Header image for news printout

South Africa: UN expert to assess human rights of people with albinism

GENEVA (13 September 2019) – The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, will make an official visit to South Africa from 16 to 26 September 2019.

“I will assess both general and specific measures that are in place to enhance the enjoyment of human rights by people with albinism in the country, and I will aim to identify good practices and make recommendations to address challenges and gaps where they may exist,” Ero said.

The expert will focus on issues including the right to life, health, education, employment and access to justice. She plans to meet people with albinism, including women and children, in order to better understand their experiences in relation to stigma and discrimination.

“I look forward to engaging with the authorities and others in a spirit of collaboration that could hopefully contribute to making the central pledge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development truly a reality for people with albinism in South Africa – and that is ‘to leave no one behind – starting with the furthest behind’.”

In addition to people with albinism, Ero will meet the authorities in South Africa, civil society organisations, academics, representatives of the international community and various other people who work on issues related to her mandate. She will hold meetings in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

Ero will share her preliminary findings at a press conference* on Thursday 26 September 2019 at 12:00 noon local time, at the World Food Programme Auditorium, Sunhill Park, Building 1, 1 Eglin Road (corner Naivasha Road), Sunninghill, Sandton, Johannesburg. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

For media inquiries and interview requests, please see contact details below.

The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2020.


* Journalists wishing to attend should email jtautakitaki@ohchr.org and bring their identification on the day.

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, for more than a decade, been actively engaged in research, policy development and advocacy concerning the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism. 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 is also the author of numerous papers and articles on the issue, including with regards to the response to, and categorization of people with albinism in the international human rights system.

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 organisation and serve in their individual capacity.

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

UN Human Rights, Country Page — South Africa

For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In South Africa (during the visit): Ms Jolene Tautakitaki (During the visit only: +27 72 513 30 21 or +41 79 444 4860 / jtautakitaki@ohchr.org ) or write to albinism@ohchr.org and Ms Eunice Namugwe, UN Information Centre, Pretoria (+27 78 233 4333 / namugwe@un.org).

In Geneva (after the visit): Ms Jolene Tautakitaki  (+41 22 917 9363 / jtautakitaki@ohchr.org) or write to albinism@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

Follow news related to the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts.

Concerned about the world we live in? Then STAND UP for someone’s rights today. #Standup4humanrights and visit the web page at http://www.standup4humanrights.org