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A message of Support from ILEP

Page history last edited by happylosheng@gmail.com 12 years, 10 months ago

A message of Support from ILEP (International Federation of Anti Leprosy Associations, UK)

 

 

 

ILEP (the International Federation of anti Leprosy Associations) has 14 Members around the world. We are working for a world without leprosy and continue to work against the stigma and discrimination that is still felt by people affected by leprosy.

 

 

As the General Secretary of ILEP, I am writing to apologise that I am unable to join you in your workshop on ensuring the rights of the older generation of people affected by leprosy. I hope that through this message I can convey my solidarity with your objectives and also express the continuing concerns of ILEP over the proposed forcible eviction of the residents of Lo Sheng Hospital in Taiwan from the place that has become their home as well as the proposed complete destruction of this internationally significant site in the history of leprosy.

 

 

The forced displacement from their homes of people who were first separated from their families due to society’s fear of leprosy and are now facing a second displacement because land rights are being given priority over human rights, is an issue which greatly concerns ILEP.

 

 

Prior to the advent of a cure for leprosy, people throughout the world were forcibly separated from their families and isolated in hospitals far removed from society.  This was done for the supposed protection of society at great cost to the lives of the individuals and their families.  In fact, in some cases, whole family lines came to an end if an only child had leprosy.

 

 

Now that the land that many of these hospitals are located on has become valuable, plans are made for the use of the land that does not take into consideration the ethical and humanitarian issues surrounding the repeated displacement of people from the places that have become their homes.

 

 

Many countries throughout the world have recognized the historical significance of the leprosy hospitals where people have been isolated as well as the rights of individuals to live out their lives in the places that have become their homes.  This has resulted in creative efforts to develop adapted use facilities that work to benefit society in many ways and also provide for preserving the history and the lifestyle of individuals living in these places.

 

 

We fervently hope that the government and people of Taiwan will recognize that the residents of Lo Sheng are themselves a national treasure. Through their lives and testimony, they have the ability to teach present and future generations about issues fundamental to the promotion of peace and justice in our world.  They have undergone separation from that which was most dear to them yet do not harbour revenge or hatred.  They simply request that their history be honoured and that they be allowed to remain in their home.

 

 

I hope that we can all work together in a unified effort to ensure that this chapter in Taiwan’s history will be remembered as an example of justice and humanity rather than an example of the use of force and coercion against elderly individuals who gave up their families and their futures a lifetime ago in order that society could feel safe.

 

I wish the participants in your workshop every success.

 

 

 

 

 

Douglas Soutar

ILEP General Secretary

 

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