The Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva, Ambassador Vincenzo Grassi, took the floor today during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, in the framework of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council.
Italy is “concerned about the persistence of discrimination, stigmatization and segregation of persons affected by leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and their family members, despite 13 years have passed since the adoption of the Resolution 65/215 by the General Assembly, which, recalling the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, reaffirmed that these persons should be treated as individuals with dignity and are entitled to all human rights and fundamental freedoms”, stated the Permanent Representative.
He added that “the fact that women and children are among the most vulnerable to leprosy-related discrimination is particularly worrying, including for its negative implications on gender equality and the enjoyment of the right to education” and that therefore Italy welcomes the continuous engagement of the UN Special Rapporteur with the WHO, UNICEF and UN-Women.
Ambassador Grassi underlined that “the fight against all forms of discrimination is an integral part of Italy’s commitment to protect and promote human rights at the international level”, encouraging all States to implement the UN Principles and Guidelines for the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.
In conclusion the Permanent Representative recalled that “in 1999 Italy adopted national Guidelines for the control of Hansen’s disease, using a more neutral term which might contribute, as highlighted by the Special Rapporteur, to reduce the harmful stereotypes attached to the term leprosy”.
Read the full statement here.