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“I welcome the Angolan government’s commitment to actively engage with the international human rights system and eliminate discrimination related to leprosy, but the authorities must redouble their efforts to achieve this goal,” the UN expert said at the end of her official visit to Angola from April 28 to May 10. 2022

Alice Cruz, UN Special Rapporteur on the Elimination of Discrimination against People with Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease) and Members of Their Families, expressed deep concern that many people were diagnosed late, which could cause irreversible harm, the reaction to Han and lack of rehabilitative, reconstructive surgery and aids. Unfortunately, Angola’s health system is not ready to address this issue. She called on the authorities to give priority to the following tasks: collecting data to inform sound policies, guaranteeing the right of access to information and creating accountability; effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; proper allocation of budgetary resources at the national and subnational levels, indicating targets, indicators and benchmarks.

“Data on Hansen’s disease are unreliable. According to the government, it is very likely that there is a significant underestimation of accountability in the country, which will lead to an increase in transmission and disability in children. Much more needs to be done to effectively prevent, control, prosecute and eliminate discrimination and human rights violations against Hansen victims and their families, as institutionalized and interpersonal discrimination persists. However, a more important issue affecting the lives of people affected by Hansen’s disease and their families in Angola is material discrimination, which requires policies to redistribute and respect key social and economic rights, as well as the rights of persons with disabilities. ” she added.

The UN expert called on the government as part of a national human rights strategy to develop a national plan to implement the principles and guidelines that ensure the full participation of people affected by Hansen’s disease and their representative organizations in the development, implementation and evaluation of the whole process.

During the visit, Cruz met with government officials, including relevant ministries and the ombudsman, as well as with representatives of NGOs, academia, health professionals and experts. She visited the dispensary against tuberculosis and leprosy, as well as several medical centers in Funda and Bengel. She listened to the valuable testimonies of several people affected by Hansen’s disease and members of their families.

The Special Rapporteur will present his report on his visit to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

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