology of most sub-Saharan African countries including Nigeria and parts of West Africa, view albinos with superstition and suspicion which necessitates discrimination and violation of rights to life and dignity of these albinos (and even their parents), contrary to applicable domestic and international human rights law.[115] This underscores the scholarly conclusion that the murder and mutilation of people with albinism in Africa is an unprecedented crisis of human rights which impairs the welfare of the albino population across all areas of life.[116]

 

The discrimination and violation of albino rights to life and dignity based on socio-cultural mythology have, however, been seen to be more severe in East and southern Africa than in West Africa.[117] In any case, they also contradict the core essence of the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 16, that is, peace, justice, equality and inclusiveness.[118]

 

The quest for addressing this discrimination and violation require social re-orientation and enlightenment on albinism, enactment of status-specific local legislation and international instruments, as well as judicial activism, coupled with active interplay of core stakeholders within government, civil society, and the immediate communities where these violative myths are respected and practiced.

 

 

 

References

 

International Treaties and Conventions

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. https://uniteforreprorights.org/resources/iccpr-general-comment-no-18-non-discrimination/(17/2/2018).

 

Official Documents and Guidance

Government of Malawi “Handbook for investigators, prosecutors and magistrates concerning offences against persons with albinism” of December 2, 2016.

Peace, Justice and strong institutions: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (17 Goals to Transform Our World). http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/peace-justice/(17/2/2018).

Unite For Reproductive Rights ICCPR General Comment No. 18”.

 

Nigerian Domestic Law

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). www.nigeria-law.org/ConstitutionOfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria.htm (19/2/2018).

Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

 

Books

Kane, I. (2008). Protecting the rights of minorities in Africa: A guide for human rights activists and civil society organizations: Minority Rights Group International.

Olomojobi, Y. (2013). Human Rights on Gender, Sex and the Law in Nigeria. Princeton & Associates Publishing Co. Ltd, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.  

Olowu, D. (2009). An Integrative Rights-Based Approach to Human Development in Africa: Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press.

Salewi, D. H. (2011). The killing of persons with albinism in Tanzania: A social-legal inquiry. (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)), University of Pretoria, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.  

Steiner, H. J., Alston, P., & Goodman, R. (2008). International human rights in context: law, politics, morals: text and materials: Oxford University Press, USA.

 

Journal Articles

Aquaron, R., Djatou, M., & Kamdem, L. (2009). Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). Medecine tropicale: revue du Corps de sante colonial, 69(5), 449-453

Baker, C. (2008). Writing over the illness: the symbolic representation of albinism. Social studies of health, illness and disease: perspectives from the social sciences, eds. PL Twohig and V. Kalitzkus, 115-128.

Baker, C., Lund, P., Nyathi, R., & Taylor, J. (2010). The myths surrounding people with albinism in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 22(2), 169-181.

Banton, M. (2015). United Nations. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination / Beyond discrimination: racial inequality in a postracist era. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(13), 2396-2398.

Barnicot, N. (1953). Albinism in South-Western Nigeria. Annals of Human Genetics, 18(1), 38-73.

Bastian, M. L. (2001). "The demon superstition": Abominable twins and mission culture in Onitsha history. Ethnology, 13-27.

Beckman, P. J., Abera, N., Sabella, T., Podzimek, K., & Joseph, L. (2016). From Rights to Realities: Confronting the Challenge of Educating Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries. Global Education Review, 3(3), 4-27.

Benyah, F. (2017). Equally able, differently looking: discrimination and physical violence against persons with albinism in Ghana. Journal for the Study of Religion, 30(1), 161-188.

Bertolotti, A., Lasseaux, E., Plaisant, C., Trimouille, A., MoricePicard, F., Rooryck, C., . . . Arveiler, B. (2016). Identification of a homozygous mutation of SLC24A5 (OCA6) in two patients with oculocutaneous albinism from French Guiana. Pigment cell & melanoma research, 29(1), 104-106.

Braathen, S. H., & Ingstad, B. (2006). Albinism in Malawi: knowledge and beliefs from an African setting. Disability & Society, 21(6), 599-611.

Bryceson, D. F., Jønsson, J. B., & Sherrington, R. (2010). Miners' magic: artisanal mining, the albino fetish and murder in Tanzania. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 48(3), 353-382.

Burke, J. (2013). Media framing of violence against Tanzanians with albinism in the Great Lakes region: A matter of culture, crime, poverty and human rights. Australasian Review of African Studies, The, 34(2), 57.

Carnegie, C. V. (1996). The dundus and the nation. Cultural Anthropology, 11(4), 470-509.

Clarke, S., & Beale, J. (2018). Albinism and Social Marginalization. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 257-270).

Creel, D., O'Donnell, F. E., & Witkop, C. J. (1978). Visual system anomalies in human ocular albinos. Science, 201(4359), 931-933.

