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International Albinism Awareness Day

June 13 is International Albinism Awareness Day. It is a UN effort to stop the brutalities against people with albinism.

Tanzanian family seated on the floor of their house showing two women and five children, including a son and a daughter with Albinism.

This Tanzanian family has a son and a daughter with albinism.

©iStockphoto.com/TiggyMorse

Genetic Condition

Albinism is a genetic condition resulting in little or no pigmentation in the skin, hair, and eyes. In several cultures around the world, and particularly in many African countries, people with albinism live in constant fear of murder. Others experience severe discrimination and bullying.

Murders and Mutilations

Hundreds of albinos have been brutally murdered and mutilated in African countries in the past decades. Local superstitions claim their body parts can bring luck and prosperity. Another widespread rumor is that albinos are evil spirits.

The country with the highest percentage of albinos is believed to be Tanzania. In 2013, an independent documentary called “In the Shadow of the Sun” was released. The film by director Harry Freeland tells the story of Josephat Torner from Tanzania, who has albinism. Together, they spent years traveling around Tanzania to spread information about the widely misunderstood disorder.

The documentary, along with several other films, have been powerful tools in the fight against persecution of people with albinism, which is sometimes abbreviated PWA.

The Right to Dignity

International Albinism Awareness Day was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 18, 2014. The resolution “encourages UN Member States to continue their efforts to protect and preserve the rights of persons with albinism to life, dignity and security, as well as their right not to be subject to torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and to continue their efforts to ensure equal access for persons with albinism to employment, education, justice and the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.”

International Albinism Awareness Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2015SatJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2016MonJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2017TueJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2018WedJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2019ThuJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2020SatJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2021SunJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2022MonJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2023TueJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2024ThuJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance
2025FriJun 13International Albinism Awareness DayUnited Nations observance

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