About Drug Policy Reform

Representing different political, cultural and socio-economist contexts, CEECA countries continue to apply prohibition approach and punitive sanctions for drug possession for personal use.

Massive incarceration of people who use drugs is the most obvious, but not the only negative consequence of criminalisation of drug use or possession for personal use. Criminalisation affects health – the fear of police prosecution increases the use of unsterile syringes and thus fuels HIV and viral hepatitis epidemics; overdose mortality rates are also, to a big extend, driven by harsh drug policies. Punitive sanctions for drugs create barriers to social reintegration of people who use drugs decreasing their chance for employment, education and vocational training and, most importantly, building social and family relations.

Punitive sanctions for drug use and possession exit in various forms – it can be years of prison sentences, or arrest for several days, fines or correctional works. While an arrest or a fine cause less harm to health and social wellbeing of an individual than a longterm imprisonment, the substance remains the same – it is a sanction, a punishment, which is aim is to cause suffering, but not to help. Thus real alternatives to criminal sanctions for drugs are not administrative fines but programs that refer people who use drugs to health or social service that they need.

Such referral can be made at the point of arrest and include access to harm reduction programs, opioid substitution and other drug treatment, HIV testing and treatment, mental health programs, vocational training, employment, housing etc. There is growing evidence that diversion from arrest programs cost less and are more effective in terms of decreasing the criminal behaviour (for more information see https://www.leadbureau.org/).

In CEECA diversion from arrest programs only start to be implemented. Pilot programs are run in Estonia and Lithuania, while in a number of countries – Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – their initiation is discussed by national stakeholders. However, the region will go a long way to reorient its drug policies to humanistic and right-based approach.

In fact, any social belief or stereotype built on the thesis that people who use drugs are less worthy of social benefits than those who do not use drugs is a form of violence in itself. Social stigma associated with drugs and criminalisation lead to systematic discrimination of people who use drugs in the healthcare system: they are often denied effective drug treatment such as opioid substitution treatment, HIV and viral hepatitis prevention and treatment, access to pain management, etc. In particular, women who use drugs suffer from disproportional damage: they are deprived of parental rights, they have limited access to sexual and reproductive health care services (especially during pregnancy), they are subjected to brutal police and domestic violence. Their stigmatisation is complex and multifaceted, which makes them much more susceptible and vulnerable to HIV and other infections.

In CEECA, in general, the institutes of the protection of human rights of vulnerable populations are underdeveloped, while there are significant differences in factors that explain low access to and limited efficiency in using human rights instruments. In addition to that, extremely low interest to human rights violations experienced by people who use drugs among ‘mainstream’ human rights and gender rights movements can be explained by extremely high stigma around drug-related issues. In this context, the central role in documenting human rights violation and analysing them through the prism of international and national legislation has to be given to people who use drugs and their ‘traditional allies’ – harm reduction programs.

Regional meetings of EHRA members to elect Steering Committee members in Russia and South-Eastern Europe

On 21 May – 4 June, 2018 EHRA conducts online Regional Meetings of it's members to elect new Steering Committee representatives in the following regions:

  • Russia (Russia);
  • South-Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia).

All members (individual and organizational), who are from the above-mentioned regions and who are approved by the Steering Committee have a right to vote in the Regional meetings.

If you have any questions, please contact General Secretary of the Regional meetings - Eliza Kurcevič members@harmreductioneurasia.org

 

Russia

 

Alexander Levin

Know your candidate
CV (rus)     Motivation Letter

Maxim Malyshev

Know your candidate
CV (rus)     Motivation Letter

South-Eastern Europe

Samir Ibisevic

Know your candidate
CV     Motivation Letter

Miso Pejkovic

Know your candidate
CV     Motivation Letter

EHRA announces the General Meeting and Regional Meetings in Russia and South-Eastern Europe regions

On May 21 – June 4, 2018 Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) conducts the General Meeting of its members. During the fortnight, members of EHRA will have online-voting for six main issues:

  1. Approval of EHRA financial report for 2017 year;
  2. Approval of Regulations of the General and Regional members’ meetings of EHRA;
  3. Approval of Regulations of the Steering Committee of EHRA;
  4. Approval to prolong terms for 2 more months for 5 members of the Steering Committee and shorten term of 2 months for 1 member;
  5. Approval of the timeline of the Regional meetings to elect Steering Committee members;
  6. Approval of EHRA Advisory Board.

