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Media advisories Special Procedures

Brazil: UN expert on leprosy to visit

03 May 2019


GENEVA (3 May 2019) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and their family members will make her first official visit to Brazil from 7 to 14 May.

“I am eager to learn about measures the central and local authorities are taking to protect and promote human rights of those affected by Hansen’s disease, and their family members,” said Alice Cruz. “I also intend to identify challenges and gaps in elimination of discrimination and make recommendations.”

“My visit will focus primarily on the issues of structural and interpersonal discrimination, anti-discriminatory policies, and the best strategies to reduce the stigma of the disease and foster inclusive development for people affected.”

The Special Rapporteur will meet federal and local Government representatives, civil society organisations, leprosy experts, as well as people affected, their family members and their representative organisations. She will visit Hansen’s disease communities to discuss their priorities and concerns. 

Cruz will hold a press conference on 14 May to share her preliminary observations. It will begin at 11:30 am local time at the UN House in Brasilia (North Embassy Sector Sergio Vieira de Mello Complex LOte 17 - Asa Norte, Brasília - DF, 70800-922). Access to the press conference will be limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur will submit a comprehensive report to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2020.


Ms Alice Cruz is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, appointed in November 2017 by the Human Rights Council. Ms. Cruz worked as External Professor at the Law School of University Andina Simón Bolívar – Ecuador and in several Portuguese universities as researcher on health and human rights, in particular leprosy. She participated in the elaboration of WHO Guidelines for Strengthening Participation of Persons Affected by Leprosy in Leprosy Services. She has researched and written on the subject of eliminating leprosy and the stigma attached to it and has interacted with various stakeholders, including persons affected by leprosy.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

For additional information before and during the visit please contact in Portuguese, UN Human Rights Adviser Ms. Angela Pires Terto ([email protected]), UN Human Rights Analyst Mr Lorenzo Casagrande ([email protected] / Mobile +55 21 967065913)
or in English, UN Human Rights Officer Ms. Younkyo Ahn ([email protected] / +41 79 444 5515 )

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact: Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / [email protected])

Follow the UN’s independent human rights experts on Twitter @UN_SPExperts

Follow the Special Rapporteur on leprosy (personal pages) on Facebook and Twitter @srleprosy

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