Cross, R. (2009). "Through Albino Eyes: the plight of albino people in Africa’s Great Lakes Region and a Red Cross response." Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

Ezeilo, B. N. (1989). Psychological aspects of albinism: an exploratory study with Nigerian (Igbo) albino subjects. Social Science & Medicine, 29(9), 1129-1131.

Fayoyin, A., & Ihebuzor, N. (2014). Advocacy for Minorities in Africa: Issues and lessons in Advancing the Rights of Albinos in Tanzania and Osus in Nigeria. Asia Pacific Journal of Research Vol: I Issue XVII.

Fitzpatrick, T. B., Pathak, M. A., Magnus, I. A., & Curwen, W. L. (1963). Abnormal reactions of man to light. Annual review of medicine, 14(1), 195-214.

George, A. (1988). Skin Diseases in Tropical Africa. International journal of dermatology, 27(3), 187-189.

Healey, N., McLoone, E., Saunders, K. J., Jackson, A. J., & McClelland, J. F. (2014). Are worldwide albinism prevalence figures an accurate reflection? An incidental finding from a Northern Ireland study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 98(7), 990-990.

Hong, E. S., Zeeb, H., & Repacholi, M. H. (2006). Albinism in Africa as a public health issue. BMC Public Health, 6(1), 212.

Ibenwa, C. N. (2014). Influences of Christian Religion on African Traditional Religion and Value System. world, 4(9).

Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). ‘We thought we will be safe here’: Narratives of Tanzanian Albinos in Kenya and South-Africa. African Research Review, 9(4), 37-54.

Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(2), 189-208.

Imperato, G. H. and P. J. Imperato (2006). "Beliefs and practices concerning twins, hermaphrodites, and albinos among the Bamana and Maninka of Mali." Journal of community health 31(3): 198-224.

Jablonski, N. G., & Chaplin, G. (2014). The evolution of skin pigmentation and hair texture in people of African ancestry. Dermatologic clinics, 32(2), 113-121.

Jell-Bahlsen, S. (2014). The dialectics of Igbo and Christian Religion in contemporary Nigeria. Interface between Igbo theology and christianity, 51-65.

Jemiriye, T. F. (2014). African Concept of god. Perspectives in Religious Studies: Volume I, 1, 57.

King, R. A., Creel, D., Arvenka, J., Okoro, A. N., & Witkop, C. J. (1980). Albinism in Nigeria with delineation of new recessive oculocutaneous type. Clinical genetics, 17(4), 259-270.

Kinnear, P., Jay, B., & Witkop, C. (1985). Albinism. Survey of ophthalmology, 30(2), 75-101.

Kiprono, S. K., Chaula, B. M., & Beltraminelli, H. (2014). Histological review of skin cancers in African Albinos: a 10-year retrospective review. BMC cancer, 14(1), 157.

Kittles, R. (1995). Nature, origin, and variation of human pigmentation. Journal of Black Studies, 26(1), 36-61.

Kromberg, J., & Jenkins, T. (1997). Cultural influences on the perception of genetic disorders in the black population of Southern Africa Culture, kinship and genes (pp. 147-157): Springer.

Kuster, R. (2000). White Skin, Black Souls. New African, 382, 40-41.

Langhelle, O. (2000). "Sustainable development and social justice: expanding the Rawlsian framework of global justice." Environmental Values 9(3): 295-323.

Lund, P. M. (2001). Health and Education of Children with Albinism in Zimbabwe Health Education Research.(16), 1-7.

Lund, P. M., & Roberts, M. (2018). Prevalence and Population Genetics of Albinism: Surveys in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tanzania. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 81-98).

Murray, B. H. (2015). Albinism in Africa: A Medical and Social Emergency. International Health, 7, 223-225.

Nwankwo, E. A., & Agboeze, M. U. (2016). Safety Issues at Selected Shrines/Sacred Groves in Eastern Nigeria. International Journal of Asia Social Science, 6(1), 80-92.

Oakford, S. (2014). Fuelled by superstition, people are violently attacking lbinos in Tanzania. Vice News, 27.

Okoro, A. (1975). Albinism in Nigeria:a clinical and social study. British Journal of Dermatology, 92(5), 485-492.

Okulicz, J., Shah, R., Schwartz, R., & Janniger, C. (2003). Oculocutaneous albinism. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 17(3), 251-256.

Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1), 46-58.

Oyewole, S. (2016). Kidnapping for Rituals: Article of Faith and Insecurity in Nigeria. Journal of Pan African Studies, 9(9), 35-53.

Rahman, M. A. (2011). Human trafficking in the era of globalization: The case of trafficking in the global market economy. Transcience Journal, 2(1), 54-71.

