NEWS

A-G Says People With Albinism Should Not Be Treated Differently

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, autosomaml recessive inherited disorder at birth.
14 Jun 2022 11:41
A-G Says People With Albinism Should Not Be Treated Differently
Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the International Albinism Awareness Day celebration at the PJ Twomey Hospital in Tamavua, on June 13, 2022. Photo: Leon Lord

Our compassion should not depend on what a person looks like. Our compassion should come from the bottom of our hearts and our souls because they are fellow human beings.

This was the message from the Attorney-General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum at the International Albinism Awareness Day celebration yesterday at the PJ Twomey Hospital in Tamavua where he was chief guest.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said people with albinism should not be discriminated against because they were no different from any other person.

“Just because they look different from us, it does not mean that we should discriminate against them. It does not mean that they are not capable of contributing to society. It does not mean we should just put them in some corner and only see them on special occasions,” he said.

Albinism is a rare, non-contagious, autosomaml recessive inherited disorder at birth.

It results in a lack of pigmentation in the hair, skin and eyes, causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light. Most of them are visually impaired and prone to developing skin cancers.

“In accordance with Section Six of the Fijian Constitution, that nobody should be discriminated against based on their physical capability, the ability or life or otherwise, any characteristics.

“We also have for the first time in the Fijian Constitution, a specific provision regarding the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We’ve never had them in any of the Constitutions.

“So this is why it puts an additional responsibility on the state to ensure that any infrastructure that we roll out, any policies in the budget allocations, we do make adjustments, we do cater for those people who have disabilities.”

Inclusivity, he said, can only be in its true form if there is a strong society that supports each other.

“Irrespective of what we look like, what province you come from, what ethnicity you are, what your background is, what faith we follow – we are all God’s children.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum highlighted that many people living with disability in Fiji fall below the poverty line because they cannot have income opportunities.

The government has stepped in and provided a $90 allowance per month to people living with disability and a 300 per cent tax deduction to employers, meaning they can claim more than what they were supposed to.

He said this will encourage employers to give people living with disabilities an opportunity to work.

Albinism in Fiji

There are 200 registered people living with albinism in the country.

The Ministry of Health and Medical Services provides $10,000 annually to assist with targeted disease prevention priorities for persons with albinism.

The theme for International Albinism Awareness Day this year was ‘United In Making Our Voices Heard’.

Feedback:  josefa.babitu@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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