Leprosy at the 41st Human Rights Council

In her capacity as UN Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, Alice Cruz delivers a report each year to the UN Human Rights Council.

This year her focus was women and children affected by leprosy, and how gender and youth compound the stigmatisation that so often results from leprosy. Evidence is crucial, and Alice’s findings were informed by more than 500 responses to the survey sent to ILEP Members and persons affected by leprosy earlier in 2019. We thank those ILEP Members who took time to respond. Her report is here and I particularly draw your attention to the recommendations at the end, which are directed not only at states but also at NGOs. 

ILEP also supported a side event, organised by the Japanese Permanent Mission, in which Alice was the keynote speaker. The theme was Leprosy, dehumanisation and extreme vulnerability: How to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for stigmatised social groups. A particular highlight was testimony from two people with personal experience of leprosy: Rachna Kumari works for Lepra India and is a member of ILEP’s Panel of Women and Men Affected by Leprosy, and Faustino Pinto works with MORHAN, the Brazilian organisation of persons affected by Hansen’s Disease. There was a very supportive message from the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and both Takahiro Nanri (Sasakawa Health Foundation) and Geoff Warne (ILEP) took part in a panel discussing the issues. Around 75 people attended, and it was encouraging to hear ten Permanent Missions speaking about their commitment to leprosy. See the live tweets about the event here. Rachna and Faustino also joined Alice for a valuable meeting with the Deputy High Commissioner.