Salewi, D. H. (2011). The killing of persons with albinism in Tanzania: A social-legal inquiry. (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) ), University of Pretoria, Centre For Human Rights, University of Pretoria.  

Sanusi, B. O. (2013). Faith, Religion and Communication: The Communication Pattern in Traditional African Religion. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 2(11).

Simona, B. E. (2004). Albinos in Black Africa. International journal of dermatology (43), 618–621.

Stevens, G., Ramsay, M., & Jenkins, T. (1997). Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA2) in sub-Saharan Africa: distribution of the common 2.7-kb P gene deletion mutation. Human genetics, 99(4), 523-527.

Tanner, R. (2010). Ideology and the killing of albinos in Tanzania: A study in cultural relativities. Anthropologist, 12(4), 229-236.

Uchendu, V. C. (1976). Ancestorcide! Are African Ancestors Dead? Ancestors, 283.

Van Reenen, T. P., & Combrinck, H. (2011). The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa: Progress after 5 Years. SUR-Int'l J. on Hum Rts., 14, 133.

Viljoen, F. (1998). Supra-national human rights instruments for the protection of children in Africa: The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Comparative & International Law Journal of Southern Africa, Pretoria, 33, 199.

Weiwei, L. (2004). Equality and Non-Discrimination Under International Human Rights Law. Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Research Notes, 3.

Wiafe-akenten, B. C. (2016). Disharmony in diversity: Traditional beliefs, attitudes and stigmatization of persons living with albinism in Ghana. International Journal of Psychology, 51, 438.

Williams, S. E. (2018). Albinism and the Eye. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 135-149.

Witkop, C. J. (1989). Albinism. Clinics in dermatology, 7(2), 80-91.

Wright, C. Y., Norval, M., & Hertle, R. W. (2015). Oculocutaneous Albinism in SubSaharan Africa: adverse sunassociated health effects and photoprotection. Photochemistry and photobiology, 91(1), 27-32.

Yoboue, P., Sangare, A., Kaloga, M., Kouadio, A., & Djedje, M. (2005). Epidemiologic and etiologic features of pigmentation disorders observed during consultation at the Dermatology Center of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. International journal of dermatology, 44(s1), 33-34.

 

Internet and News Sources

Albinism Fellowship United Kingdom: http://www.albinism.org.uk/; Albinism Fellowship of Australia: http://www.albinismaustralia.org/ (23/11/2017).

Albinism Trust New Zealand: http://www.albinism.org.nz/home.html (23/11/2017).

BaiChina (Kids from China with Albinism): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baichina/; (23/11/2017).

Chicago Connection for Minorities with Albinism (CCM): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOAH_CCMA/ (23/11/2017).

Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and. Linguistic Minorities. Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992. www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuideMinoritiesDeclarationen.pdf (19/2/2018).

Fourth World Conference on Women, 15 September 1995. A/CONF. 177/20 (1995) and A/CONF. 177/20/Add. 1 (1995). See University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instree/bejingmnu.htm (20/2/2018).

Norwegian Association for Albinism (NFFA): http://www.albinisme.no/;(23/11/2017) (23/11/2017).

Ntinda, R. N. (2010). Customary practices and children with albinism in Namibia: A constitutional challenge? : http://www.kas.de/upload/auslandshomepages/namibia/Children_Rights/Children_n.pdf (31/8/2017).

Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on The Rights of Women in Africa http://www.achpr.org/files/instruments/women-protocol/achpr_instr_proto_women_eng.pdf (20/2/2018). The Protocol was adopted by the African Union on July 11, 2003 at its second summit in Maputo, Mozambique. The Protocol which entered into force on November 25, 2005.

The Charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945. www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/ ; http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/ (19/2/2018).

The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/cedaw.pdf (20/2/2018).

The Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) Network: http://www.hpsnetwork.org/ (23/11/2017).

The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965. It came
into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19. www.supremecourt.ge/files/upload-file/pdf/act6.pdf (18/2/2018).

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966. Its Optional Protocol was Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966 https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/.../volume-999-i-14668-english.pdf (18/2/2018).

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and it entered into force on 3 January 1976, in accordance with article 27.www.who.int/hhr/Economic_social_cultural.pdf (18/2/2018).

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948 is a milestone document in the history of human rights as it sets out, for the first time, a global template for universal protection of fundamental human rights. It was adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December. 1948, at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (18/2/2018).

Thuku, M. (2011). Myths, discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. Amnesty International editorial review on Special Programme on Africa https://albinismawareness.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Calls-for-special-Right-to-People-with-Albinism-Report.pdf (31/8/2017).

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), No. 16 https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2016/goal-16/ (17/2/2018).

Wiete, W. (2012). Life of albinos in East Africa threatened: A most bizarre and dramatic consequence of having a skin colour disease. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=5259819394749941146&hl=en&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5 (12/11/2017).

