23 November 2017
GENEVA, 23 November 2017 (Issued as received) – The UN Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism, Ikponwosa Ero, will visit Fiji from 27 November to 7 December to gather first-hand information on the situation in the country, which has one of the highest estimated rates of albinism in the world.
The mission will have a particular focus on physical and mental health, including the availability of adequate health protection, prevention and treatment, access to essential medicines, the provision of education and information, and people’s participation in health-related decisions.
“During my visit, I will assess the legislative and institutional framework, as well as programmes, policies and practices affecting the daily lives of people with albinism to ensure that they have not been left behind,” said Ms Ero.
“I will examine specific action addressing discrimination and stigmatization against people with albinism, ensuring their effective participation in cultural and public life, their right to quality education, and guaranteeing the full enjoyment of their right to adequate standards of living, including decent work and adequate housing.
“In my consultations, I look forward to the opportunity to identify good practices as well as discussing remaining challenges and avenues for further improvement,” Ms. Ero added.
During her 10-day mission, the Independent Expert intends to visit the capital, Suva, as well as Rakiraki and Nadi. She will meet senior Government officials, representatives of the UN system and civil society, and local communities, including people with albinism.
At the end of her visit, on Thursday 7 December 2017, Ms. Ero will share her preliminary findings and recommendations at a press conference at the UNESCAP Conference Room, Kadavu House, Level 5, 414 Victoria Parade, Suva, at 10.00 local time. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.
The Independent Expert will present a comprehensive report of her visit to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2019.
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 the research, policy development and practice of human rights concerning 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 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 categorization of persons 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 organization and serve in their individual capacity.
Check out our special website: People with albinism: not ghosts, but human beings.
Read the Independent Expert’s first report to the UN Human Rights Council.
UN Human Rights country page: Fiji
For inquiries and media requests, please contact:
In Suva (during the visit): Damianos Serefidis (+41 79 444 40 78 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
For inquiries about the press conference: Derrick Robinson (+679 3311 465 / email@example.com)
In Geneva (before and after the visit): Damianos Serefidis (+41 22 917 96 81 / firstname.lastname@example.org) or write to email@example.com)
For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact:
Bryan Wilson – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9826 / firstname.lastname@example.org)
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