Somalia is yet to emerge out of its prolonged conflict and the challenges posed by lack of strong central government which still continues to affect its population in vast ways and also creating setbacks to its social, economic and political development. These insecurities and decades of conflicts continue to disrupt the lives of many ordinary civilians; thousands continue to be displaced from their original places of origin due to repeated conflicts and insecurity. The result is multiple violations taking place on the most vulnerable in the society.
Information on Persons with Albinism in Somalia
Persons with Albinism are spread around Somalia and are not only concentrated in southern Somalia but they are also found in every district and all the regions of Somalia. Persons with Albinism are minimum compared to the majority of the Somalis living in Somalia whereby a real percentage is hard to reflect at moment because they have not been counted and no organization or Government has tried to support them before.
Our recent meeting which was carried out in Augusts 2013 where we met with nine persons with Albinism in the capital of Mogadishu who informed us on what was like living in Somalia for an Albino person – They have expressed their concerns and informed us that they are in extreme fear from the AU AMISOM forces since their first presence in Somalia. The Albino persons fear the African union forces because they heard that some Africans will kill an Albino person for blessings and gaining wealth. These made them mostly in fear and this perspective and believe scares off the Albino persons and from this fear they rarely get out and are always in hiding and indoors. This was also realized more when we personally encountered difficulties in locating them before meeting with them. They also told us that some of them once was seen by the AU AMISOM forces and they were told they can be assisted by this African forces, this was difficult and it further made them extremely fearful and Isolated.
They also further informed us how the rest of the Somalis marginalize them and will isolate them in many ways; this treatment is reflected by how the albino persons are secluded in all the social, economical, political wise and in all development of the Somali society. The Somali people perception about the Albino person is that this people are cursed and they think they have a skin condition (Baras) by the name leprosy and this perception makes them stay away from having any contacts with these persons. Overall the Somali people are Muslims and in Islamic believe it is not allowed to harm another Muslim person and this applies to everyone although this is not the case for everyone as Somalia is divided by different factions and continues to affect all persons. However this believe has in a way helped the Albino as they are not directly targeted by ordinary people however since Somalia is a conflict area the Albino person is more vulnerable than the normal Somali and will be easily be targeted, harmed and not cared for. Over the decades Somalia has been affected by conflicts that led and continues to take the lives of Innocent civilians.
Some of the needs for the Albinos persons in Somalia
1. Due to the reflections from the sun which affects their skin, the Albinos in Somalia are lacking creams and other body requirement that will protect them from the effect of the sun all through the year. Some of them informed us that they are continuously affected by this and have cracked lips, eye problems and skin problems. Therefore they are need of body lotions that will protect from the UV rays, sun glasses huts and others. The Albinos are not accessed to health care services and continue to suffer in isolation
2. Need for separate schools and learning material since the Albinos are not allowed to mix free with others and are not accessed to education facilities.
3. Creating Separate vocational training institutions that provide necessary skills for creating livelihoods.
4. Creating separate health facilities that are can be accessed by the Albino and provide necessary support to the Albinos persons.
5. Awareness raising and Integration programs that will allow people to know what causes Albinism and abolish false myths about the condition of the Albino person
6. Advocating for the Albinos in Somalia
Shafi’i Mohamud Isse