How have closing of services affected drug users?

DPNSEE member organisation Re Generacija implemented the survey “Access to services of ex-users of the needle and syringe programme closed in Belgrade and Budapest” with the support of the Rights Reporter Foundation. Aim of the survey, implemented in 2018, was to analyse the consequences of closing the services and the effects that it has on risks and daily life of injecting drug users. Objectives included to reach out to the service users and learning about their current use of substances, mapping their access to services, sterile injecting equipment and analysing their perception of the closure of services and most important currently missing service. The conference was also an opportunity to discuss the current situation with recently established outreach programmes, as well as opioid substitution therapy and early warning system for new psychoactive substances.

The results of the survey were presented today at the conference organised together with the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of Republic of Serbia. The conference was held in the Palace of Serbia, with participants coming from both governmental and civil society sectors.

Two major groups of users were approached by the survey: drug users which were using the services for a long time and Roma people. A typical drug user both in Belgrade and Budapest is male, in mid-forties, with low education and income. In Budapest, users mainly use new psychoactive substances (synthetic cathinones), while in Belgrade they mainly use opioids (heroine). One of the main conclusion from the survey is that closing the services caused even more difficulties to reach out to drug users who are usually very suspicious.

To get more information and results of the survey, please contact Re Generacija following this link>>>>.

Project partners meeting

The meeting of the partners in the EU Funded project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South Eastern Europe” was held in Belgrade, Serbia, on Monday, 10 December 2018. This was the last meeting of the project which lasted for 4 years, supported by the European Commission DG Near.

The partners approved the minutes from the recent meeting, held on 12 September by Skype, and partners informed about the recent activities.

Margina has finished with the activities of the programme. Prevent has yet to implement a press conference, most probably in Belgrade by the end of the year. Diogenis has finished with the activities of the programme, except from the last newsletter. Olga Pateraki informed the partners of the reallocation regarding the budget of Diogenis, in order to translate in Greek and print the booklet “Drug Policy reform, The UNGASS 2016 a catalyst for change”.

DPNSEE Executive Director Milutin Milosevic informed the partners about the activities that has been implemented during this period: the country visits in Romania and in Greece, the General Assembly that took place in Belgrade, the capacity building that was held during September, the Resource Centre and the Glossary. The Glossary has been printed and there is in English, Spanish and Serbo-Croatian, with the intention to be translated also in other languages. The discrimination paper has been started but not reached yet the desired recorded cases.

The partners have agreed to send all their final financial reports by the 10th of January to Diogenis in order to prepare the final financial report, who is collecting and preparing the reports. The financial report will be also in a format of detailed breakdown that the EC asks along with the final report. The reports of the activities will be also sent to Diogenis in order to compile them for the final report in January.

New DPNSEE Board elected at the General Assembly

The new DPNSEE Board was elected at the General Assembly, held on 10th December 2018, in The Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, Serbia.

The Chairman reminded the representatives of the member organisations that there is no clear procedure for this election in the Statute and proposed the following procedure:

  • Select three persons for the commission (persons who are neither nominated nor a member of organisations whose members are nominated)
  • Nominate candidates for the Board
  • Vote anonymously for seven Board members
  • Commission to count votes and declare the results

The proposed procedure was adopted by a unanimous decision.

Commission members that fulfill the criteria were selected:

  1. Olga Pateraki from Diogenis, Greece,
  2. Nataša Boškova from Coalition ‘Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities’, Macedonia and
  3. Marjana Krsmanović from Juventas Montenegro.

There were 9 candidates proposed for for the Board. Elected members of the DPNSEE Board are:

  1. Anna Lyubenova from Initiative for Health Foundation
  2. Denis Dedajić from Margina
  3. Marios Atzemis from Positive Voice
  4. Nebojša Đurasović from Prevent
  5. Safet Blakaj from Labyrinth
  6. Sanja Šišović from Cazas
  7. Vlatko Dekov from HOPS

The proposal to choose Vlatko Dekov as the President and Nebojša Đurasović as the Vice-President of the Board was adopted by a unanimous decision of all 16 member organisations representatives.

During the discussion about the elections, the proposals were made to change the Statute so that all functions other than president and vice-president become just „member“ and to extend the duration of the mandate of the Board members from two years to three. The Assembly at this meeting had 2/3 majority needed for the change of Statute. The proposed changes of the Statute were adopted by a unanimous decision.

Nebojša Đurasović proposed the new co-opting procedure – if somebody resigns from the Board during their mandate to be replaced with the first person below the line from the list of nominated but not elected persons if that person agrees. This proposal brought about a short discussion of possible issues in proposed case. On this proposed change of the Statute 14 member organisations representatives voted for and 2 against which was not sufficient majority for the Statute change, so it was not adopted.

Drug Policy Network South East Europe General Assembly 2018

With the support from the Central European Initiative (CEI) and funded through the European Union project, The Drug Policy Network South East Europe organised regular annual General Assembly on 10 December 2018 in The Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade, Serbia.

The participants at the Assembly were welcomed by Milan Pekić, Director of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia. In their short opening speeches, Mr Pekić and the President of the Board of the Network Vlatko Dekov emphasized the importance of partnership in achieving the aim of effective drug policies.

