EHRA submitted report to the UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights for the adoption of lists of issues on Ukraine

On the 30th of August, 2019 EHRA together with Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Charitable Organization «Charitable Fund «Ukrainian Network of People who Use Drugs» (VOLNA) submitted the report to the 127th session of the UN Committee on Civil and Political Rights for the adoption of lists of issues on Ukraine. The report draws the Committee’s attention to the Violations of Articles 2, 7, 9 and 10 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as part of drug enforcement in Ukraine.

In 2018, every seventh person convicted in Ukraine (10,144 of 73,659 people convicted of criminal offences) was convicted of drug crimes; of those, 8,513 people (84%), were convicted of crimes of simple possession for personal use (Article 309 of the Criminal Code); of those, 6,482 (76%) were convicted for possession of narcotics in miniscule amounts that ranged from 0.005 to 1.00 gram of heroin.[1] People who use drugs and especially people who live with drug dependence are vulnerable to discrimination based on this chronic health condition, arbitrary arrest and ill-treatment by police. When people with drug dependence are criminally prosecuted for possession of small amounts of narcotic drugs for personal use, this amounts to detention solely on the basis of drug use or drug dependence.

According to the 2019 Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, people who use drugs face an increased risk of torture and ill-treatment [in detention]. In some cases, law enforcement officials deliberately take advantage of the pain and suffering associated with withdrawal syndrome elicit forced confessions while people who use drugs are deprived of their liberty. Human rights mechanisms concluded that the use of withdrawal symptoms to obtain information or confessions, to punish or to intimidate or coerce may amount to torture.[2]

Suggested items for the List of Issues with respect to Ukraine

  • Please provide information about measures the State Party has adopted to protect people with chronic drug dependence from discrimination and ill-treatment, taking into account tough drug laws and high rates of criminalization of people who use drugs in Ukraine.
  • Please provide information about measures the State Party has adopted to ensure access of prisoners with drug dependence and HIV to essential medicines and HIV prevention services that are equivalent to those available in the community.

 

[1] Official courts’ statistics for 2018. Online: //court.gov.ua/inshe/sudova_statystyka/rik_2018

[2] Human rights in the administration of justice. Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. A/HRC/42/20. 30 July 2019. Para 6.