All members approved by EHRA Steering Committee may participate in the General Meeting. At the moment, there are 205 members. The full list of members is available on the EHRA website – http://harmreductioneurasia.org/members/

Members from the regions of Russia and South-Eastern Europe will also vote for the Steering Committee members to represent their region. Please, find information about the candidates to the Steering Committee to represent Russia and South-Eastern Europe here: http://harmreductioneurasia.org/regional-meetings-of-ehra-members-to-elect-steering-committee-members-in-russia-and-south-eastern-europe/

Details on the voting procedure and participation can be clarified by contacting Eliza Kurcevic via e-mail: members@harmreductioneurasia.org

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Expert is needed

The consortium of EECA regional community networks is looking for the Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Expert familiar with the Global Fund M&E requirements to join the team in preparing a multi-country advocacy and capacity building proposal.

The expected date of start of the contract is March 1, 2018. Deadline for providing all deliverables – 20th of April, 2018. Please see ME consultant ToR  for more information.

If you are interested in cooperation with EHRA on the subject, please send your C.V. and daily rate to info@harmreductioneurasia.org no later than 26/02/2018 11:59 pm.

 

EXTENDED: EHRA is looking for WordPress developers

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association is looking for WordPress developers to work with two existing WordPress websites. This includes introducing new functionality as well as existing functionality modification. Both websites are running on WordPress and shall be finished by 15th of March, 2018. The content of the websites shall be intact and work not interrupted.

Evaluation will be based on:

  1. Experience in developing similar websites
  2. Ability to finish both websites by set term
  3. Price for both websites, including technical assistance

Providing examples of similar work will be an advantage.

Please send your application to Irena Zubkova at irena@harmreductioneurasia.org by 25th of February, 2018.

Please see more information in the documents below

Terms of Reference

Application Form

EHRA is looking for WordPress developers

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association is looking for WordPress developers to work with two existing WordPress websites. This includes introducing new functionality as well as existing functionality modification. Both websites are running on WordPress and shall be finished by 15th of March, 2018. The content of the websites shall be intact and work not interrupted.

Evaluation will be based on:

  1. Experience in developing similar websites
  2. Ability to finish both websites by set term
  3. Price for both websites, including technical assistance

Providing examples of similar work will be an advantage.

Please send your application to Irena Zubkova at irena@harmreductioneurasia.org by 20th of February, 2018.

Please see more information in the documents attached

Terms of Reference

Application Form

Regional meetings of EHRA members to elect Steering Committee members in the Baltic States, Belarus-Ukraine-Moldova, Central Asia, Central Europe, South-Eastern Europe regions

On 15-29 January, 2018 EHRA conducts online Regional Meetings of it's members to elect new Steering Committee representatives in the following regions:

1) The Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia);
2) Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova;
3) Central Asia  (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan);
4) Central Europe  (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia);
5) South-Eastern Europe  (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia).

All members (individual and organizational), who are from the regions, where elections are taking place and who are approved by the Steering Committee have a right to vote in the Regional meetings.

If you have any questions, please contact General Secretary of the Regional meetings - Eliza Kurcevič members@harmreductioneurasia.org

 

The Baltic States

Elena Antonova

Estonia

Know your candidate
CV (rus)     Motivation letter

Jurgita Poskeviciute

Lithuania

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine

Ala Iatco

Moldova

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

Vitalii Lavryk

Ukraine

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation letter

 

Liudmila Trukhan

Belarus

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation Letter

 

Central Asia


Sagyngali Yelkeyev

Kazakhstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation Letter

Oxana Ibragimova

Kazakhstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)   Motivation letter

 

 

 

 

 

Indira Kazieva

Kyrgyzstan

Know your candidate
CV (rus)    Motivation Letter

 

Central Europe

David Pesek

Czech Republic

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Janko Belin

Slovenia

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

 

 

South-Eastern Europe

Denis Dedajic

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Eroll Shporta

Kosovo

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Samir Ibisevic

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Know your candidate
CV   Motivation Letter

Yulia Georgieva

Bulgaria

Know your candidate
CV    Motivation Letter

 

Open support letter for EHRA

In the beginning of October, a new regional organization, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), launched its work in the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region.

As EHRA is at an early stage of its development, it will need support to get on its feet – support from the community, from partners, from donors, from technical support partners. A group of volunteers initiated a sign-on letter so that partner organizations can express their support for the new association and call for much-needed donor support as well.

The letter is already co-signed by 112 organizations and 19 individuals.

If your organization is ready to support EHRA and co-sign this letter, please send on losehra@gmail.com  the full name of the organization, the name of the signing person and his\her position as well as organization’s logo in JPG format. You may also co-sign the letter as an individual – for that we need your name, surname and a country of residence.

