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End the laws that discriminate against people with leprosy, join the social media campaign!

India's top national cross disability advocacy group, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has been working towards mainstreaming people affected by leprosy into the disability rights movement in India.

People with leprosy and their families face major stigma and discrimination in India. This is not only from people at large but even laws that discriminate in a significant way. One of the oldest laws in India, The Lepers Act of 1898, sanctioned the arrest and segregation of people affected by leprosy into leper asylums. This was repealed only in May 2016.

Before this was repealed at the national level, it was abandoned by 12 states and five union territories within their boundaries but continued to be in force in the rest of India.

Even today, there are 119 provisions across State and Central laws that discriminate against people affected by leprosy. It is treated as a valid ground for divorce, and people with leprosy are barred from standing for elections, charged higher life insurance premiums, stopped from travelling on trains or applying for driving licences, to name a few.

The Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in 2017 to repeal these 119 laws that discriminate against people with leprosy. This PIL will come up for hearing on 20 August, 2018.

The NCPEDP, Sasakawa - India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF), The Leprosy Mission (TLM) India, Association of People Affected by Leprosy (APAL) and International Association for Integration, Dignity and Economic Advancement (IDEA) has called for these provisions to be repealed through a joint initiative by the disability and leprosy sectors.

To achieve this, the NCPEDP has decided to build on SILF's Independence Day Campaign on #LeprosyFreeMinds as well as the Yellow Ribbon Pledge on Working Towards Leprosy Free Minds https://silf.in/pledge/ to strengthen the joint call for repealing the 119 discriminatory laws. This is to help the leprosy and disability sectors align their advocacy and create awareness among policy makers and the public at large.

To show support, tweet and post on this issue, tagging

  • # Ending Leprosy Discrimination in India
  • # Leprosy Free Minds
  • # Repeal 119 Discriminatory Laws

ALSO READ:Maharashtra's leprosy numbers a strong reminder that the disease is still a strong threat

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