The International Network of People who use Drugs expresses our deepest condolences to the family members, friends and colleagues of our brother Raffi Balian, who was one of the true visionaries, and exemplary leaders of our movement.
We mourn the loss of one our most precious, dedicated, knowledgeable, and loving activists. Raffi embodied everything that a drug user leader should be; tirelessly advocating for our meaningful participation on the issues that affect our lives.
His contributions to our common movement in ensuring the health and human rights of people who use drugs are beyond measure. They include coordinating an internationally recognised peer-led harm reduction programme in Canada and the pioneering of many strategies that have saved countless lives in Toronto, Canada and across the world. His cooperation and collaboration with other like-minded activists resulted in the founding and success of peer-led networks such as INPUD. Raffi was a mentor and friend to many of those in our community, and his passing leaves a huge gulf in our hearts and our movement.
Raffi was a warrior for drug war peace. Due to his tireless leadership our movement has been made all the stronger and richer, and his legacy will live on in our continuation of the work he played a critical role in starting. Following in his steps, and in honour of his life and legacy, we will endeavour to continue the fight against the war on drugs, stop needless casualties in this war, end stigma and discrimination, challenge the pervasive judgment and devaluing of our knowledge and experience, and stand firm in our commitment in fighting for a more just world.
Love from INPUD
16 Days of Action for the Elimination of Violence against Women who Use Drugs, 25th November – 10th December 2016
Today, INPUD celebrates International Women’s Day 2017 and we highlight some of our work with Women who use Drugs around the world, sharing their stories. Women who use drugs are faced with elevated levels of stigma and violence from state and individual perpetrators. In all regions of the world, women who use drugs face unprecedented breaches of their basic human rights, including, among others, the right to health, the right to freedom from violence and discrimination, and the right to bodily integrity. We draw attention to the ways that harmful gender norms and gender inequality play out in the lives of Women who use Drugs.
Each year, from 25 November through 10 December (Human Rights Day), 16 Days of Activism to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls aims to raise public awareness and mobilise people everywhere to bring about change. Women who use drugs have not previously been highlighted in this campaign. However, women who use drugs are subject to disproportionate rates of violence. Any advances in violence reduction among other more mainstream groups would be hollow if the most marginalised of women are left behind or excluded altogether.
Download INPUD's document here
Judy Chang Appointed as Executive Director of INPUD
INPUD is very pleased to announce the appointment of Judy Chang as our new Executive Director. As of February 2017, Judy is responsible for leading INPUD towards its mission and purpose, responsible for the operationalisation of INPUD’s strategy, for overseeing the representation of INPUD, and is the key liaison with civil society and INPUD’s donors.
For the last 8 years, Judy has worked in the HIV and community health and development field across areas of programme management, resource mobilisation, and communications, and has been increasingly involved in harm reduction, community mobilisation and drug policy work, particularly in regards to women who use drugs. She has worked across India, China, and Thailand. She holds a Master’s in International Development and is an MPhil Candidate at the National Drug Research Institute, Australia. Judy has been using drugs for almost 20 years, and was on OST for close to 10 years.
This appointment is part of a wider set of changes within the INPUD Secretariat that reflect the global nature of our organisation. In the last year we have moved to a regional membership model, and have in place an elected, regionally-representative Board. We have also developed a new organisational structure and are soon to unveil INPUD’s 2017-2020 strategic plan. Judy forms part of a new and vibrant leadership team which includes Brun González, Board Chair, Geoff Ward, vice-Chair and Jay Levy, Deputy Director of the INPUD Secretariat. In the midst of these transitions, INPUD remains steadfast in our commitment to our principles of pro drug-user rights, proequality and self-determination.
Global Week of Action
Over the past months, thousands of people who use drugs and people suspected of using and/or selling drugs have been killed in the Philippines. The Filipino President, Rodrigo Duterte, is responsible: he has repeatedly encouraged the police and the general public to murder people suspected of being drug users and/or of dealing drugs. As a result, people who use drugs no longer have the right to life in the Philippines.
The President of the Philippines has promoted, incited, and actively endorsed the extrajudicial killings. He has vocally ridiculed statements by the United Nations to respect life, human rights, wellbeing, and welfare of the most marginalised within Filipino society as “very stupid”. Efforts of United Nations agencies to date have been ineffectual and insufficient. Indeed, they have been dismissed outright by Duterte. President Duterte has revoked the human, civil, and political rights of people who use drugs, who continue to be tortured and butchered in the streets. These crimes are being committed with utter impunity.
Monday 10th October 2016 will kick off a week of sustained actions targeting the Filipino president and government through peaceful demonstrations at embassies and consulates of the Philippines around the world.
The Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) and the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) will be joined by other drug user networks and activists, as well as human rights and drug policy agencies, to urgently demand a halt to the killing of people who use drugs in the Philippines.