 



[1] Aquaron, R., Djatou, M., & Kamdem, L. (2009). Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). Medecine tropicale: revue du Corps de sante colonial, 69(5), 449-453; Thuku, M. (2011). Myths, discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. Amnesty International editorial review on Special Programme on Africa https://albinismawareness.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Calls-for-special-Right-to-People-with-Albinism-Report.pdf (31/8/2017).

[2] Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[3] Peace, Justice and strong institutions: United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (17 Goals to Transform Our World). http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/peace-justice/(17/2/2018).

[4] See Unite For Reproductive Rights ICCPR General Comment No. 18: Non-discrimination”, which recognizes and provides more guidance on the interpretation of discrimination in Article 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966. https://uniteforreprorights.org/resources/iccpr-general-comment-no-18-non-discrimination/(17/2/2018). See also Weiwei, L. (2004). Equality and Non-Discrimination Under International Human Rights Law. Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, Research Notes, 3.

[5] King, R. A., Creel, D., Arvenka, J., Okoro, A. N., & Witkop, C. J. (1980). Albinism in Nigeria with delineation of new recessive oculocutaneous type. Clinical genetics, 17(4), 259-270.

[6] Okulicz, J., Shah, R., Schwartz, R., & Janniger, C. (2003). Oculocutaneous albinism. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 17(3), 251-256.

[7] Kiprono, S. K., Chaula, B. M., & Beltraminelli, H. (2014). Histological review of skin cancers in African Albinos: a 10-year retrospective review. BMC cancer, 14(1), 157.

[8] Kinnear, P., Jay, B., & Witkop, C. (1985). Albinism. Survey of ophthalmology, 30(2), 75-101; Witkop, C. J. (1989). Albinism. Clinics in dermatology, 7(2), 80-91; Jablonski, N. G., & Chaplin, G. (2014). The evolution of skin pigmentation and hair texture in people of African ancestry. Dermatologic clinics, 32(2), 113-121.

[9] Creel, D., O'Donnell, F. E., & Witkop, C. J. (1978). Visual system anomalies in human ocular albinos. Science, 201(4359), 931-933.

[10] Wright, C. Y., Norval, M., & Hertle, R. W. (2015). Oculocutaneous Albinism in SubSaharan Africa: adverse sunassociated health effects and photoprotection. Photochemistry and photobiology, 91(1), 27-32.

[11] Murray, B. H. (2015). Albinism in Africa: A Medical and Social Emergency. International Health, 7, 223-225; Benyah, F. (2017). Equally able, differently looking: discrimination and physical violence against persons with albinism in Ghana. Journal for the Study of Religion, 30(1), 161-188.

[12] George, A. (1988). Skin Diseases in Tropical Africa. International journal of dermatology, 27(3), 187-189.

[13] Healey, N., McLoone, E., Saunders, K. J., Jackson, A. J., & McClelland, J. F. (2014). Are worldwide albinism prevalence figures an accurate reflection? An incidental finding from a Northern Ireland study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 98(7), 990-990.

[14] Barnicot, N. (1953). Albinism in South-Western Nigeria. Annals of Human Genetics, 18(1), 38-73.

[15] Okoro, A. (1975). Albinism in Nigeria:a clinical and social study. British Journal of Dermatology, 92(5), 485-492.

[16] Kiprono, S. K., Chaula, B. M., & Beltraminelli, H. (2014). Histological review of skin cancers in African Albinos: a 10-year retrospective review. BMC cancer, 14(1), 157.

[17] King, R. A., Creel, D., Arvenka, J., Okoro, A. N., & Witkop, C. J. (1980). Albinism in Nigeria with delineation of new recessive oculocutaneous type. Clinical genetics, 17(4), 259-270.

[18] Fayoyin, A., & Ihebuzor, N. (2014). Advocacy for Minorities in Africa: Issues and lessons in Advancing the Rights of Albinos in Tanzania and Osus in Nigeria. Asia Pacific Journal of Research Vol: I Issue XVII.

[19] Some of such organisations include: BaiChina (Kids from China with Albinism): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/baichina/; Albinism Fellowship United Kingdom: http://www.albinism.org.uk/; Albinism Fellowship of Australia: http://www.albinismaustralia.org/; Albinism Trust New Zealand: http://www.albinism.org.nz/home.html; Chicago Connection for Minorities with Albinism (CCM): http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HOAH_CCMA/; Norwegian Association for Albinism (NFFA): http://www.albinisme.no/;  The Hermansky-Pudlak Syndrome (HPS) Network: http://www.hpsnetwork.org/ (23/11/2017).

