The Leprosy Mission has had recent success in advocating for leprosy-affected people in Nigeria by having its submission on discrimination faced by people affected by leprosy accepted by the UN Human Rights Council.
The Leprosy Mission Nigeria and the International office worked together to submit a statement for inclusion in the Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) Universal Periodic Review regarding the ongoing myths and superstitions in Nigeria which has led to the incorrect perception among many people in the country that leprosy is highly infectious. This has resulted in exclusion and discriminatory practices against people affected by leprosy and their families.
As a result, UNHRC has asked the government of Nigeria to respond to the claims made by TLM by outlining what steps have been initiated:
1. To raise awareness about leprosy
2. To ensure early detection of leprosy
3. To prevent stigma leading to discrimination
The UN Human Rights Council will carry out its Universal Periodic Review of the government of Nigeria between 5-16 November. Universal Periodic Reviews are used by the United Nations (UN) to provide an opportunity for each UN Member State to declare what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. It aims to improve the human rights situation in all countries and address human rights violations wherever they occur.
This is a significant moment for TLM Nigeria to put pressure on the government to take much-needed action to prevent further discrimination and suffering of people affected by leprosy.
TLM’s advocacy work around the world raises awareness of the needs and rights of leprosy- and disability-affected people and is a vital tool in bringing about TLM’s vision of leprosy defeated, lives transformed.