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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

NEWS: Japan Issues Statement at UNHRC

Raises issue of discrimination as a serious violation of human rights.

On March 13, the Japanese government issued a statement at the 7th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva to draw the Council's attention to the issue of discrimination against people affected by leprosy and their families.

The statement noted that while leprosy is now curable and the number of cases is in decline, those affected by the disease and their families continue to face prejudice.

"We would like to raise the issue of leprosy as an issue of discrimination. The international community should recognize that discrimination against leprosy-affected persons is a serious violation of human rights. The stigma of leprosy must be erased," the statement said.

The government of Japan has taken a variety of measures to eliminate discrimination relating to leprosy, including the appointment last September of Yohei Sasakawa as its Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by Leprosy.

BANNERS OF HONOR

IDEA members display "banners of honor" in Hyderabad recently. The banners remember the contributions made by individuals with leprosy.

9TH TAG MEETING INCLUDES STIGMA

The 9th Meeting of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Leprosy Control was held in Cairo on March 6-7. For the first time, a TAG meeting included a session on stigma and discrimination, and invited a person affected by leprosy - Jose Ramirez, Jr. - to address it.

BACURAU VIRTUAL MUSEUM

A museum devoted to the memory of late Brazilian activist Francisco Nunes ("Bacurau") is now online at www.casadebacurau.com.br/en/nav.html

It tells the story of his life and documents his struggle for the human rights and dignity of people affected by leprosy. Bacarau died in 1997.