Despite the fact that albinism is not a disease, but only an inherited genetic disorder, those suffering from it have to face all kinds of prejudices all over in the world. Albinism is widespread throughout the world, both among humans and some species of animals, and is due to a low production of melanin which affects the colour of the skin, hair and eyes. The presence of albinos in the world varies according to the regions. Specifically, in sub-Saharan Africa, a ratio ranging from 1 in 5,000 to 1 in 15,000 is estimated, with peaks in southern Africa of 1 in 1,000.
Of course people with albinism enjoy the same rights as any other person and are protected by international human rights instruments. These regulations refer to fundamental rights such as the right to life, association, physical integrity, freedom and security as well as the right to the highest attainable level of physical and mental health and the right to an adequate standard of life. This protection can be found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (which prohibits "racial discrimination" based on skin colour) as well as in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which prohibit harmful practices.
Although this genetic anomaly has been present since time immemorial, albinos are still marginalised and discriminated against for the colour of their skin. Because of this attitude, it is impossible for them to exercise their economic and social rights. Still today, albinos suffer from limited access to basic social services and from a condition of isolation, as well as having a low life expectancy due to the high risk of contracting skin cancer.
The myths and misconceptions about the condition of people with albinism are profound, partly because of their rarity which contributes to the lack of knowledge of their condition from the part of the general public.