Human Rights Protection

Repressive drug policy in CEECA region causes constant and severe human rights violations of people who use drugs. Every year thousands of people who use drugs go to jail for victimless crimes, they are denied treatment, discriminated by social services, abused by  police, have limited job and educational opportunities. Most of those rights are guranteed by national constitutions and international human rights treaties and states are obliged to ensure and protect them.

These submissions address the provision of harm reduction services to drug users in Kyrgyzstan, in particular to those deprived of their liberty. 

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This complaint is an appeal by the 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, 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.

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The report for the List of Issues in relations to 9th periodic report of the Russian Federation to CEDAW pre-sessional working group was submitted on behalf of the Russian Civil Society Mechanism for Monitoring of Drug Policy Reforms by the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Social Justice and Health with technical assistance of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and in cooperation with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association.

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On May 4, 2020 the Russian Civil Society Mechanism for Monitoring of Drug Policy Reforms, with technical assistance of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network submitted a report on Russia for the adoption of List of Issues to the State in relation to the review of the 8th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation during the 129 Session of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

In Russia’s highly punitive and stigmatizing environment, law enforcement agencies have a virtual carte blanche to discriminate against people who use drugs. The information provided in the report shows how such heavy-handed drug policies and drug enforcement drive violations of Articles 2, 3, 7, 9, 10, 14, 15, 19, and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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Harm Reduction International, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the International Network of People who use Drugs (INPUD), LBH Masyarakat, Release, and Rights Reporter Foundation further welcomed the joint statement by the Special Rapporteur and other Special Procedures on the adoption of emergency measures to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, urging states to “remain steadfast in maintaining a human rights-based approach to regulating this pandemic.”

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In January 2020 EHRA together with Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network and Charitable Fund Ukrainian Network of People who Use Drugs VOLNA submitted the report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the disproportional sentencing of people who use drugs and their access to health and social services in Ukraine. Read more

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Shadow Report of Civil Society Organisations on Discrimination and Violence against Women who use Drugs, Women Living with HIV, Sex Workers and women in prison in Kazakhstan. Submission assisted by EHRA and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.

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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. Read more

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In February, 2019 during the 65 session of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR*) in Geneva EHRA in partnership with Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, joined by community representatives from Kazakhstan and legal experts from the Human Rights Clinic from Miami University School of Law presented the statements on access to opioid substitution treatment for people who use drugs in Kazakhstan and addressed the questions of the Committee. Read more

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In February, 2019 during the 65 session of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR*) in Geneva EHRA in partnership with Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, joined by community representatives from Estonia and legal experts from the Human Rights Clinic from Miami University School of Law presented the statements on the enjoyment of rights among women who use drugs in Estonia and addressed the questions of the Committee. Read more

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This report, developed by University of Miami School of Law Human Rights ClinicThe Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, analysis the human rights approaches to harm reduction services available for women.

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This report, developed by University of Miami School of Law Human Rights ClinicThe Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Eurasian Harm Reduction Association, outlines key issues and rights violations relevant to the experiences of women who use drugs, as well as recommendations to protect the human rights of women who use drugs.

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This report is based on the results of a study conducted by EHRA in 2019 to document and analyze the most common human rights violations encountered by women and men who took part in the study and who had experience serving sentences in imprisonment, including for drug-related crimes. A total of 12 semi-structured interviews were collected.
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Despite a significant number of women who use drugs, in St. Petersburg there have been no qualitative studies aimed at examining violations of the rights of women who use drugs. It should also be noted that currently in Russia there are no state-funded harm reduction programs and opioid agonist therapy.

A legal analysis of human rights violations against women who use drugs in Russia was made on the basis of 26 interviews conducted in St. Petersburg in 2018 with women who use drugs, many of whom are HIV-positive.

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The document is an analysis of the proportionality of fines for possession of narcotic drugs in the Kyrgyz Republic. On January 1, 2019, new codes and laws entered into power, which, inter alia, refer to drug-related crimes and increase fines.

The document also includes a number of regulatory documents.

The analysis can be used for advocacy at the national level to reduce penalties for possession of narcotic drugs for personal use and to depenalize drug possession without a distribution objective.

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In August 2017, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (CHALN), and the Estonian Association of People Who Use Psychotropic Substances (LUNEST) conducted a study in Estonia to assess the situation regarding the human rights of women who use drugs and/or living with HIV.
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A number of countries in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) region have recently seen a tendency to adopt legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening measures to combat drug-related advocacy (“propaganda”), particularly on the Internet, and toughening the liability for such propaganda.

 

Furthermore, the term “propaganda” is often unclear and interpreted rather vaguely within the framework of these legislative initiatives. It raises concerns related to the possible risks for social programmes in the event that these initiatives are adopted, particularly those focused on working with people who use drugs as well as for those non-governmental organisations (NGOs) implementing such programmes. Consequently, the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) has conducted this brief review of legislative initiatives aimed at establishing, or tightening existing, regulations to ban propaganda related to (i.e. the promotion of) narcotic drugs in Russia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine with a brief analysis of relevant risks.

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PODCASTS FOR STREET LAWERS/paralegals

To support the work of paralegals and guide them through algorithm of basic legal support provision to key populations in access to HIV services, EHRA jointly with HIV Legal Network have developed a series of podcasts in Russian (for access please register). The key topics of podcasts: HIV cascade and human rights,instruments of paralegals, 7 steps in paralegals’ work, and peculiarities of work with different key populations groups. The podcasts were produced by EHRA within the project “Overcoming legal barriers for key populations - on the way to 90-90-90” funded by the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The project is aimed at improvement of the effectiveness of HIV continuum of care by overcoming legal barriers for the most vulnerable key populations in selected cities of Georgia, Kazakhstan and Moldova.  

 

LESSON SERIES: GATHERING DATA ON HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS AND REACTION MECHANISMS

This EHRA course is about the concept of human rights and different interrelated mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights on the national and international level.