New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday December 22 expressed serious concerns over the human rights issues of people affected with leprosy amid Covid-19 pandemic, and its impact on the mental health.
Justice Arun Mishra, Chairperson, NHRC, said that there are still many discriminatory laws, which need to be either amended or repealed and replaced with the policies and frameworks that will protect the human rights of the people affected with leprosy.
“Their social and economic empowerment needs to be prioritized to bring them in the mainstream of society,” Mishra said while chairing a session on the issues related to the people affected by leprosy.
The people affected with leprosy need to be provided with sustained supply of medicines, basic amenities and vocational training to help them make their living to improve their socio-economic conditions, said the NHRC.
The commission said awareness about leprosy needs to be built through a sustained campaign to end myth about the disease and the discrimination against those who suffer with it and their family members.
While talking on the mental impact of Covid pandemic, Justice M. M. Kumar said that the mental health sector remains a concern.
The Covid-19 pandemic has added up to the problems related to mental health issues. He said that the implementation of the advisories issued by the commission as a guiding principle to deal with this challenge by the concerned authorities.
The deliberation said that states should submit an Action Taken Report on the NHRC advisories on mental health and increase budgetary allocation for the mental health and in particular for the district mental health programme.
To avoid disparity in reporting, the NHRC said transparency in maintaining data and its methods in every district should be standardised.
It also expressed concerns on Omicron preparedness and the lack of clarity on the efficacy of the booster dose for Covid-19 which needs to be looked into on priority to avoid mental stress related to it.