In January Disabled Peoples’ International (DPI) and The Leprosy Mission (TLM) Global Fellowship members started an advocacy campaign to increase ownership and political commitment from governments of leprosy priority countries.
The campaign started with a meeting with the Special Rapporteur on Right to Food in Rome on 21 January followed by submission of their appeal in the form of an ‘Open Letter’ informing her why her mandate should have special focus on persons affected by leprosy. The plan in the future is to also work with other Special Rapporteurs such as those focussed on health, older persons, adequate housing, drinking water and sanitation, cultural rights, extreme poverty, discrimination against women and girls, etc.
Though the team is already working closely with three Special Rapporteurs (leprosy, disability rights and violence against women) they are now targeting other Special Rapporteurs with mandates that are relevant to people affected by leprosy and their families.
This advocacy strategy is similar to the one used by disability rights advocates and that is to mainstream the human rights of persons affected by leprosy across all relevant UN human rights mechanisms so that there is greater impact and holistic approach to promote and protect human rights of persons affected by leprosy. Mainstreaming leprosy and rights of persons affected by leprosy within the human rights discourse will help to further the conversation.