The participants held voting rights from 16 out of 22 ordinary member organisations. That provided the Assembly with the right to make qualified decisions, even those related to the amendments to the Statute.

The Assembly was chaired by Anna Lyubenova, representative of the member organisation Initiative for Health Foundation from Bulgaria.

During the agenda point on membership issues, candidatures for membership from two organisations were discussed. The Assembly unanimously recognised as ordinary members Timok Youth Center from Zaječar, Serbia and Center for Human Policy from Sofia, Bulgaria. The Network now has 24 ordinary and 2 associate member organisations.

The General Assembly discussed the Operational and financial report for 2018 and elements for the Action plan and the Financial plan for 2019. The General Assembly welcomed the reports. They will be completed with the activities in December and then be adopted. The Assembly analysed the donor and funding trends and issues and concluded that, based on donor research, negotiation and exchange, no funding from EU for the Network can be expected for 2019 and some amounts can be obtained for year 2020, more project based. Funding plans and activities and possible issues that might be funded in 2019 include budget advocacy, the Network being the leader on the issue of quality of services in the region, redefining harm reduction and human rights element of the approach in work. The need for greater participation in relevant international events and DPNSEE taking role in organizing regional events were emphasized.

Nine candidates applied for elections to the DPNSEE Board. The new Board includes Anna Lyubenova from Initiative for Health Foundation, Denis Dedajić from Margina, Marios Atzemis from Positive Voice, Nebojša Đurasović from Prevent, Safet Blakaj from Labyrinth, Sanja Šišović from Cazas and Vlatko Dekov from HOPS.

The Assembly decided to keep at the current positions Vlatko Dekov as the President, and Nebojša Đurasović as Vice-President.

More information about the elections are available following this link >>>

An external consultant Jarmila Bujak Stanko facilitated the strategic workshop through which participants analysed achievement of aims and objectives of the strategic plan adopted in 2016 and indicated in which way and by which activities the priorities will be followed in the next two years.

The General Assembly ended in a positive and friendly atmosphere with an improved sense of belonging to the Network.

Regional cooperation for the development of civil societies and open dialogue

Drug Policy Network South East Europe organizes the conference Regional cooperation for the development of civil societies and open dialogue on Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 December 2018, in The  Palace of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia. The Conference is supported by the Central European Initiative, from their CEI Cooperation Activities programme and the Office of combating drugs of the Government of Serbia.

The first day of the Conference will be dedicated to the DPNSEE General Assembly. The member organisations will discuss operational and financial report for 2018 and plans for the next year, candidatures for new members and elect the Board. A strategic workshop will help establishing priorities, aims, objectives and activities to achieve them in the next three years.

The thematic RECODOD Conference will be also held in The Palace of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia, on the second working day. The aim of the conference is to bring together member organisations and other civil society organisations, policy makers and researchers active in the drugs field in South East Europe, in order to discuss drug policy developments and trends, exchange experiences and best practices in the region.

The agenda of the Conference will focus on drug policy developments and trends and exchanging experiences and best practices in the region on:

  • Drugs and immigrants
  • Legislation and procedures in cases of arrest and judiciary process for drug users
  • Accreditation of services by national health institutions

Participation of other peer organisations, governments, experts and keynote speakers from countries of South East Europe and wider is expected.

 

Sustainable Services for PLHIV and HIV Prevention Conference

The Union of Organizations of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS in Serbia (USOP) hosted the international conference on Sustainable Services for PLHIV and HIV Prevention in Belgrade on November 28, 2018. This one-day conference supported by UNDP Programme in Serbia gathered 110 relevant stakeholders from Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Montenegro in an attempt to move the PLHIV service agenda forward through co-thinking and cross-sectorial experience exchange.

The Conference Sustainable Services for PLHIV and HIV Prevention contributed an important piece to the puzzle of PLHIV’s health, social, economic, and overall well-being in Serbia and the region by opening up a dialogue on the cost of services for PLHIV. Through active interactions between practitioners in key sectors, public officials, service providers and service users, the conference shed a new light on prevention of HIV infection and, specifically the role of PLHIV organizations in community resilience building.

Participants agreed that investments in development of standards and services, training of service providers, piloting and testing should be respected, recognized and more readily considered by the welfare systems through urgent development of formal standards that will lead to effective service mainstreaming and access to regular service funding. In the meantime, project funding remains an interim solution but one that clearly threatens sustainability and quality of services.

Several DPNSEE member organisations representatives participated in the Conference

UN Global standards for business to tackle LGBTI discrimination launched in Belgrade

Violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people cannot be ended by governments alone. Businesses can foster diversity and promote a culture of respect and equality both in the workplace and in the communities where they and their business partners operate.

The global LGBTI equality standards for the business community have been launched today by the UN Country Team in Serbia and the LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey (ERA) in partnership with the UN Global Compact in Serbia and the Commissioner for Protection of Equality at the special event with government officials, business representatives, and civil sector.

Launching of the UN Standards in the Republic of Serbia is the first in South-East Europe, after the Standards had been launched in other parts of the World. Serbian is the seventh language in which the Standards are available globally.