[20] Jemiriye, T. F. (2014). African Concept of god. Perspectives in Religious Studies: Volume I, 1, 57; Sanusi, B. O. (2013). Faith, Religion and Communication: The Communication Pattern in Traditional African Religion. International Journal of Innovative Research and Development, 2(11).

[21] Uchendu, V. C. (1976). Ancestorcide! Are African Ancestors Dead? Ancestors, 283.

[22] Murray, B. H. (2015). Albinism in Africa: A Medical and Social Emergency. International Health, 7, 223-225; Benyah, F. (2017). Equally able, differently looking: discrimination and physical violence against persons with albinism in Ghana. Journal for the Study of Religion, 30(1), 161-188.

[23] Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(2), 189-208; Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87; Braathen, S. H., & Ingstad, B. (2006). Albinism in Malawi: knowledge and beliefs from an African setting. Disability & Society, 21(6), 599-611; Baker, C., Lund, P., Nyathi, R., & Taylor, J. (2010). The myths surrounding people with albinism in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 22(2), 169-181.

[24] Aquaron, R., Djatou, M., & Kamdem, L. (2009). Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). Medecine tropicale: revue du Corps de sante colonial, 69(5), 449-453.

[25] Kittles, R. (1995). Nature, origin, and variation of human pigmentation. Journal of Black Studies, 26(1), 36-61.

[26] Lund, P. M. (2001). Health and Education of Children with Albinism in Zimbabwe Health Education Research.(16), 1-7.

[27] Lund, P. M. (2001). Health and Education of Children with Albinism in Zimbabwe, ibid.

[28] Simona, B. E. (2004). Albinos in Black Africa. International journal of dermatology (43), 618–621.

[29] Kuster, R. (2000). White Skin, Black Souls. New African, 382, 40-41; Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[30] Aquaron, R., Djatou, M., & Kamdem, L. (2009). Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). Medecine tropicale: revue du Corps de sante colonial, 69(5), 449-453; Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(2), 189-208.

[31] Burke, J. (2013). Media framing of violence against Tanzanians with albinism in the Great Lakes region: A matter of culture, crime, poverty and human rights. Australasian Review of African Studies, The, 34(2), 57.

[32] Oakford, S. (2014). Fuelled by superstition, people are violently attacking lbinos in Tanzania. Vice News, 27.

[33] Bryceson, D. F., Jønsson, J. B., & Sherrington, R. (2010). Miners' magic: artisanal mining, the albino fetish and murder in Tanzania. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 48(3), 353-382.

[34] Tanner, R. (2010). Ideology and the killing of albinos in Tanzania: A study in cultural relativities. Anthropologist, 12(4), 229-236.

[35] Ntinda, R. N. (2010). Customary practices and children with albinism in Namibia: A constitutional challenge? : http://www.kas.de/upload/auslandshomepages/namibia/Children_Rights/Children_n.pdf (31/8/2017).

[36] Hong, E. S., Zeeb, H., & Repacholi, M. H. (2006). Albinism in Africa as a public health issue. BMC Public Health, 6(1), 212.

[37] Carnegie, C. V. (1996). The dundus and the nation. Cultural Anthropology, 11(4), 470-509.

[38] Cross, R. (2009). "Through Albino Eyes: the plight of albino people in Africa’s Great Lakes Region and a Red Cross response." Geneva: International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[39] Fayoyin, A., & Ihebuzor, N. (2014). Advocacy for Minorities in Africa: Issues and lessons in Advancing the Rights of Albinos in Tanzania and Osus in Nigeria. Asia Pacific Journal of Research Vol: I Issue XVII.

[40] Thuku, M. (2011). Myths, discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. Amnesty International editorial review on Special Programme on Africa https://albinismawareness.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Calls-for-special-Right-to-People-with-Albinism-Report.pdf (31/8/2017).

[41] Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1), 46-58.

[42] Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1), 46-58.

[43] Okulicz, J., Shah, R., Schwartz, R., & Janniger, C. (2003). Oculocutaneous albinism. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, 17(3), 251-256.

[44] Bastian, M. L. (2001). "The demon superstition": Abominable twins and mission culture in Onitsha history. Ethnology, 13-27.

[45] Jell-Bahlsen, S. (2014). The dialectics of Igbo and Christian Religion in contemporary Nigeria. Interface between Igbo theology and christianity, 51-65.

[46] Nwankwo, E. A., & Agboeze, M. U. (2016). Safety Issues at Selected Shrines/Sacred Groves in Eastern Nigeria. International Journal of Asia Social Science, 6(1), 80-92.

[47] Ibenwa, C. N. (2014). Influences of Christian Religion on African Traditional Religion and Value System. world, 4(9).

[48] Fitzpatrick, T. B., Pathak, M. A., Magnus, I. A., & Curwen, W. L. (1963). Abnormal reactions of man to light. Annual review of medicine, 14(1), 195-214.