Please see the letter below.

Letter of Support

Thank you for support to EHRA in 2017!

 

Now when we are full of holiday excitement, the only feeling which EHRA team has towards our partners is deep gratefulness for your support! Being registered in spring and having started active operations in September, we already have a lot to be proud of.

By the end of the year Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) unites 185 members from all CEECA countries.  For the Association, the main task is to build proper governance processes to involve members into content discussion and decision making.

On 27th of November the first General Meeting of EHRA members was successfully completed. As a result, we have the Steering Committee representing all sub-regions, supported by all voting EHRA members. The in-person Steering Committee meeting will be held in February 2018.

The Statute of EHRA was updated by the decision of the General Meeting, and now the governance structure includes in line with the General and Regional Meetings and the Steering Committee, an Advisory Board and a Treasurer to ensure the transparency and sustainability of the organisation.

The General Meeting also approved EHRA strategic framework for 2018-2019. Full scale strategic planning process is planned for the second part of 2019. Mission of EHRA is defined as the creation of favourable environment for sustainable harm reduction programs and decent lives of people who use drugs in CEECA region.

We have ambitious strategic objectives:

SO1: To ensure sustainability and efficiency of harm reduction services in CEECA region;

SO2: To advocate for non-punitive drug policies in CEECA region based on public health and human rights;

SO3: To develop leadership and expertise of civil society and people who use drugs in monitoring of drug policies, financing, access and quality of harm reduction services in CEECA region;

SO4: To strengthen organizational governance and operational systems, program efficiency and financial sustainability of EHRA.

EHRA is now implementing 9 advocacy, regional coordination and community capacity projects with a 1,5 mln Euro budget, 450K of which were received in 2017. We are grateful to our partners from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, AFEW International, Open Society Foundations, Robert Carr civil society Networks Fund, Rights Reporter Foundation, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Levi Strauss Foundation, who have supported building capacities of the Association and helped to start-up the operations and program activities in a rather crisis situation.

During this period EHRA has already supported 8 drug users community groups and civil society organisations through small grants program. We are proud to support work of DUNews, unique video advocacy initiative. For regional community of people who use drugs, a study-tour visit to Porto to examine effective alternatives to punishment and to discuss drug policy reforms in EECA countries organised by EHRA, was a very important step in learning and joining efforts.

For the Association, it is strategically important to provide platform for joint advocacy efforts of different civil society organizations and regional communities aimed at ensuring sustainable funding of services for drug users. Since December 2017 EHRA has started to work as a Regional CRG platform to coordinate technical support for communities in the region. We have already played an active role as regional civil society representatives in the Senior Level Policy Dialogue “Addressing HIV and TB Challenges: from Donor Support to Sustainable Health Systems”, conducted under the auspices of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, and participate in the work of the EU Civil society forum on HIV, TB, Hepatitis core group.

Since November we already have a fully functioning office with necessary equipment and 13 full-time Secretariat staff members. Operational procedures, accounting system and all documents are already in place.

These all have become possible only because of cooperation and active work of the Steering Committee members, Secretariat staff who worked for two months as volunteers to start EHRA operation, and thanks to support of civil society colleagues and partners all around the Globe. This year has proved that we are very strong and together we can overcome any challenges.

The EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat team are ready for 2018 in full power! We are working to ensure a voice of the CEECA region in AIDS2018 in Amsterdam is heard. We are looking forward to work together with key regional community networks in joint advocacy efforts and capacity building initiatives.

Looking forward to our bright partnerships in 2018!

Happy holidays!

EHRA Steering Committee and Secretariat

EECA Regional Communities Consortium is created

A Memorandum to create an EECA Regional Communities Consortium has been signed on December 20, 2017 in Kyiv, Ukraine. The goal of the Consortium is to unite the efforts of key populations networks of Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) in developing a long-term multi-country program on increasing efficiency and sustainability of national HIV strategies in the region.

The Consortium members believe that strategic and sufficient national funding international cooperation and meaningful participation of key communities are laying the ground for effective national responses to the HIV epidemic in EECA. Main joint priorities for communities are ensuring of HIV prevention and treatment sustainability and quality combined with reduction of prices of HIV drugs.

The Consortium members plan to approach the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for financial support for a multi-country program.

The Regional Communities Consortium consists of following key communities’ networks:

–          Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA),

–          Eurasian Coalition on Male Health (ECOM),

–          Eurasian Network of People Using Drugs (ENPUD),

–          Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (EWNA),

–          Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN).