On 12 September 2022, the National Leprosy Programme of Nepal held a meeting in Kathmandu focused on repealing Nepal’s Civil Code 2074. The civil code outlines divorce parameters and specifically calls out leprosy as a reason for divorce. The meeting was focused on highlighting the stigma created by calling out leprosy in the law.
The event was sponsored by The Leprosy Mission Nepal, Damien Foundation, NLR, ILEP, Fairmed, IDEA Nepal, and GPZL. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Nepal Supreme Court, the Nepal Bar Association, and National Human Rights Nepal. Advocates explained how stigma can lead to hesitancy in treatment-seeking, delayed diagnosis, and higher rates of disability. There was testimony from persons affected by leprosy, as well as a presentation on the experience of repealing similar discriminatory laws in India. The Law and Justice Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office have prepared an amendment and will file it once the newly elected Parliament is in office.