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UN rights expert to conduct first visit to Tanzania to assess situation of people with albinism

GENEVA / DAR ES SALAAM (12 July 2017) – United Nations Independent Expert Ikponwosa Ero is making her first visit to Tanzania from 18-28 July to assess the human rights situation of people with albinism.

“This visit is particularly important given the numerous attacks against people with albinism reported in Tanzania, and in light of some unique Government measures to address the issue,” said Ms. Ero.

“I’m looking forward to the mission so I can evaluate the situation people are in, learn from the measures that have been adopted, and identify gaps in their implementation so these can be closed,” added the expert, who visits the country at the invitation of the Government.

Tanzania was one of the first countries where attacks against people with albinism were reported. These include murder, mutilation and kidnappings to extract body parts for ritual purposes.

“It has been about a decade since the news of the first reported attack emerged from Tanzania, so this visit provides a timely opportunity to assess what protection, including temporary shelters, has been made available for people who fear returning to their communities,” said Ms. Ero, who is conducting the visit at the invitation of the Government.

The Independent Expert investigates all forms of human rights violations being experienced by people with albinism in different countries, including assaults, living in fear of attack and being left behind in development goals.  She identifies and promotes good practices, and combats the stereotypes, prejudices, and harmful practices which lead to human rights abuses.

At the end of her visit, on Friday 28 July 2017, Ms. Ero will share her preliminary observations at a press conference at the ‘One UN Conference Room’, One UN Compound, Oysterbay, Dar es Salaam, starting at 10.00AM local time. Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report on her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2018.

Ms. Ikponwosa Ero (Nigeria) was designated in June 2015 as the first UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism by the Human Rights Council. Inspired by her experiences as a person with albinism, Ms. Ero has spent the last seven years fulfilling her mandate. As international advocacy and legal officer of Under the Same Sun, an NGO with a focus on albinism, she has participated in multiple activities and panels at the UN in Geneva and New York. She has extensive experience in research, policy development and advocacy in the field of albinism. She is the author of numerous papers and articles on the issue, including with regards to the categorisation of persons with albinism in the international human rights system.

Read the Independent Expert’s first report to the UN Human Rights Council.

The Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Check out our special website: People with albinism: not ghosts, but human beings.

UN Human Rights, country page: Tanzania

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Dar es Salaam (during the visit): Arnaud Chaltin (+41 79109-6873 / achaltin@ohchr.org)
For inquiries about the press conference: Ms. Hoyce Temu ( +255 682262627/  hoyce.temu@one.un.org )
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Arnaud Chaltin (+41 22 917 9188 / achaltin@ohchr.org) or write to albinism@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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