© UNCT Serbia/Marko Rupena

In Serbia, Hemofarm AD, Ernst & Young DOO and Erste Bank AD (all members of the UN Global Compact network in Serbia) join the growing list of early adopters.

The Standards of Conduct build on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011. They are the product of a year-long process of consultations facilitated by the UN Human Rights Office and the Institute for Human Rights and Business, including regional meetings with leading business representatives and activists in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Drawing on good practices from around the world, these standards set out actions companies can take to protect the rights of LGBTI individuals. These include eliminating workplace discrimination, making sure business operations do not contribute to discrimination against customers, suppliers or members of the public, and working with business partners to address discriminatory practices up and down the supply chain. They also encourage companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they operate – including through advocacy and support for local organizations.

The five standards:

  • RESPECT the human rights of their LGBTI workers, customers and members of the public
  • ELIMINATE workplace discrimination against LGBTI employees
  • SUPPORT LGBTI employees at work
  • PREVENT discrimination and related abuses against LGBTI customers, suppliers and distributors – and insist that suppliers do the same
  • STAND UP for the human rights of LGBTI people in the communities where companies do business

UN encourages businesses to no longer be silent in the face of discriminatory treatment of LGBTI people. The power of corporations to shape what the public thinks and wants should be harnessed and used responsibly.

The Standards are available following this link>>>

ReGeneration’s activities in the Support. Don’t Punish campaign

On Tuesday, 26th July 2018, the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the NGO ReGeneration, in cooperation with the Belgrade night club Drugstore, organized an event as part of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign. The event, starting at 8 PM, was held in the Drugstore night club in Belgrade; the stand was placed in the lobby, next to the door leading to the main area, and opposite it, in front of the coat check, was displayed new informative material on the most common psychoactive substances and acute health issues the consumption there of could result in. A large poster of the campaign, in front of which visitors could, if they so wished, be photographed by members of ReGeneration’s with the Support. Don’t Punish logo as an act of support, was also placed in the lobby. Also, those who wished to could complete a short questionnaire regarding the usage of (new) psychoactive substances prepared by our team.

The visitors could then enter the main club area, where our guest Marko Milosavljević was the DJ support. To the backdrop of Marko’s music, the rest of the event passed in informal socialization and discussion. In casual conversation, the guests and visitors from various countries and of various educational profiles – anthropologists, healthcare professionals, psychologists, artist, etc. – touched upon many issues regarding the consumption of PAS and NPAS among the youth not just in Serbia and the region but globally as well, such as legislature, public policy, harm reduction strategies and public and media discourse on (N)PAS consumption. ReGeneration is determined to continue the tradition of organizing different events on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking with the goal of raising awareness and informing the general public.

Support Don’t Punish objectives were also promoted on the Pride Parade in Belgrade, by the Re Generation and YODA members. As Pride Parade had the topic of HIV prevention, we though it is important to support members of other vulnerable populations in fight against discrimination and stigmatization of all of us.

Before and after the event NGO Re Generation representatives were also present in media presented the goals of the Support Don’t Punish Global campaign to general public in addition to campaign that was recent initiated, as an answer to death of three young persons, related to the use of psychoactive substances, that inspired Re Generation to even more and bit aggressive advocate for the harm reduction programs in the recreational settings. #DAZNAMŠTARADIM is the campaign aiming to support and push for the implementation of nightlife outreach programs as a necessity.

Links to media coverage:
Re Genration blog: https://regeneracija.blogspot.com/2018/06/daznamstaradim.html?m=1
TV N1 Morning show: http://rs.n1info.com/Comment/StandardComment/789181/Vesti/Gosce- N1-Kultura-u-Srbiji-danas-podrzava-koriscenje-droga.html
TV Prva: http://www.prva.rs/web-tv/info/exploziv/41632/exploziv—25062018.html

Art and deed

The Centre for criminal prevention and post penalty support NEOSTART presented a Scrapbook of the protégées of the Correctional home in Kruševac, Serbia. The Scrapbook is result of the workshops of the project “Art and deed” implemented in cooperation with the organisation Crna ovca. The project was supported by the Centrifuga project of the Erste bank.

The promotion was held on 29 June 2018 in the House of Human Rights in Belgrade. Those who attended had an opportunity to talk to the protégées, ask them about the project and their involvement and buy some of the jewellery they produced.

Those who are interested in the project can download the publication (in Serbian) following this link>>>

Registrar, normally!

The Belgrade pride 2018 was held on Saturday 23 June, to mark the memory of the Stonewall revolution. The distance was not too long, there were something less than 200 people, but it was an important event because it has happened for a few consecutive year after many years of hatred reactions of hooligans. And it happened in the centre of the city.

The requests of the Pride included the adoption of legislation that will ensure visibility of the trans* people without hacking and sterilization and legalisation of the same-sex marriages – that is why the motto of the event was “Registrar, normally!”

An important ask of the Pride was the design of the HIV/AIDS prevention system, especially for young people, and provision of full and modern health care to people living with HIV. Representatives of organisations of people living with HIV and those working with other vulnerable populations including those working with people who use drugs joined the Pride.