6th June, 2022
Over the last several years the Kyrgyzstan organisation Asteria, led by women who use drugs, has been engaging in the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), with the support of INPUD. Asteria partnered with a coalition of NGOs to develop and submit a shadow report documenting and visibilising rights violations against women from key populations. The shadow report also included recommendations for concrete actions that the committee can recommend to the State concerning problems for women key populations.
Download the full shadow report by clicking here.
This case study documents the experience of Asteria planning, writing and submitting this shadow report to CEDAW, and is intended to be used as a resource for other networks of people who use drugs who are considering engaging with CEDAW or other human rights mechanisms.
In November 2021 the shadow report was presented to CEDAW, with community representatives presenting their inputs virtually. Most recommendations from Asteria were incorporated in the Committee’s official recommendations to the State as part of their regular review. Specifically for women who use drugs, CEDAW recommended that Kyrgystan:
– Decriminalise drug possession;
– Ensure national law addresses all forms of gender-based violence and takes into account the special needs of disadvantaged and marginalized groups of women;
– Combat corruption in the health-care system and gender-based violence and discrimination by health-care personnel;
– Amend laws which call for the automatic loss of child custody based on parental drug dependence.
Thanks to the CEDAW recommendations, many existing problems which were previously possible for the State to brush aside must now be addressed over the next two year period. The recommendations also created opportunities to strengthen argumentation and advocate for community priorities among the key decision-makers, in particular with the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Internal Affairs, to ensure that discriminatory and stereotypical expressions and terminology are excluded from articles and reports.