Joint efforts for creating a non-discriminatory environment for people affected by leprosy

As a run-up to the Global Disability Summit slated to be held on July 24 in London, UK, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), along with the Government of India and the Government of the United Kingdom organised a 2-day National Disability Consultation in Delhi, from July 19-20.

The Leprosy Mission Trust India (TLMTI), owing to its work with people affected by leprosy (leprosy is a leading cause of permanent physical disabilities) was invited to attend the consultation, and Ms Nikita Sarah, Head of Advocacy and Communication represented TLMTI at the consultation.

In the Round Table consultation on the ways and means to create a non-discriminatory environment for people affected by leprosy to live as equal citizens, TLMTI’s efforts for mainstreaming the rights of people affected by leprosy in the disability rights movement, and its work towards repealing discriminatory laws were much appreciated. Nikita spoke about TLMTI’s contribution in framing rules under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, at the Central and state levels.

Also present at the Round Table consultation were key members of organisations of people affected by leprosy, such as Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL); International Association for Integration, Dignity, and Economic Advancement (IDEA); and Hind Kusht Nivaran Sangh (HKNS).

During the consultation, it was decided that all key stakeholders in the leprosy sector would come together to advocate for developing the assessment criteria for people affected by leprosy under this Act, repealing the discriminatory laws, and run a social media campaign for this. These issues will be further discussed at the Global Disability Summit.

Further, the participants signed up the ‘Charter for Change’ of the Global Disability Summit, which calls for accelerating political will to translate promises into change.