African Continental interventions
Challenges facing PWAs are similar across the African Continent, with ritual killings and persecution of PWAs happening in over twenty-eight (28) countries, out of which over six hundred (600) persons have been killed or attacked. This has called for concerted efforts in combating stigma and discrimination, including ritual killings since this has proven to be a transnational crime.
ASK is a leading national organization that provides leadership to other similar organizations across African countries. Since 2009, the organization has made contact and worked with organizations such as the Albinism Society of South Africa (ASSA), Tanzania Albino Society (TAS), the Source of the Nile Union of Persons with Albinism (SNUPA), Femme Espoir –Burundi, The Albino Foundation Nigeria, Association of Persons With Albinism in Malawi – (APAM) and many others.
In fact, the Albinism agenda internationally has been brought to the limelight by the African cause. The following are therefore the actions that ASK in collaboration with other organizations have been able to accomplish so far and intends to strengthen.
Africa Union Action Plan on Persons with Albinism
Since 2016, there have been efforts led by the UN Independent Expert on the Rights of PWAs Ms. Ikponwosa Ero to have a Continental Action Plan on Albinism in order to help coordinate efforts by both State and non-State actors on this matter.
A Regional Action Plan (RAP) was developed by PWAs, starting with an inaugural meeting in Dar-es- Salaam Tanzania in June of 2016. After lots of consultations and through the leadership of ASK’s Chairman, the Africa Union Council of Ministers adopted a resolution to adopt RAP as the Africa Union Action Plan on Albinism (AU-APA). African governments are expected to domesticate it by making National Action Plans on PWA (NAPPWAs) in order to help them to comply with the agreed upon standards. The AU-APA has four (4) pillars: Prevention, Protection, Equality/Non-Discrimination and Accountability. It has fifteen (15) measures to attain this and forty (40) targets. Countries are expected to report progress on what they are doing to achieve the set threshold of compliance.
African Union Special Envoy
In March 2019, ASK’s Chairman led a delegation of various stakeholders in successfully lobbying the African Union (AU) to adopt a resolution for establishing the position of the AU Special Envoy on Albinism. Kenya has bided for this position as the sole country in the continent by consensus. However, the position is yet to be filled. The holder of the mandate shall help the AU to put in place measures to ensure the promotion and inclusion of the Albinism agenda within its human rights framework. He/she shall also help governments to develop their own National Action Plans and to monitor implementation, including coordinating stakeholders to support this endeavor. This also includes the Regional Economic Blocks (RECs), legislative bodies and other continental entities/institutions. ASK shall be in the forefront to ensure that this mandate is fully established and operational.
Africa Regional Albinism Alliance/Forum
In order to coordinate efforts and to build a united voice of Persons with Albinism, there have been several attempts to form an alliance with the aim of bringing together all organizations of PWAs in Africa under one umbrella. The initial Pan-African Albinism Alliance (PAA) didn’t materialize and currently, the Regional Albinism Forum (RAF) is registered in both Kenya and Nigeria with ASK’s Chairman as the Vice President of the forum. We shall endeavor to strengthen these efforts to put in place a fully-fledged Pan-African Organization that not only consolidates and amplifies the voices of PWAs, but also helps build capacities of its member organizations in order for them to effectively carry out their mandates at the national and sub-national levels.
In this regard, ASK is expected to continue with the efforts to realize this objective including lobbying for the headquarters of the body to be situate in Kenya as this will not only confer honor to the role that Kenya has played in advancing this cause, but also ensure benefits arising from hosting such an organization is enjoyed by the country. The location is also ideal since the headquarters of two of the UN agencies are resident in Kenya.