Forum of Parliamentarians to Free India of Leprosy

 

Inception of Parliamentarian Forum
The International Symposium on Leprosy and Human Rights was held on 4th October, 2012 to discuss how the Resolution adopted at the United Nations General Assembly in 2010, on Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members can be put into practice.

As a part of the Symposium, a panel discussion was held among the Parliamentarians on how to take forward the issues of leprosy and human rights in the context of the UN Resolution.

The panel, headed by Dr. Daggubati Purandeswari, then MoS-Ministry of HRD and including Mr Dinesh Trivedi MP and former Union Minister of Railways and Mr Madhu Goud Yaskhi, former MP, Nizamabad AP, announced the formation of an informal Forum of like-minded Parliamentarians cutting across party lines, committed to work towards a leprosy free India. They offered their good offices and influence in the legislature to raise awareness about leprosy and bring about changes that would ensure the basic human rights of the leprosy affected.

Mr. Dinesh Trivedi and Mr. Madhu Goud Yaskhi were nominated Convenor and co-convenor of the Forum respectively.

Objective
The objectives of the Forum were to
i) Reduce the stigma against leprosy affected people both because it limits the medical reach of the leprosy eradication program and is a violation of human rights and
ii) Promote empowerment of leprosy affected people to bring them into the mainstream.

Major areas of focus
• Awareness
1. Sensitizing the Government about leprosy and situation of the people affected
2. Sensitizing the general public through the good offices of the Members of the Forum by talking about the issues at public fora.
• Empowerment
1. Bridging the gap between people affected by leprosy and concerned ministries.

Through the Forum, a proactive group of Parliamentarians could bring about the needed changes in discriminatory laws, in inclusion of leprosy affected in the government welfare schemes as well as in creating awareness and acceptability of leprosy affected people at the National, State as well as local level. To do so, this group of Parliamentarians need to be encouraged and supported to develop an action plan and implement the same.

The Forum is supported by Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation, an India registered NGO in New Delhi.

Members & Mandate
It was decided that the membership of the Forum would be open to all current and past MPs and would cut across party lines. Mr. Dinesh Trivedi, Convenor of the Forum sent letters inviting Members of Parliament to join the Forum were sent to all 800 plus Members of Parliament in RS and LS.

S-ILF received confirmation regarding membership for the Forum from 65 MPs till date. Since then with the change in the Loksabha membership, some of the members are no longer MPs and other new members have joined.

List of References Documents