Comunicado de Imprensa

UN human rights expert on leprosy to visit Angola

26 abril 2022

GENEVA (26 April 2022) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, Alice Cruz, will undertake an official visit to Angola from 28 April to 10 May 2022.

“This is the first visit by a UN Special Rapporteur to the country since 2016 and the first visit of the leprosy mandate to Africa,” the expert said. “I am looking forward to exploring the good examples, challenges and opportunities in the elimination of discrimination against those affected by leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease, and their family members.

“My visit will focus primarily on the issues of structural and interpersonal discrimination, anti-discriminatory policies; best strategies for stigma reduction and inclusive development about the specific population of persons affected by leprosy and their family members. I also intend to identify progress and gaps in the implementation of the UN Principles and Guidelines and make constructive recommendations.”

The expert will meet government representatives, civil society organisations, health, law, and social sciences experts, as well as persons affected, their family members and their representative organisations. She will also visit several Hansen’s disease communities in Luanda and Benguela regions, in order to learn their work and discuss their priorities.

At the end of her visit, Cruz will hold a press conference to share her preliminary observations on 10 May 2022 (morning – time and venue to be confirmed). Access to the press conference will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Special Rapporteur's full observations and recommendations will be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in June 2023.

Ms Alice Cruz is the first UN Special Rapporteur on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members, appointed in November 2017 by the Human Rights Council. Ms. Cruz worked as External Professor at the Law School of University Andina Simón Bolívar – Ecuador and in several Portuguese universities as researcher on health and human rights, in particular leprosy. She participated in the elaboration of WHO Guidelines for Strengthening Participation of Persons Affected by Leprosy in Leprosy Services. She has researched and written on the subject of eliminating leprosy and the stigma attached to it and has interacted with various stakeholders, including persons affected by leprosy.

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Follow the Special Rapporteur on leprosy (personal pages) on Facebook and Twitter @srleprosy

For additional information and media requests before and during the visit, please contact: Younkyo Ahn ( / +41 79 444 3993)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts, please contact: Jeremy Laurence (

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UN human rights expert on leprosy to visit Angola

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