EHRA letter to support release of Andrey Yarovoy

Kobtseva Olga Anatolyevna

Representative of the Lugansk Republic in the humanitarian subgroup of the Tripartite Contact Group on the settlement of the conflict in the Donbass

Dear Olga Anatolyevna,

On behalf of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) allow me to express our utmost concern about the fate, life and health of Andrei Mikhailovich Yarovoy, a citizen of Ukraine, date of birth 11/06/1967, who has been detained for 10 months in the territory of the Lugansk Republic.

Since 2009, Andrei has been a patient of opioid substitution therapy (buprenorphine). Andrei is a member of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD), the All-Ukrainian Association of People Who Use Drugs Volna, a human rights defender and a consultant to monitor the quality of services of the International Charitable Foundation “Alliance for Public Health”. Andrei worked in HIV / AIDS prevention programs that have been supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria since 2004. Andrei is a specialist in organizing HIV prevention and treatment programs for people who use drugs, who actively helped representatives of this group to access HIV treatment in Donbass since 2015, where programs supported by the Global Fund were implemented at that time.

On July 25, 2018, Andrei Yarovoy left Kiev for Lugansk as a consultant to the Alliance tfor Public Health o study the access of populations with a high risk of HIV infection to prevention services and life-saving treatment. On August 26, 2018, when Andrei crossed the checkpoint in the Krasnodonsky district, he was detained with 38 tablets of buprenorphine hydrochloride, a medicine used for opioid substitution therapy (OST), with a total weight of 0.152 mg. On the eve, Andrei legally received a 10-day supply of this drug (in total 0.16 g) for the treatment of his own chronic disease in a medical institution in Kiev. On August 27, 2018, Andrei was arrested, later convicted and sentenced to lengthy term with confiscation of property under Part 3 of Article 282 and Part 2 of Article 276 of the Criminal Code of the Lugansk Republic. At the moment, Andrei is being held in prison at 94420, p. Lininskoe, Sverdlovsk district, st. Profsoyuznaya, 16.

In November 2018, Professor Michel Kazatchkine, Special Adviser to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV / AIDS (UNAIDS) for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, published an explanation of the status of methadone and buprenorphine in the World Health Organization Model List of Essential Drugs for Basic Health and Treatment Systems most important diseases based on criteria of efficacy, safety and economic viability. These drugs are recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of opioid dependence as an opioid substitution treatment (OST). Opioid substitution therapy is one of the most studied medical practices for the treatment of addiction and the prevention of blood borne infections. It is endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), medical professional organizations and researchers in the European Union and the United States and is widely used in most countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances provides for the possibility of transporting controlled drugs across borders for person’s own medical needs.

The humanitarian activity of Andrei Yarovoy is recognized by the world community. On April 28, 2019, during the grand opening of the 26th International Harm Reduction Conference in Porto (Portugal), Andrei Yarovoy was awarded the authoritative international aCarol and Travis Jenkins Award as a victim of human rights violations related to illegal imprisonment for storage of legally obtained medical drug. This award has been presented annually since 2005 to people who use drugs, who make an outstanding contribution to the potential harmful effects of substance use.

On behalf of the community of civil society organizations working and defending the rights of people who use drugs, activists and experts in the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, we ask you to consider the earliest possible release of Andrei Yarovoy and his return to his family, friends and his professional humanitarian work.

With respect and hope for a positive decision on the fate of Andrei Yarovoy,

Anna Dovbakh

Executive Director

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association

* The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EASA) is a non-profit public organization, registered on the initiative of harm reduction activists and organizations from Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) in 2017 and uniting 251 organizational and individual members from 29 countries of the region. The EHRA’s mission is the creation in CEECA region of favorable environment for sustainable harm reduction programs and decent lives of people who use drugs.