[49] Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1).

[50] Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[51] Aquaron, R., Djatou, M., & Kamdem, L. (2009). Sociocultural aspects of albinism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Mutilations and ritual murders committed in east Africa (Burundi and Tanzania). Medecine tropicale: revue du Corps de sante colonial, 69(5), 449-453; Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(2), 189-208.

[52] King, R. A., Creel, D., Arvenka, J., Okoro, A. N., & Witkop, C. J. (1980). Albinism in Nigeria with delineation of new recessive oculocutaneous type. Clinical genetics, 17(4), 259-270; Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[53] Stevens, G., Ramsay, M., & Jenkins, T. (1997). Oculocutaneous albinism (OCA2) in sub-Saharan Africa: distribution of the common 2.7-kb P gene deletion mutation. Human genetics, 99(4), 523-527.

[54] Bertolotti, A., Lasseaux, E., Plaisant, C., Trimouille, A., MoricePicard, F., Rooryck, C., . . . Arveiler, B. (2016). Identification of a homozygous mutation of SLC24A5 (OCA6) in two patients with oculocutaneous albinism from French Guiana. Pigment cell & melanoma research, 29(1), 104-106.

[55] Wiafe-akenten, B. C. (2016). Disharmony in diversity: Traditional beliefs, attitudes and stigmatization of persons living with albinism in Ghana. International Journal of Psychology, 51, 438.

[56] Yoboue, P., Sangare, A., Kaloga, M., Kouadio, A., & Djedje, M. (2005). Epidemiologic and etiologic features of pigmentation disorders observed during consultation at the Dermatology Center of Abidjan, Ivory Coast. International journal of dermatology, 44(s1), 33-34.

[57] Oyewole, S. (2016). Kidnapping for Rituals: Article of Faith and Insecurity in Nigeria. Journal of Pan African Studies, 9(9), 35-53.

[58] Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1).

[59] Imperato, G. H. and P. J. Imperato (2006). "Beliefs and practices concerning twins, hermaphrodites, and albinos among the Bamana and Maninka of Mali." Journal of community health 31(3): 198-224.

[60] Baker, C., Lund, P., Nyathi, R., & Taylor, J. (2010). The myths surrounding people with albinism in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 22(2), 169-181.

[61] Ibid.

[62] Baker, C. (2008). Writing over the illness: the symbolic representation of albinism. Social studies of health, illness and disease: perspectives from the social sciences, eds. PL Twohig and V. Kalitzkus, 115-128.

[63] Benyah, F. (2017). Equally able, differently looking: discrimination and physical violence against persons with albinism in Ghana. Journal for the Study of Religion, 30(1), 161-188.

[64] Salewi, D. H. (2011). The killing of persons with albinism in Tanzania: A social-legal inquiry. (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa) ), University of Pretoria, Centre For Human Rights, University of Pretoria.  

[65] Kromberg, J., & Jenkins, T. (1997). Cultural influences on the perception of genetic disorders in the black population of Southern Africa Culture, kinship and genes (pp. 147-157): Springer.

[66] Ezeilo, B. N. (1989). Psychological aspects of albinism: an exploratory study with Nigerian (Igbo) albino subjects. Social Science & Medicine, 29(9), 1129-1131.

[67] Wiete, W. (2012). Life of albinos in East Africa threatened: A most bizarre and dramatic consequence of having a skin colour disease. https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=5259819394749941146&hl=en&as_sdt=2005&sciodt=0,5 (12/11/2017); Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). ‘We thought we will be safe here’: Narratives of Tanzanian Albinos in Kenya and South-Africa. African Research Review, 9(4), 37-54; Ikuomola, A. D. (2015). Socio-Cultural Conception of Albinism and Sexuality Challenges among Persons with Albinism (PWA) in South-West, Nigeria. AFRREV IJAH: An International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(2), 189-208.

[68] Baker, C., Lund, P., Nyathi, R., & Taylor, J. (2010). The myths surrounding people with albinism in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Journal of African Cultural Studies, 22(2), 169-181.

[69] Rahman, M. A. (2011). Human trafficking in the era of globalization: The case of trafficking in the global market economy. Transcience Journal, 2(1), 54-71.

[70] Kane, I. (2008). Protecting the rights of minorities in Africa: A guide for human rights activists and civil society organizations: Minority Rights Group International.

[71] Goal 16 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2016/goal-16/ (17/2/2018).

[72] Langhelle, O. (2000). "Sustainable development and social justice: expanding the Rawlsian framework of global justice." Environmental Values 9(3): 295-323.

[73] Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965. Entry into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19. UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx (accessed 21/11/2017).

[74] Article 18(3) of the African charter recognizes and enjoins State Parties to “ensure the elimination of every discrimination against women and also ensure the protection of women and the child as stipulated in international declarations and conventions.”

