UN Independent Expert to Visit Malawi

By: Happy Arnold Soko

United Nations Independent Expert Ikponwosa Ero will for the first time visit Malawi where she is expected to carry out a monitoring visit from 18 to 29 April 2016 to assess the human rights situation of people with albinism.

Ms Ero: UN Independent Expert
Ms Ero: UN Independent Expert

The visit comes at a key time when attacks on persons with albinism and the sale of their body parts are often reported across the country.

This will be the first country to be visited by the UN Expert to assess the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism since the Human Rights Council established the mandate in March 2015.

Speaking to from her base in Nigeria Miss Ero said she is looking forward to this first official mission to check the situation of human rights of persons with albinism in Malawi, make concrete recommendations, and find good practices to be promoted across the region.

Miss Ero said attacks of persons with albinism and the sale of their body parts will be one of the main focuses of her visit. The Independent Expert is tasked to report on developments and obstacles to the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism; find and promote good practices; and combat stereotypes, prejudices, harmful traditional practices and beliefs that hinder the enjoyment of their human rights.

During her two-week visit, the human rights expert will travel to Lilongwe, Machinga, Zomba, Phalombe and Kasungu. She will meet with representatives of the executive, legislative and judicial branches, local and territorial authorities, the Malawi Human Rights Commission, civil society groups, including organizations of persons with albinism, and members of the diplomatic community.

“I also give particular importance to meeting with persons with albinism as well as families affected by violations of the human rights of persons with albinism,” Ms. Ero added.

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 spent the last seven years working on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism.

As an international advocate and legal officer of Under The Same Sun, an NGO with a focus on albinism, she 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 categorization of persons with albinism in the international human rights system.

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