A human rights expert called for learning from the history of the struggle against leprosy to fight any epidemic or pandemic, and urged the elimination of discrimination and double standards.
In a statement on the occasion of World Leprosy Day, human rights expert Alice Cruz, the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, said that the response to the Corona pandemic has failed those affected by leprosy and affected by “double standards”.
“The world has witnessed the tremendous negative effects of Corona and the crisis generated by the pandemic … from deprivation of the right to family life, education, housing and employment to domestic and sexual violence. Unfortunately, this is what people with leprosy (also known as Hansen disease) have suffered since thousands of years”.
She indicated that since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic, she has received many reports about the disproportionate negative impact on people with leprosy in many countries, and that she has written an open letter to governments in this regard.
The Special Rapporteur expressed grave concern that since mid-2020, people who have been diagnosed with the disease have not been introduced to essential drugs to treat the disease, among them Brazil.
According to the World Health Organization, Brazil has the highest infection rate per 100,000 people (28,000 cases per year).
The human rights expert pointed to many lessons that can be learned from the history of the struggle of people affected by leprosy against all forms of violence and discrimination. “The most prominent lesson is that there is no better reconstruction if countries fail to put those left behind in the center of recovery,” she said.