Global Appeal 2008 [2008/02/27]
Sasakawa with the presenters of Global Appeal 2008
On January 28, Global Appeal 2008 to End Stigma and Discrimination against People Affected by Leprosy was launched at the Royal Society of Medicine in London. Appeals have been issued every year since 2006, to coincide with World Leprosy Day, the last Sunday in January. The aim of the effort is to eliminate leprosy and solve the human rights problems related to the disease. This year, the third global appeal was signed and announced by the representatives of ten international organizations that are engaged in global activities to protect human rights. Among the groups are Amnesty International, the International Commission of Jurists, the International Save the Children Alliance, the World Women’s Summit Federation, and the Nippon Foundation. （Photo：The Royal Academy of Medicine）
Leprosy is only weakly infectious, and has been curable since the 1980s. However, even individuals who have been cured of leprosy frequently face discrimination and prejudice, due to residual disabilities such as deformations of the face, hands or feet. In addition, family members are also discriminated against in terms of education and employment opportunities. This year’s appeal aims to overcome such discrimination.
The global appeal was read by Sahira Adam Hamadi (11) and Ame Juma Muhamed (12), children from Tanzania who have overcome the disease. This was the first time the two children had been out of Tanzania and they appeared surprised to see such a large audience, but read the appeal in clear, steady voices. （Photo:Presenters of the Global Appeal）
Global Appeal 2008 was an initiative of Yohei Sasakawa, chairman of the Nippon Foundation, WHO Goodwill Ambassador for the Elimination of Leprosy and Japan’s Goodwill Ambassador for the Human Rights of People Affected by Leprosy. In his keynote speech, Chairman Sasakawa asked for the cooperation of all involved parties, saying, “Let us work together to solve the human rights problems of leprosy, in keeping with the spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
Chairman Sasakawa and other advocates will continue their efforts, aiming to establish guidelines for eliminating discrimination related to leprosy at the United Nations Human Rights Council and to pass a related resolution at the United Nations General Assembly.
*The movie is here