Right to Life

Using the data collected in 2017 in Estonia the report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) was submitted in 2018. As a result, Estonian government received questions regarding the availability of «gender-specific interventions targeting women drug users, particularly those who are pregnant or have children, and on the support provided for them, including rehabilitation facilities». In order to promote the results on national level a small grant was given to LUNEST, who presented the more detailed report to the Minister of Health and to the Estonian centre for Human rights. Number of publications were produced in the media featuring this report including the TV story, and Estonian Social Security Department requested a special training for its employees on how to work with women who use drugs. Based on the survey results an article was published in the Harm Reduction Journal.

In September 2018 EHRA together with experts from Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network organized one-day workshop “Documenting cases of human rights violations of women who use drugs and/or living with HIV” in Saint Petersburg, Russia for women who use drugs, local NGO’s working in harm reduction and other activists, and then collected 27 in-depth interviews. The results of Estonian and Russian researches were presented during the AIDS2018 conference, at the Regional workshop on community-based monitoring, «Understanding the Gendered Impacts of Drug Policy» course at the Central European University in Budapest and at 4th European Harm Reduction Conference in Bucharest.

Other relevant results:

  • EHRA developed safety protocol for conducting human rights research;
  • One of the Estonian research findings was lack of legal support for women and in order to tackle this problem, LUNEST in partnership with one of the lawyer firms developed a system of providing free legal assistance for people who use drugs and members of their families;
  • In March 2018 EHRA participated in the workshop on developing reporting guidelines for NGOs to report to CEDAW on the violations of the rights of women who use drugs organized by International Women’s Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW Asia Pacific).

More detailed information can be found in Narrative report

The long-term goal of the project is to improve the enjoyment of human rights of women from vulnerable communities and their access to health care and social protection in areas with high prevalence of drug use and HIV infection.


  • To develop skills of women from vulnerable communities (women who use drugs and women living with HIV) to document and analyze typical human rights violations and structural violence as well as build cooperation with local and national governments;
  • To initiate and sustain regular communication and cooperation on the cases of human rights violations and structural violence with national and local governments and in-country human and legal rights protection mechanisms;
  • To build an alliance with international human rights, gender, and harm reduction organizations in order to strategically work with the UN and Council of Europe human rights protection mechanisms.

Countries of implementation: Estonia, Russia

Timeline: November 2017 – November 2018

Budget: 50 000 USD

Project donor: Levi Strauss Foundation

Project status: Completed


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