Drug policy reform through dialogue: EHRN at the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

The main mission of the EHRN at the sessions of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is to draw this major forum participants’ attention to the voice of civil society.

13 March 2017

The main mission of the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN) at the sessions of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) is to draw this major forum participants’ attention to the voice of civil society in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA). This year, EHRN uses its participation in CND to discuss issues related to the achievements of the community of people who use drugs in the field of human rights protection and to start a discussion among all stakeholders on the topic of evaluating drug policies and their impact on various population groups, first of all, on the key affected populations (KPs).

The 60th Session of the CND will be held on 13-17 March 2017 in Vienna, Austria. In addition to a traditional discussion of the situation with counteracting drug trafficking and the results of anti-drug programs, the 60th Session will also provide a platform for discussing a wide range of social, medical and human rights issues.

EHRN will present the results of two key projects: the first project From the Street to Government is implemented jointly with the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD) with funding from the Robert Carr Civil Society Networks Fund (RCNF). The second project Drug Policy Impact Assessment for Change in Central and Eastern Europe is implemented jointly with the European Commission in the field of drug policy.

“In 2016, street lawyers from eight EECCA countries collected and documented nearly 200 cases of violations of the rights of people who use drugs. Basically, these violations are related to two problems: criminalizing drug use and insufficient access to drug treatment in hospitals and rehabilitation centers. These problems were chosen as priorities for advocating the rights of the three million people who use drugs in our region.

At the 60th Session of the CND, EHRN and ENPUD will report on these cases of violations of the rights of PUD and the impact of the problems that have caused them on the HIV epidemic and the quality of life," – Olga Belyaeva, Delegation Member, Manager of the EHRN project From the Street to Government.

On March 17, EHRN and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) will hold a special session "Partnership between Civil Society and Law Enforcement: Promoting Better Drug Policies", which will provide examples of cooperation between law enforcement agencies and civil society, mechanisms and ways to implement humane drug policy as well as the current drug related legislation in the EECA countries.

“Developing a comprehensive drug policy requires close interaction among all sectors, including health, law enforcement and civil society. Through this session and the project Drug Policy Impact Assessment for Change in Central and Eastern Europe, which EHRN has been implementing with support from the European Commission, we want to engage civil society and the community of people who use drugs in a real discussion on these issues, as well as on promoting alternatives to punishment for drug use and possession,” – Dasha Matyushina-Ocheret, EHRN Advisor, Chairperson of the Special Session of the CND.

Updates on the 60th Session of the CND and the EHRN delegation’s participation in the Session will be published regularly on the EHRN website and disseminated through social networks.