Global Appeal 2007

On January 29 in Manila, The Philippines, in conjunction with World Leprosy Day (January 28), the representatives of people affected by leprosy from around the world
will call for an end to the stigma and discrimination against people affected by the disease. They state that “denying the inherent human rights of anyone on the basis of disease is indefensible. Discrimination can never be justified”. The appeal ceremony is co-hosted by The Nippon Foundation and The Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation, in cooperation with Ateneo de Manila University, the Department of Health of the Philippines, WHO, and leprosy NGOs.

Leprosy, among the world’s oldest recorded diseases, still exists in many countries. But while less than 300,000 people develop leprosy each year, an estimated 100 million must deal with cruel discrimination because of their association with the disease, many spending their lives completely isolated from society.

In India, which accounts for 70 percent of the world’s leprosy cases, there are over 700 leprosy colonies which help to perpetuate the myth, the stigma and the discrimination.

Global Appeal 2007 follows last year’s appeal by world leaders, such as former US President Jimmy Carter and the Dalai Lama.

Global Appeal 2007

“Every person is born free and equal
in dignity and human rights.”

Many people think that leprosy no longer exists. But it does – and also the stigma and discrimination it causes.

Discrimination against people affected by leprosy is one of the oldest and most pervasive examples of social injustice in the history of the human race.

Even today, millions of men, women and children continue to suffer social, economic and legal discrimination, simply because they or a family member have had leprosy.

Leprosy is a curable disease. Yet misguided notions about leprosy persist, with devastating consequences for those thus stigmatized.

Denying the inherent human rights of anyone on the basis of disease is indefensible.

Discrimination can never be justified.

Silence on this issue is not acceptable.

We urge you to join us in the fight to end this social injustice.

Together, let us create a society in which every individual is free and equal in dignity and human rights.

January 29, 2007

* From the First Article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)

Global Appeal 2007 is an initiative of Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Elimination of Leprosy, endorsed and co-signed by leaders of People Affected by Leprosy around the world. Co-signers are as listed below:

Signatories for Global Appeal 2007

Lak Kiri Cambodia
Sarat Kumar Dutta India
Shehu Abdullahi S/Fada Nigeria
Hilarion M. Guia Philippines
Michihiro Koh Japan
P. K. Gopal India
Parwati Oli Nepal
José Ramirez, Jr USA
Valdenora da Cruz Rodrigues Brazil
Cristiano Torres Brazil
Adi Yosep Indonesia
Zhuo You China
Yohei Sasakawa WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Elimination of Leprosy
Chairman, The Nippon Foundation