DOING THE SAME ACTIONS HOPING FOR A NEW RESULT
The position of the Eurasian Network of People who Use Drugs (ENPUD)
on the Ministerial Declaration adopted at the 62nd session
of Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna
WHAT IS MADNESS?
Madness is doing the same thing over and over hoping for a new result. The Ministerial Declaration on strengthening our actions at the national, regional and international levels to accelerate the implementation of our joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem was adopted at the 62nd session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna in March 2019. We, ENPUD activists, can't call this Declaration in any other way rather than the DECLARATION OF MADNESS.
The Ministerial Declaration takes stock of the implementation of the commitments made over the past decade to jointly ADDRESS and counter the world drug problem in the light of the 2019 target date set in the 2009 UN Political Declaration to Counter the World Drug Problem.
The Ministerial Declaration states the following: «We acknowledge that tangible PROGRESS has been achieved in the implementation of the commitments made over the past decade in addressing and countering the world drug problem, including with regard to an improved understanding of the problem, the development, elaboration and implementation of national strategies, the enhanced sharing of information, and the enhanced capacity of national competent authorities.»
According to the new Ministerial Declaration, governments will continue to «COUNTER» the world drug problem during the next 10 years, focusing on prosecution of people who use drugs.
WHAT HAS CHANGED OVER THE LAST 10 YEARS?
Millions of people in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) use drugs every year. This number has increased since the adoption of the 2009 Political Declaration. Despite the fact that drug use is not associated with violence, the main approach of our governments is criminal prosecution and PUNISHMENT of people who use drugs or those who possess drugs without intent to sell.
Millions of people have been imprisoned over the past 10 years. Possession of small amounts of drugs (in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Lithuania) and drug use (in Kazakhstan, Ukraine) are considered as CRIMINAL OFFENCES. Nowadays, people who inject drugs account for almost 50% of all prisoners in EECA.
Thousands of human rights crimes and violations have been committed against people who use drugs, ranging from inhumane and compulsory treatment to extrajudicial killings. «Drug corruption» in law enforcement destroyed the agencies and institutions that should have protected the citizens and the law. The HIV/AIDS and hepatitis epidemics have killed thousands of drug users who have been denied treatment. At the same time, billions are wasted on «War on drugs» in the EECA instead of funding the development of healthcare and education.
Moreover, due to the strengthened «COUNTERING» of the world drug problem over the last 10 years, new psychoactive substances (NPS) have flooded the illegal drug market in EECA. Due to the emergence of NPS people often do not know what kind of substance they may buy, which resulted in the epidemics of drug intoxication and death. Nowadays NPS are synthesized at a reckless pace, while their impact on the lives of drug users in the region cannot be predicted.
WHAT DO WE WANT FROM OUR GOVERNMENTS?
The 2019 Ministerial Declaration shows that governments in EECA still believe that repressive methods are effective. However, we can say for sure today that the prohibitive approach endorsed by the 2019 Ministerial Declaration will only INCREASE the devastating impact on human rights and public health in the next 10 years, especially it will negatively affect the lives of thousands people who use drugs.
In this regard, we demand EECA governments to assume responsibility for human rights violations committed AGAINST PEOPLE who use drugs, review the 2019 Ministerial Declaration as soon as possible and stop prosecuting people for drug use or possession of drugs for personal use.
The governments have waged a «War on drugs» for too long, using disproportionate and absolutely INEFFECTIVE measures that come at a high cost for the citizens of our countries. We can no longer turn a blind eye to evidence of the dangers of punitive drug laws.
If the governments do not recognize the incapacity of the Ministerial Declaration as soon as possible, we, as MEMBERS OF CIVIL SOCIETY, will assume the responsibility to become a force that will not ignore the situation of the ongoing «War on drugs» and will continue to counter the repressive drug policy in EECA.
We call our GOVERNMENTS to END THE «WAR on DRUGS», that comes to the same thing in all countries, that is, the war against people who use drugs. War, oppression and violence are not effective! Drug-related problems should be treated by doctors and not by the police.
We call OUR GOVERNMENTS to change their attitude towards drug users and eliminate their prejudices. PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS should be TREATED AS EQUALS and responsible members of civil society entitled to every right and human dignity.
We call OUR GOVERNMENTS to abandon the inefficient repressive drug policy. It is necessary to give priority to DECRIMINALIZING POSSESSION OF DRUGS without intent to sell and to abolish any types of punishment.