[75] Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and. Linguistic Minorities. Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992. www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuideMinoritiesDeclarationen.pdf (19/2/2018).

[76] The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination was Adopted and opened for signature and ratification by General Assembly resolution 2106 (XX) of 21 December 1965. It came
into force 4 January 1969, in accordance with Article 19. Article 1 of the Convention defines the term "racial discrimination" to mean any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, colour, descent, or national or ethnic origin which has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life. www.supremecourt.ge/files/upload-file/pdf/act6.pdf (18/2/2018).

[77] The Charter of the United Nations was signed on 26 June 1945, in San Francisco, at the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on International Organization, and came into force on 24 October 1945. www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/ ; http://www.un.org/en/sections/un-charter/un-charter-full-text/ (19/2/2018).

[78] Ibid.

[79] The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966. Its Optional Protocol was Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December 1966 https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/.../volume-999-i-14668-english.pdf (18/2/2018).

[80] Ibid.

[81] Ibid.

[82] The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966 and it entered into force on 3 January 1976, in accordance with article 27.www.who.int/hhr/Economic_social_cultural.pdf (18/2/2018).

[83] The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), 1948 is a milestone document in the history of human rights as it sets out, for the first time, a global template for universal protection of fundamental human rights. It was adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 A (III) of 10 December. 1948, at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris, France. www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/ (18/2/2018).

[84] Banton, M. (2015). United Nations. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination / Beyond discrimination: racial inequality in a postracist era. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 38(13), 2396-2398. doi:10.1080/01419870.2015.1031151 (21/11/2017).

[85] Thuku, M. (2011). Myths, discrimination, and the call for special rights for persons with albinism in sub-Saharan Africa. Amnesty International editorial review on Special Programme on Africa https://albinismawareness.or.tz/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Calls-for-special-Right-to-People-with-Albinism-Report.pdf (31/8/2017).

[86] Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). www.nigeria-law.org/ConstitutionOfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria.htm (19/2/2018).

[87] Ibid.

[88] Ibid.

[89] This is also known as the Banjul Charter. It has been domesticated in Nigeria as Africa Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, Cap 10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 1990.

[90] Ibid.

[91] Ibid.

[92] The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). www.nigeria-law.org/ConstitutionOfTheFederalRepublicOfNigeria.htm (19/2/2018).

[93] Ibid.

[94] George, A. (1988). Skin Diseases in Tropical Africa. International journal of dermatology, 27(3), 187-189; Healey, N., McLoone, E., Saunders, K. J., Jackson, A. J., & McClelland, J. F. (2014). Are worldwide albinism prevalence figures an accurate reflection? An incidental finding from a Northern Ireland study. British Journal of Ophthalmology, 98(7), 990-990.

 

 

[95] Olagunju, O. S. (2012). Towards a Biblical Response to Myth and Discrimination against the Human Right of Albinos in Yorubaland. Journal of Studies in Social Sciences, 1(1).

[96] Salewi, D. H. (2011). The killing of persons with albinism in Tanzania: A social-legal inquiry. (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa)), University of Pretoria, Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.  

[97] The Child Rights Bill was passed into law by the National assembly in July 2003 and was signed into law in September 2003 by the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

[98] Olomojobi, Y. (2013). Human Rights on Gender, Sex and the Law in Nigeria. Princeton & Associates Publishing Co. Ltd, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.  

[99] Fourth World Conference on Women, 15 September 1995. A/CONF. 177/20 (1995) and A/CONF. 177/20/Add. 1 (1995). See University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, http://hrlibrary.umn.edu/instree/bejingmnu.htm (20/2/2018). By the Declaration, the rape of women and girls in armed conflict became a war crime, a crime against humanity, and could, under certain circumstances, be considered genocide.

[100] The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, is often described as an international bill of rights for women. www.ohchr.org/Documents/ProfessionalInterest/cedaw.pdf (20/2/2018).

[101] Adopted by the agreement of State Parties present at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria, on June 25, 1993. Section 18 of the Declaration emphasises that women’s rights are human rights. It states inter alia, that: “The human rights of women and of the girl-child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights.”

[102] This is the women-specific version of the Banjul Charter, which is, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, 1986.

[103] Protocol to The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on The Rights of Women in Africa http://www.achpr.org/files/instruments/women-protocol/achpr_instr_proto_women_eng.pdf (20/2/2018). The Protocol was adopted by the African Union on July 11, 2003 at its second summit in Maputo, Mozambique. The Protocol which entered into force on November 25, 2005 enjoin states to ensure equal rights of women and men. The necessity for this Protocol is contained in the introductory note to the Draft thereof which states inter alia that “To date, no African instrument relating to human rights proclaimed or stated in a precise way what the fundamental rights of women in Africa are. This is thus a vacuum in the African Charter [in relation to protecting women’s rights]” The Protocol guarantees comprehensive rights to women including the right to social and political equality with men, the right to partake in the political process, as well as improved autonomy in their reproductive rights and choices. 

