Recommendations of the International Symposium Held at Vatican City

A two-day International Symposium was held this summer at Vatican City by the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers, the Good Samaritan Foundation and the Nippon Foundation in cooperation with the Foundation Raoun Follereau, the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Sasakawa Memorial Health Foundation .


  1. Given their important role in their respective communities of believers, the leaders of all religions—and this is an important and urgent matter—should, in their teachings, writings and speeches, contribute to the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy by spreading awareness that leprosy is curable and stressing that there is no reason to discriminate against anyone affected by leprosy or members of their families.
  2. States and governments should be encouraged to make great efforts to implement the ‘Principles and Guidelines’ accompanying the resolution adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 2010 on Elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members. These ‘Principles and Guidelines’ must be fully implemented, otherwise they will remain just empty proclamations.
  3. There should be a modification or abolition of all laws and regulations that discriminate against persons affected by leprosy. Policies relating to family, work, schools, or any other area which directly or indirectly discriminate against persons affected by leprosy must also be changed, recognising that no one must be discriminated against because of the fact that he or she has, or once had, leprosy.
  4. There is a need for further scientific research to develop new medical tools to prevent and treat leprosy and its complications, and to achieve better diagnostic methods.
  5. In order to achieve a world free of leprosy and the discrimination it causes, the efforts of all the Churches, religious communities, international organizations, governments, major foundations, NGOs, and associations of persons affected by leprosy which have hitherto contributed to the fight against this disease should be unified and joint plans of cooperation should be developed.