“I welcome the commitments made by the Angolan government to actively engage with the international human rights system and to eliminate discrimination related to leprosy, but the authorities must redouble their efforts to achieve this goal,” said the UN expert, at the end of his official visit to Angola, from 28 April to 10 May 2022.
Alice Cruz, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and their family members, expressed her deep concern that many people experience delays in diagnosis, which can lead to permanent damage, reactions to Hansen’s disease and lack of provision of rehabilitation facilities, reconstructive surgery , and tools. Unfortunately, the healthcare system in Angola is not prepared to address this problem. He urged authorities to give priority to addressing the following challenges: collecting data to inform evidence-based policies, guaranteeing access to information and enabling accountability; effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; proper budget allocation at national and local level, with targets, indicators and benchmarks.
“Hansen’s disease data is unreliable. As the government recognizes, it is highly likely that there will be substantial under-reporting in the country, which will increase transmission and disability, including among children. Furthermore, more needs to be done to effectively prevent, monitor, hold accountable and remedy discrimination and human rights abuses against people with Hansen’s disease and members of their families, as institutional and interpersonal discrimination persist. However, a more important issue impacting the lives of people affected by Hansen’s disease and their family members in Angola is substantive discrimination, which calls for redistribution policies and the enforcement of key social and economic rights, but also disability rights,” he added. .
UN experts urge governments, as part of a national human rights strategy, to develop national plans for the implementation of the principles and guidelines, ensuring the full participation of people affected by Hansen’s disease and their representative organizations in the design, implementation and evaluation of the entire process.
During his visit, Cruz met with government representatives, including relevant Ministries and the Ombudsman, as well as representatives of civil society organizations, academics, health workers and experts. He visited the Tuberculosis and Leprosy Dispensary, and several health centers in Funda and Benguela. He heard valuable testimonies from several people with Hansen’s disease and their family members.
The Special Rapporteur will present his report on a visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023.
Distributed by the APO Group on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
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Angola: Leprosy reflects the gap between the law in books and the law in practice
Source link Angola: Leprosy reflects the gap between the law in books and the law in practice