Global Appeal 2014 to End Stigma and Discrimination Against People Affected by Leprosy

Leprosy is one of the world’s oldest diseases. Caused by a bacillus, it is completely curable today with modern drug therapy. Contrary to widespread belief, leprosy is not hereditary, it is not untreatable, it is not highly infectious and it is not divine punishment.

Yet because of the myths and misconceptions that surround leprosy, discrimination is never far away. This discrimination can limit opportunities for education, employment and marriage. It can restrict access to public services. It can marginalize entire families.

In December 2010, recognizing the disease’s devastating social, economic and psychological impact, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution on elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.

The resolution is accompanied by principles and guidelines and reaffirms that people affected by leprosy and their family members should be treated as individuals with dignity and are entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms under customary international law, relevant conventions and national constitutions and laws.

As national human rights institutions, we applaud the U.N. resolution and condemn all leprosy-related human rights violations. 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 their way.

Signatories of Global Appeal 2014

Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
Albania People’s Advocate
Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission
Brazil Secretaria de Direitos Humanos da Presidência da República
Burundi Independent National Human Rights Commission
Canada Canadian Human Rights Commission
Chile National Institute of Human Rights
Egypt National Council for Human Rights
Ethiopia Ethiopian Human Rights Commission
France Commission Nationale Consultative des Droits de l’Homme (CNCDH)
Georgia Office of Public Defender of Georgia
Hong Kong SAR, China Equal Opportunities Commission
India National Human Rights Commission of India
Indonesia National Commission on Human Rights
Jordan The National Centre for Human Rights
Kenya National Commission on Human Rights
Kosovo Ombudsperson Institution of Kosovo
Latvia Ombudsman Office of the Republic of Latvia
Lithuania The Seimas Ombudsmen
Malaysia Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM)
Mali Commission Nationale des Droits de l’Homme du Mali
Mexico National Human Rights Commission of Mexico
Myanmar Myanmar National Human Rights Commission
Nepal National Human Rights Commission
Nigeria National Human Rights Commission
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission
Philippines Commission on Human Rights
Poland Human Rights Defender
Republic of Slovenia Human Rights Ombudsman
Romania People’s Advocate Institution
Rwanda National Commission for Human Rights
Slovak Republic National Centre for Human Rights
Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission
Sudan National Commission for Human Rights
Tanzania Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance
Thailand National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
Trinidad and Tobago Office of the Ombudsman of Trinidad and Tobago
Uganda Uganda Human Rights Commission
Ukraine Parliament Commissioner for Human Rights
Total: 37 countries, 2 regions, 39 institutions