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Open-ended consultation on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members (Geneva, 15 January 2009)

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) hosted an open-ended consultation on 15 January 2009, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, as requested by Human Rights Council resolution 8/13, paragraph 4 (English - French - Spanish). The meeting was attended by approximately 80 participants, including representatives of States, non-governmental organizations, persons affected by leprosy and their representative organizations, independent experts and United Nations system representatives.

The meeting (see summary of discussions) aimed at exchanging views among various stakeholders on the impact of discrimination on the enjoyment of all human rights of persons affected by leprosy and their family members. The impact of discrimination based on health status was discussed. Persons who suffered from stigma and discrimination in relation to leprosy offered their personal testimonies and experiences throughout the day.

Human Rights Council resolution 8/13 also requested the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect information on measures that Governments have taken to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. A compilation of the submissions was submitted for consideration by the Human Rights Council at its tenth session in March 2009 (A/HRC/10/62). The resolution also mandated the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to formulate a draft set of principles and guidelines for elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy (see A/HRC/AC/2/CRP.5, Working Paper of Professor Sakamoto, 26 January 2009).

The meeting was opened by Mr. Ibrahim Wani, Chief, Development and Economic and Social Issues Branch, Research and Right to Development Division, OHCHR (see text of opening statement) and by Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, Japanese Government Goodwill Ambassador for human rights of people affected by leprosy (see text of opening statement).

The morning was divided in two sessions:

Session one focused on the principle of discrimination under international human rights law, offering a general framework for the day’s discussion:

  • Mr. Ibrahim Wani, OHCHR (see text of statement)
  • Mr. Stefan Trömel, International Disability Alliance/Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Forum
  • Ms. Zilda Borges, International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement

Session two focused on health-related discrimination, i.e. discrimination derived from a health condition and its impact on the enjoyment of all human rights:

Session three focused on discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. This session benefitted from the participation and personal experiences shared by several distinguished panellists as well as from the expertise of organizations and movements working on leprosy-related discrimination:

  • Statement on behalf of Mr. Sang Kwon Jung, International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement, Republic of Korea (see Powerpoint presentation)
  • Ms. Valdenora Da Cruz Rodrigues, Movimiento de Reintegraçao das Pessoas Atingidas pela Hanseiniase, Brasil
  • Mr. Leulseged Berhane Asres, Executive Director, Ethiopia National Association of Persons Affected by Leprosy, Ethiopia
  • Mr. Douglas Soutar, International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (see Powerpoint presentation)
  • Dr. Karuppannan Gopal, National Forum, India/International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (see Powerpoint presentation)
  • Dr. Arturo Cunanan Jr., Culion Leprosy Control & Rehabilitation Program, Philippines (see Powerpoint presentation)

Documents