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WHO Goodwill Ambassador's Newsletter For The Elimination Of Leprosy

HUMAN RIGHTS: History Is Made in Geneva

UNHRC resolution to end leprosy-based discrimination breaks new ground.

On 18 June, the Human Rights Council unanimously adopted Resolution 8/13 on “Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.” This is the full text.

The Human Rights Council,

Recalling the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including Article 1 that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, and that they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood,

Recalling also the provisions of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, including article 12,

Taking note of the work of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,

Noting the report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (A/58/427), in which he reported that persons affected by leprosy and their family members often suffer stigma and discrimination born of ignorance and prejudice,

Recognizing that more than 16 million people affected by leprosy have been cured worldwide since the 1980s and that leprosy as a disease has been scientifically and medically proven to be curable and manageable,

Recognizing also that tens of millions of people and their family members still suffer from leprosy not only as a disease but also from political, legal, economic or social discrimination and ostracization due to society's lack of knowledge and misguided notions, such as leprosy being incurable or hereditary, and that the issue of leprosy is not only a matter or medicine or health but also one of discrimination that can give rise to a clear violation of human rights,

Taking note of the previous work done by the Commission on Human Rights and its mechanism on discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members,

Encouraging States to share best practices on combating discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members and also on their efforts to achieve full recovery from and manage this disease,

1. Affirms that persons affected by leprosy and their family members should be treated as individuals with dignity and are entitled to all basic human rights and fundamental freedoms under customary international law, relevant conventions and national constitutions and laws;

2. Calls upon Governments to take effective measures to eliminate any type of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, including awareness-raising;

3. Requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to include the issue of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members as an important matter in its human rights education and awareness-raising activities;

4. Also requests the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to collect information on the measures that Governments have taken to eliminate discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and, if extra-budgetary funding is available, to hold a meeting to exchange views amongst relevant actors, including Governments, observers of the United Nations, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and programmes, non-governmental organizations, scientists, medical experts as well as representatives of persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to transmit a report to the Council and the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee;

5. Requests the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to examine the report referred to in paragraph 4 above, and to formulate a draft set of principles and guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, and to submit it to the Council for its consideration by September 2009;

6. Decides to consider this issue based on these reports submitted to the Council in September 2009.