The Global Appeal

Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, has in recent years devoted a large amount of time and effort to promoting the human rights of people who are affected by leprosy. One facet of his effort has been the annual delivery of a Global Appeal to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy. This appeal has sought to raise public awareness through the media, while also drawing the support of world leaders, representatives of people affected by leprosy, and organizations concerned with human rights in general.

Overview

As one of his many activities on behalf of people around the world who have been affected by leprosy, Yohei Sasakawa has since 2006 led Global Appeals to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy.

The Appeals, which have all been held on or near World Leprosy Day, have each been made together with different groups of people, but have all had the same basic objective: the restoration of the dignity and human rights of people affected by leprosy. Affected people include all whose lives have been disrupted by the terrible stigma that leprosy engenders, including the family and relatives of those who have actually fought the disease. Individuals have been cast out of society, families have been torn apart, and those who have been cured find that social attitudes continue to wall them out, even today. In today's world, where leprosy is easily curable, the social attitudes that give rise to these human rights violations are insupportable. Through these Global Appeals, Mr. Sasakawa hopes to bring this surprisingly widespread and tenacious problem to the world’s attention.

In 2006, Mr. Sasakawa led a group of world leaders and Nobel Peace Prize laureates in announcing the first Global Appeal from New Delhi, India. In 2007, representatives of people affected by leprosy joined him in making the Appeal from Manila. In 2008, Mr. Sasakawa took the Appeal to London, where he was joined by eight international organizations working in the field of human rights. Global Appeal 2009, also launched in London, brought together leaders of different religious faiths to affirm that discrimination arising from leprosy is not acceptable in today's world. In Mumbai, Global Appeal 2010 was endorsed by 15 business leaders, expressing their support for the social integration and economic empowerment of those affected by the disease. In 2011, the heads of one hundred of the world’s leading educational institutions signed Global Appeal 2011, which was launched in Beijing and highlighted the message that education can serve to challenge stigma and enable people to overcome social and economic barriers. In 2012, medical professionals representing the World Medical Association and medical associations around the world put their names to the Appeal, launched in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Global Appeal 2013 (London) received the backing of the International Bar Association and its member organizations, who called for the abolition of discriminatory laws and regulations related to leprosy.

Global Appeal 2014 was launched in Jakarta with the backing of national human rights organizations from 39 countries and regions, referencing the December 2010 U.N. resolution on elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. In 2015, the Global Appeal was launched from Tokyo for the first time, together with the International Council of Nurses and its member associations, who noted, “Nurses are committed to alleviating physical and mental suffering and promoting the health of all people, without prejudice.” The Appeal was launched from Tokyo again in 2016, with Junior Chamber International (JCI), the leading global network of active young citizens, pledging to “Use our international reach to condemn and fight against the discrimination that individuals affected by leprosy experience.” The 2017 Global Appeal returned to New Delhi, India, and was launched in January with the endorsement of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, with a call for “All Parliaments to promote and enforce non-discriminatory laws and policies to end stigma and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy.”

More information about the Global Appeal and about leprosy, as well as a message from Mr. Sasakawa, is available via the links at the bottom of this page.

Year Signatories Location
GA2017 Inter-Parliamentary Union New Delhi, India
GA2016 Junior Chamber International Tokyo, Japan
GA2015 International Council of Nurses Tokyo, Japan
GA2014 National human rights organizations Jakarta, Indonesia
GA2013 Members of the International Bar Association London, UK
GA2012 Members of the World Medical Association Sao Paulo, Brazil
GA2011 World's leading universities Beijing, China
GA2010 World's business leaders Mumbai, India
GA2009 World's religious leaders London, UK
GA2008 International human rights organizations London, UK
GA2007 Representatives of people affected by leprosy around the world Manila, Philippines
GA2006 World leaders and Nobel Peace Prize laureates New Delhi, India