Statement on Agenda Item 25 ‘Persons with Albinism’

Jordyn Arndt
U.S. Mission to the United Nations
New York, New York
November 19, 2019


Thank you, Mr. Chair.

We thank Malawi and Tanzania for their resolution on “Persons with Albinism.” The United States is pleased to join consensus on the resolution.

We believe that States must take effective measures to protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, such as those with albinism, including effective prosecution of perpetrators of violence. Future discussions on how to prevent attacks against persons with albinism can be greatly informed by examining the root causes of discrimination.

We welcome this resolution’s attention to the fact that women and girls with albinism belong to different minority groups and face multiple levels of discrimination.

We are disappointed by the references to the Copenhagen Declaration and especially the World Programme of Action concerning disabled persons. These instruments are outdated and do not reflect the international community’s current positions on advancing and promoting the human rights of all persons with disabilities, including persons with albinism. Continuing to refer to these documents in this and other Third Committee resolutions undermines the rights-based approach to realizing the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in all aspects of society. Therefore, we dissociate from preambular paragraph 2 which references these instruments.

We understand that this resolution does not imply that states must become parties to instruments to which they are not a party or implement obligations under such instruments. We interpret references to the obligations of states as applicable only to the extent they have assumed such obligations, and with respect to States Parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, in light of its Article 2(1).

We believe that international instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are relevant in addressing issues of stigma and violence, including against persons with albinism and all persons with disabilities. The root causes of discrimination against persons with disabilities can shed light on future discussions on how to address the various social development challenges faced by persons with albinism. States should take effective measures to respect and protect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all persons, including persons with albinism.

With regard to this resolution’s references to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the rights listed in OP 1, please see our general statement on Third Committee resolutions that we delivered on November 7th.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.