Statement from attributed members of the Bridging the Gaps Alliance following the conclusion of the 25th Harm Reduction International Conference in Montréal.
In an era of rising populism and heightened political repression around the world, communities most affected by HIV, including people who use drugs, sex workers, and LGBT people, with specific concern for transgender people, gay men and other men who have sex with men; are experiencing an escalation in state sanctioned violence fuelled by pervasive stigma and discrimination against people who use drugs, and divisive rhetoric about law, order and public health.
Since the 30th of June 2016, more than 7000 extrajudicial killings of people who use drugs have taken place under Duterte’s brutal drug war in the Philippines in an unconscionable spectacle of intimidation, humiliation and violence. Similarly in Indonesia, alarmist rhetoric has led to the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty for drug offences, in direct contravention of international law. Further, in recent months, thousands of foreign-born people who use drugs have been detained and deported in the U.S.; and people who use drugs are experiencing high levels of intimidation, torture and arrest in Cambodia as well as in Tanzania. These are a few of the many recent examples of state sanctioned campaigns against people who use drugs that have deleteriously impacted their health, safety, wellbeing and families.
The purported public health and safety justifications for anti-drug campaigns are always political. Violent and ideological leaders have, for decades, scapegoated, politicized and devalued the lives of people who use drugs to increase their own popularity. By contrast, time and again, public health, law enforcement and legal experts have demonstrated that decriminalisation actually alleviates the health and safety concerns of drug use and trade in our communities.
INPUD’s Strategy for 2017-2020 outlines how the organisation will build on past achievements and lessons learned to take the global network forward into the next phase of its development. Further, it sets out how the network will be strengthened to respond to the changing environment and to confront new political challenges.
The Strategy was developed following consultation with key stakeholders from UN and multilateral agencies, drugs civil society networks, key population networks, and INPUD members. INPUD’s Board Members and Secretariat came together at a five-day workshop in Delhi, India in December 2016 to review organisational progress and to define INPUD’s strategic priorities and pathways for 2017 to 2020.
The strategic planning process signalled a period of internal reflection for INPUD. This strategy was informed by the earlier work of two additional consultants who carried out an environmental scan and a network audit of the organisation.
The past two years have seen progress and achievement for INPUD and our regional networks. We have been working hard to strengthen and develop our activities, focusing on our policy, advocacy, and programmatic work to promote the health and defend the rights of people who use drugs around the world. We have increased the organisation’s capacity to mobilise communities of people who use drugs around the world and bring their voices to the forefront of local, regional, and international debates around human rights and drug policy. Key highlights and achievements over the last two years include the following:
The International Network of People who use Drugs (INPUD) will be highly visible at the International Harm Reduction Conference in Montreal, Canada. To kick start the conference, we will be organising a one day Pre-conference. The morning will focus on sharing INPUD’s work over the last two years, where we will launch our three-year strategy and 2015-2016 Annual Report which serves to showcase INPUD’s work over a two-year period. The past two years has seen considerable progress and achievement for INPUD and our regional networks. We have been working hard to strengthen and develop our activities, focusing on our policy, advocacy, and programmatic work to promote the health and defend the rights of people who use drugs around the world. We have increased the organisation’s capacity to mobilise communities of people who use drugs around the world and bring their voices to the forefront of local, regional, and international debates around human rights and drug policy. The afternoon will then focus on the North American network of people who use drugs.
The HRI conference is an opportunity to raise the profile of drug policy and harm reduction issues from the community perspective, with a focus on the worrying opiate overdose epidemic which has already claimed more than 30,000 lives in 2016 in the United States alone. International drug user activists will participate in numerous sessions throughout the conference, notably during the drug users’ choice session.
Click here for Programme of the Voices of Community @IHRC 2017
Implementing Comprehensive HIV and HCV Programmes with People Who Inject Drugs: Practical Guidance for Collaborative Interventions (the “IDUIT”)
This tool contains practical advice on implementing HIV and hepatitis C (HCV) programmes with people who inject drugs. It is based on recommendations in the WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS technical guide for countries to set targets for universal access to HIV prevention, treatment and care for injecting drug users – 2012 revision and the Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations – 2016 update.
Topics covered include community empowerment, including building the capacity of organizations and networks of people who inject drugs; legal reform, human rights and addressing stigma and discrimination; health and support services for the comprehensive package of harm reduction interventions; service delivery approaches, including engaging people who inject drugs as programme staff and peer outreach workers; and programme management. The tool contains examples of good practices from around the world that can be used to support efforts to plan programmes and services with people who inject drugs.
The tool is designed for use by public-health officials, managers of HIV and harm reduction programmes, NGOs – including community and civil-society organizations – and health workers. It may also be of interest to international funding agencies, health policy-makers and advocates.
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