TOKYO, Jan. 30, 2014 /CNW/ - Global Appeal 2014 to End Stigma and
Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy was launched in
Jakarta, Indonesia, on January 27, endorsed by national human rights
institutions from 39 countries and regions.
India, Brazil and Indonesia, which together contribute the most cases of
leprosy in the world, were among those whose human rights bodies
declared: "We uphold the right of people affected by leprosy to live in
dignity, free from discrimination. We pledge our support to help to
bring down the remaining barriers of stigma and prejudice that stand in
Inaugurated in 2006, the annual Global Appeal is an initiative of Yohei
Sasakawa, the chairman of the Nippon Foundation and WHO Goodwill
Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination.
"It is a sad fact that even today, when leprosy is completely curable,
massive walls of stigma and social prejudice still stand between
society and those affected by the disease," he told some 250 people
present at the launching ceremony.
Faith leaders, educators, and the medical and legal professions are
among those who have supported previous appeals, and Sasakawa hoped the
backing of human rights organizations would now accelerate efforts to
resolve the issue. "They are the very organizations that can
investigate the various human rights abuses facing people affected by
leprosy and take appropriate measures such as making recommendations to
their governments," he said.
Representing Indonesia's National Commission on Human Rights, Dr. Dianto
Bachriadi said that not just the government but the whole country had
to be part of the solution, "including religious and public figures."
Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, who chairs the National Human Rights
Commission of India, spoke of the need for "an overall change in social
perception" to motivate respect for the rights of persons affected by
Leprosy is diagnosed in around 230,000 people each year. Left untreated,
it can lead to permanent nerve damage and disability. For those
affected, the stigma attached to the disease limits opportunities for
education, employment and marriage, and restricts access to public
Speaking as someone who once contemplated suicide in the face of severe
discrimination, Muhammad Amin Rafi said, "All we want is to be treated
as human beings and accepted by the community without distinction."
SOURCE: The Nippon Foundation
For further information:
The Nippon Foundation