January 25, 2015
On the occasion of World Leprosy Day, 25 January, the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) has raised awareness on the continuous existence of discrimination against people affected by leprosy. According to the organisation, worldwide discrimination still exists, despite the adoption in 2010 of a resolution against it by the UN General Assembly.
ILEP’s ongoing survey of the 63 countries where its 14 members operate reveals that some 19 countries still have laws in place that discriminate against people with leprosy. In the past, people affected by leprosy were forcibly quarantined under the law in isolated hospitals, sanatoria or leprosy colonies. Such laws are still on the statute books in several countries.
Even today discrimination may occur in employment, marriage, use of public places including hotels and restaurants, and transport. In some parts of the world, it is still difficult for people with leprosy to work, remain married or travel freely.