Gospel for Asia: Fight for Zero Leprosy a Critical Human Rights Issue (Part 2)
WILLS POINT, TX — Gospel for Asia (GFA World, founded by Dr. KP Yohannan) issues the second part of a Special Report update on the current progress in the fight for zero leprosy, and how we can eliminate this disease and it’s stigma on a personal level.
Zero Leprosy: A Human Rights Issue
Advocates for zero leprosy are active on the social battle-front as well. The shunning and discrimination experienced by people with leprosy are gradually being recognized as an issue of human rights, not only the result of a medical problem, which means appropriate actions can be taken to combat the issue.
Alice Cruz, UN Special Rapporteur, speaks out boldly against the abused rights of people affected by Hansen’s disease.
“Persons affected by leprosy and their families have been subjected to serious human rights violations,” she says. “They have been denied their dignity and their basic human rights; subjected to stigmatizing language, segregation, separation from their families, and separation within the household, even from their children.”
Alice and many others are calling upon nations to take action on behalf of leprosy-afflicted individuals and their families, making it known that social rejection of leprosy patients is needless and unacceptable.
Groups such as the Global Partnership for Zero Leprosy and International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) are working at an international level to eliminate leprosy, in part by changing the way people with Hansen’s disease are perceived by society.
ILEP maintains careful watch on the 136 policies globally that promote or enable discrimination against people afflicted with leprosy and seeks to help those policies change. These legislations range from permitting divorce and expelling students from universities to requiring that individuals with leprosy be deported. It’s hard to believe that people infected with a completely curable disease can be legally deported in parts of the world, but that is the reality of the extreme fear and stigma linked to leprosy.
Social rejection of leprosy patients is needless and unacceptable.
In addition to seeking changes in laws regarding people with Hansen’s disease, ILEP is also influencing people’s everyday approach to leprosy. When writing about leprosy and the people whom it affects, they adhere to strict guidelines as to the terminology, imagery and photography used. They reach out to media sources to encourage them to alter their pieces to ensure that people with leprosy are treated with respect and dignity. ILEP challenges everyone to do the same, even providing samples of how to respectfully request someone to change their terminology.
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