Chase the virus – Call for national partners

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is looking for national partners (country consortia, NGOs, community organizations and initiative groups) to develop and implement 4 national campaigns under the branding of “Chase the virus, not people!” in countries of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

Aim of the campaign is to strengthen the voice and influence of national activists at the national level in articulating their advocacy priorities and drawing the attention of target audiences to the problems of key populations in relation to the catastrophic HIV/AIDS epidemic in the EECA region, in particular the impact of stigma, discrimination and criminalization on effective response measures to HIV/AIDS epidemic and mortality reduction.

EHRA is issuing 4 grants to the winners in the open competition (NGO, community organization or initiative groups, which are officially registered or have financial agents).

To get full information on this call, follow this link>>>

The Support. Don’t Punish campaign launched in South East Europe

For the launch of the Global Day of Action, DPNSEE organised a “Kick-off event” to start the campaign in South East Europe. The event was held in the EU Info Centre in Belgrade, Kralja Milana 7, on 19 June 2019.

Besides journalists, representatives of colleague civil society organisations, UN agencies, Office for combating drugs and political parties were present.

Representatives of the Network presented the key findings from baseline research on “Documenting Drug Related Cases of Discrimination”. This small scale research aims on raising awareness on existing discrimination in different areas of everyday life, map the situation and make a base for the further advocacy actions in decreasing stigma and discrimination towards people who use drugs.

DPNSEE also presented the proposal for decriminalisation of drug use and possession made to the Working group on changes to the Criminal Law in Serbia. The proposal was submitted to the Working Group for amendments to the Criminal Law but unfortunately was not supported.

DPNSEE member organisation Prevent presented results of the regional project “Budget Advocacy Monitoring in South East Europe” in Serbia. That included analysis of the national budgets for 4 last years with a specific focus on health and harm reduction, execution of the budget and excises, and the Declaration for sustainable national response to HIV.

Re Generation presented the results of their research “How the closing of the needle exchange programs affected the access to harm reduction services in two cities – Belgrade and Budapest“.

Finally, DPNSEE representatives presented the activities in the region in scope of the Support. Don’t Punish campaign.

To find out what is planned in your city or country, follow this link>>>

To see more about the campaign worldwide, follow this link>>>

Life on the Margins

The biggest LGBTI survey ever conducted in the Western Balkans region is finally out and they reveal a collective experience of discrimination, harassment, exclusion and violence. The report analyses the responses of more than 2.300 LGBTI persons across seven countries in the Western Balkans region: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro as well as two European Union member states Croatia and Slovenia. This is the largest data set ever collected on LGBTI rights in our region.

The report “Life on the Margins: Survey Results of the Experience of LGBTI people in South Eastern Europe” was published by the World Bank in partnership with IPSOS Strategic Marketing, ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for the Western Balkans and Turkey, and the Williams Institute at UCLA.

The collective experiences of LGBTI people in the countries surveyed paint a distressing picture of the harmful effects of discrimination, harassment, exclusion and violence. One-third (32%) of all respondents (and 54% of transgender respondents) report having been victims of physical violence in the past five years. Of those cases of violence, only 17% have been reported to the police and action was taken against the perpetrator in only 16% of the most serious cases of violence reported to the police. Discrimination, is even more widespread, considering that 92% of respondents report that discrimination based on sexual orientation is common, 90% because a person is transgender and 67% because a person is intersex.

Among the most important recommendations of this reports are to:

  • Increase and expand the evidence base: researchers, advocates and policymakers should delve further into the available data to inform interventions in each country.
  • The LGBTI data gap remains large, and further research and data collection is necessary to better understand the lived experience of LGBTI people and the challenges they face.
  • Work on awareness raising needs to continue: Sensitization and capacity building programs for public servants should be expanded and strengthened. More needs to be done to increase the rights awareness of LGBTI people. The capacities of LGBTI organizations across the region should be strengthened.
  • A lot more work needs to be done to close the implementation gap: Governments should use the survey findings to identify implementation gaps related to the EU accession process, especially for Chapter 23: judiciary and fundamental rights and chapter 24: justice, freedom and security.
  • Governments should improve the criminal justice response to violence against LGBTI people;
  • Safe spaces should be created for LGBTI persons where they can receive services and support.

To read full report follow this link>>>>

Documenting drug related cases of discrimination in South East Europe

The basic human rights of marginalised groups in South East Europe are violated and they are marginalised and discriminated. Stigmatisation in the society is strong and incorporated in cultural patterns. DPNSEE, with the support of its member organisations, is launching a survey to document cases of discrimination of drug users and connected vulnerable and marginalised groups and produce an analysis of the findings. The survey shall indicate different forms of discrimination and will serve as basis for additional actions on safeguarding human rights of affected groups.

The most frequent cases of discrimination are related to stigmatization in various respects, the relationship between the police and the judicial system (including the right to information in criminal proceedings), the protection of personal data, basic and specific health care, social protection, the right to education, employment and many other areas of life which should be available to every person.

The questionnaire is not intended to be filled by beneficiaries, but by organisation’s activists, preferably those who already have established relation with persons from key populations. Before filling in the document by interviewing people, their task is to explain them the aim, process and content of the document, give them the information about the research and approve their participation. Only then, they should go through the questionnaire with the key population member.

For the country contexts, you are free to adjust it to your own country, as we are just mapping the situation. The questionnaire should serve more like a guideline to you, as we repeat that it is not research per se, but rather initial mapping.

DPNSEE would very much appreciate if an organisation would join this effort and help us to document the case of discrimination. Please, use the tool which is available for downloading following this link>>>

Should you need any help on this issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us at office@dpnsee.org.

The deadline we set is 6 June 2018! Please, use the above-mentioned e-mail address.

UN agencies statement on ending discrimination in health care settings

Discrimination in health care settings is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and constitutions. People we work for and with experience it very often.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) had issues a Joint United Nations statement, signed by 12 UN agencies, on ending discrimination in health care settings. Recognizing that discrimination in health care settings is a major barrier to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations entities commit to working together to support Member States in taking coordinated multisectoral action to eliminate discrimination in health care settings.

The Statement is available at http://www.unaids.org/sites/default/files/media_asset/ending-discrimination-healthcare-settings_en.pdf.

Among a number of measures, the statement called for the “reviewing and repealing punitive laws that have been proven to have negative health outcomes” by member states, which includes “drug use or possession of drugs for personal use”.

The DPNSEE Office, in cooperation with SUPRAM – The Association of Lawyers for Medical and Health Law of Serbia, analysed the situation in the country and prepared a document which highlights some of the basic international documents and national legislation on discrimination, especially in the area of health care. Those who can understand Serbian can download the document presenting the situation following this link. We are in communication with our member organisations in Serbia, with the idea to make a public event to present the Statement and the document produced and call for full respect of the legislation and fight against discrimination. For this, we plan to partner with The Commissioner for the Protection of Equality and UN representatives in the country.

For others, we prepared the set of excerpts from the international documents which is in another document. Please feel free to have a look at the document linked here and if you think you can start a similar campaign like we plan for Serbia, analyse your national legislation which deals with discrimination, access to health and social care, quality of health protection, patients’ safety as well as strategies in these areas. Should you need any support, please don’t hesitate to contact us.