Praise from the East Timor President at the UN Security Council Meeting [2012/03/15]
Praise from the East Timor President at the UN Security Council Meeting
One great source of satisfaction for me has been to see the remarkable progress made over the years to eliminate leprosy and overcome the discrimination directed at people affected by it. The progress has of course come through the tireless daily activities of thousands of people around the world. The Nippon Foundation has done its utmost to provide support to those individual efforts and channel them together into a powerful global movement.
Part of this effort has involved encouraging the United Nations, as the preeminent global organization, to work together with others to raise awareness about the disease and dispel misconceptions. Given this central role of the UN, I was very pleased to learn recently that our struggle against leprosy was recognized at the February 22, 2012, meeting of the UN Security Council.
The following statement recognizing those efforts was made by José Manuel Ramos-Horta, the president of East Timor: “There cannot be a nobler mission than that of rescuing our fellow human beings from the centuries old illness of leprosy. With the support of the Nippon Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO) and the commitment and dedication of its patron, Mr. Yohei Sasakawa, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Elimination of Leprosy, the incidence of the disease in Timor-Leste is now less than one case per 10,000 people. Leprosy is considered by the WHO to have been medically eliminated in Timor-Leste, for the first time in centuries.”
It is flattering to be recognized personally for my part in the struggle against leprosy, because I consider it my life’s work, but what pleases me much more is that the generous statement of President Ramos-Horta reflects how far we have all come together in the hard struggle to eliminate leprosy and end leprosy-related discrimination. And this kind of recognition is a great motivator to redouble our efforts to get over the remaining hurdles. (Those interested in reading the minutes from the UN Security Meeting can find them here.N1223800.pdf)