[104] Olomojobi, Y. (2013). Human Rights on Gender, Sex and the Law in Nigeria, op. cit.  

[105] Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and. Linguistic Minorities. Adopted by General Assembly resolution 47/135 of 18 December 1992. www.ohchr.org/Documents/Publications/GuideMinoritiesDeclarationen.pdf (19/2/2018).

[106] The said Section 12 (1) provides that: “No treaty between the Federation and any other country shall have the force of law except to the extent to which any such treaty has been enacted into law by the National Assembly.”

[107] Remarkably, the Government of Malawi has initiated a realistic roadmap in this direction. Through its Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, it compiled and issued a “Handbook for investigators, prosecutors and magistrates concerning offences against persons with albinism” on December 2, 2016. In the preface to the handbook, the country’s Solicitor General and Secretary for Justice, Dr. Janet Banda, wrote, inter alia: “In recent years, Malawi and surrounding countries have seen a sharp increase in attacks on persons with albinism. People with albinism are literally being hunted down and killed in order to have their body parts used for ritualistic purposes. Most of these attacks have resulted in the death of many people with albinism. These attacks in Malawi have become so pervasive and severe that the UN Independent Expert on the Rights of Persons with albinism, Ms. Ikponwosa Ero, has warned that if nothing urgent and decisive is done to halt the attacks, persons with albinism in Malawi risk becoming extinct in a few years.

Like many other stakeholders, therefore, the UN Independent Expert has called upon the Government of Malawi to take strong and sufficient measures to stop the attacks and guarantee the liberty and security of persons with albinism in the country.

The Government of Malawi is mindful of its constitutional and international law obligations towards people with albinism to take practical measures to ensure the protection of their liberty, personal security and dignity. One of the measures that the Government is taking to address the problem is to investigate, arrest and prosecute perpetrators of such attacks through the judicial process. This Handbook has been compiled with the purpose of analysing, simplifying and compiling together all offences in the laws of Malawi that might be useful in responding to attacks against persons with albinism through the court process.

The handbook brings together relevant provisions from the Penal Code, the Anatomy Act, the Child Care, Protection and Justice Act, the Trafficking in Persons Act, and the Witchcraft Act, and provides guidance on the correct use of these offences by investigators, Prosecutors and Magistrates. The handbook highlights already decided court cases (precedents) in Malawi and elsewhere, as well as the recent Practice Direction issued by the Chief Justice of 3rd May 2016 on handling cases involving attacks on persons with albinism. The handbook seeks to strengthen the legal response to crimes against person with albinism.”

[108] Salewi, D. H. (2011). The killing of persons with albinism in Tanzania: A social-legal inquiry. (LLM (Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa), University of Pretoria, Centre For Human Rights, University of Pretoria.  

[109] Olowu, D. (2009). An Integrative Rights-Based Approach to Human Development in Africa: Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press.

[110] Van Reenen, T. P., & Combrinck, H. (2011). The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa: Progress after 5 Years. SUR-Int'l J. on Hum Rts., 14, 133.

[111] Steiner, H. J., Alston, P., & Goodman, R. (2008). International human rights in context: law, politics, morals: text and materials: Oxford University Press, USA.

[112] Olowu, D. (2009). An Integrative Rights-Based Approach to Human Development in Africa: Pretoria: Pretoria University Law Press.

[113] Van Reenen, T. P., & Combrinck, H. (2011). The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities in Africa: Progress after 5 Years. SUR-Int'l J. on Hum Rts., 14, 133; Viljoen, F. (1998). Supra-national human rights instruments for the protection of children in Africa: The Convention on the Rights of the Child and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child. The Comparative & International Law Journal of Southern Africa, Pretoria, 33, 199.

[114] Williams, S. E. (2018). Albinism and the Eye. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 135-149); Cruz-Inigo, A. E., Ladizinski, B., & Sethi, A. (2011). Albinism in Africa: stigma, slaughter and awareness campaigns. Dermatologic clinics, 29(1), 79-87.

[115] Clarke, S., & Beale, J. (2018). Albinism and Social Marginalization. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 257-270).

[116] Ibid.

[117] Lund, P. M., & Roberts, M. (2018). Prevalence and Population Genetics of Albinism: Surveys in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Tanzania. In Albinism in Africa (pp. 81-98).

[118] Beckman, P. J., Abera, N., Sabella, T., Podzimek, K., & Joseph, L. (2016). From Rights to Realities: Confronting the Challenge of Educating Persons with Disabilities in Developing Countries. Global Education Review, 3(3), 4-27.