17 June 2020, Russian Civil Society Mechanism for Monitoring of Drug Policy Reforms, together with the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (Russia) and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association appealed to the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The actions of the Russian authorities described in the complaint constitute a systematic violation of the State’s obligations to comply with article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as they infringe upon the right to freedom of expression on drug policy issues, and article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by infringing upon the right of vulnerable groups (people who use drugs) and professionals working with them to obtain and circulate reliable and vital information on scientific and technological developments.
In our opinion, a joint appeal by the Special Rapporteurs to the Government of the Russian Federation with recommendations to respect the rights of the mass media and non-profit organisations to freedom of expression and opinion on drug policy issues, the rights of affected groups to receive reliable and scientifically proven information on medical and preventive programmes, harm reduction and substitution therapy, based on the para. 3 of the Human Rights Council Resolutions No. 34/18 of 24 March 2017, para. 5 of Human Rights Council Resolution No. 42/16 of 26 September 2019, would serve as a timely and justified measure aimed at restoring the obligations violated by the state.