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A victory for leprosy voices at the UN's Disability Conference - June 2021

A man in Mozambique stands in front of a faded blue wall

The UN's CRPD Conference is the biggest event in the world of disability rights. It happens each year and in 2021 there were three fantastic victories for the voices of persons affected by leprosy.

TLM hosted a leprosy-focused event at the conference

The Leprosy Mission's event focused on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on persons affected by leprosy and what the future looks like for the fight to defeat leprosy post-Covid. We heard from five persons affected by leprosy and two leprosy experts. Through these speakers we heard stories of personal suffering, calls for serious change, and warnings of what could happen if we do not respond to the crisis that Covid-19 has caused amongst leprosy communities. The speakers represented the international nature of leprosy, with representatives from Brazil, Nigeria, Ethiopia, India, and Nepal. Each speaker's words were powerful and we pray that they left an impact on all those who heard them.

Watch the full recording of the event.

Amar Timalsina, TLM Trustee, spoke at the conference's general debate

Amar is a person affected by leprosy and a leprosy champion. He has spoken at the UN's CRPD Conference on three separate occasions and always speaks from the heart. Amar's personal experiences of leprosy have been harrowing at points, which makes him an amazingly powerful advocate. In 2021, Amar spoke as a representative of ILEP, his contributed to the conference's general debate session on day two. He spoke of the stigma that still mars the lives of so many persons affected by leprosy and demanded change.

Watch Amar's speech below.

Mathias Duck, TLM Global Advocacy Manager, closed out the conference

Mathias Duck spoke at the closing session of the conference on Thursday 17 June. Mathias' speech was an opportunity to share some of the tragedy that has become a reality for too many people affected by leprosy during Covid-19. He also celebrated the incredible efforts of leprosy peoples' organisations, many of whom reached out to the most vulnerable in their communities to provide live-changing and live-saving support.

Watch Mathias' speech below.

We hope that all of these contributions will play a part in creating real change on the ground for persons affected by leprosy. We wish our words to resonate in the ears of policymakers and those in a position to help. We commit to contributing to the UN's disability rights discourse for as long as it takes to achieve justice for all persons affected by leprosy.