Long way to make good changes in the Law

Ministry of Health of Serbia proposed changes to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances at the end of 2016. Very limited proposal and the public debate which was organised during 4 weeks of festive days caused serious concern among civil society organisations in Serbia. DPNSEE with two member organisations Prevent and Re Generacija, along with three other partner organisations, made large number of comments and proposals to improve the draft.

Unfortunately, there were no reply from the Ministry for more than 9 months. Finally, with the support of the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, a meeting was organised on 4 October to discuss our contribution. Representatives from the Ministry of Health, Office for Cooperation with Civil Society, Office for combating drug abuse and Ministry of Interior met with the aim to present civil society organisations comments and proposals and exchange about which of them should be incorporated into the next version of the draft.

Although we were prepared for qualified discussion about our proposals, it turned out that the Working group in the Ministry of Health already prepared the next draft and that some of our proposals were accepted. Despite the requests to specify which proposals were accepted and which not and why, the representatives of the Ministry remained on the position that it will be possible only when this new version will be sent for the next round of consultations.

The meeting had a limited success because we presented comprehensive and qualified approach to dealing with legislation and stayed on our positions regarding very important issues related to drugs: need to ensure involvement of civil society organisations in all issues related to drug use, wider set of services of the early warning system that is to be established (including field work and consulting), right to bring samples of substances for checking, wider distribution of naloxone around the country, use of language that will not stigmatise people who use drugs, respecting the right to information and protection of sensitive information, better coordination of all the stakeholders, especially reporting about drugs, etc. The proposed amendments to the Law still have to pass a few levels to come to the Parliament and we are ready to keep advocating for a better Law.

YODA Workshop for young activists in Europe

Last week (15 – 22 May) around 30 young people from 12 countries gathered in Belgrade for another round of workshops organised by Youth Organisations For Drug Action in Europe. This time the workshops, funded by European Youth Foundation and Open Society Initiatives, focused on “Promotion of social inclusion and protection of human rights among young drug users “.  Young people came from Serbia, UK, Belgium, Slovakia, Poland, Romania, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Macedonia and representative of the Council of Europe. 5 of them were representatives of DPNSEE member organisations Juventas, Re-Generation, Aksion Plus, HOPS and Margina.

The aim of the workshop was to analyse different aspects of human rights violations regarding young people and drugs through mentioned topics, so that official document can be drafted, addressing policy change in order to overcome different problems and prevent human rights violation in the future. Within 7-day long workshop participants were showcasing examples of human rights violations of young people protected under the European Convention on Human Rights and also compared the criminal penalties for drug offences in their countries, compared cases of young people receiving drug treatment and discussed access to drug treatment for young people who use drugs.

Konferencija za medije povodom predstavljanja stavova organizacija civilnog društva o Nacrtu Zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o psihoaktivnim kontrolisanim supstancama Republike Srbije

Mreža za politike prema drogama jugoistočne Evrope vas poziva na konferenciju za medije povodom predstavljanja stavova organizacija civilnog društva o Nacrtu Zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o psihoaktivnim i kontrolisanim supstancama (Zakon o PKS) koja će se održati u EU info centru, u sredu 01. februara 2017. godine od 11 do 12 časova (Kralja Milana 7, Beograd).

Ministarstvo zdravlja objavilo je Nacrt Zakona o izmenama i dopunama Zakona o PKS 26. decembra 2016. godine a javna rasprava o ovom predlogu trajala je do 20. januara 2017. godine. Organizacije građanskog društva angažovane na politici prema drogama pozdravile su inicijativu za izmene i dopune Zakona, ali su veoma nezadovoljne načinom na koji je (u potpunoj tajnosti) predlog pripremljen, traljavom organizacijom javne rasprave i ograničenim rešenjima koje izmene predlažu.

 

Jedan broj organizacija građanskog društva predložio je mnogo širi spektar izmena i poziva na korenite promene politike prema drogama zasnovane na principima javnog zdravlja i ljudskih prava.

Na konferenciji ćete pored ostalog čuti naše mišljenje o temama kao što su:

  • šta zapravo nude predložene izmene Zakona a šta ne?
  • da li je ozbiljno izmene Zakona doneti po hitnom postupku ili treba sprovesti ozbiljan i kvalitetan proces i kako on treba da izgleda?
  • da li i kako dekriminalizovati droge?
    koja je uloga organizacija građanskog društva u pomoći osobama koje koriste psihoaktivne supstance i kako im omogućiti da tu ulogu sprovedu?
  • šta je Sistem ranog upozoravanja i koja je njegova uloga u prevenciji upotrebe novih prihoaktivnih supstanci?
  • kako zakon o PKS utiče na mlade, da li i koju ulogu oni treba da imaju u donošenju odluka?
  • da li je legalizacija lekova na bazi kanabisa već moguća i kako to omogućiti ljudima kojima su ti lekovi potrebni?
  • da li i kako urediti proizvodnju lekova od kanabisa?
  • u kojoj meri je moguće dobiti potpune informacije o zaplenjenim drogama?
  • kako preduprediti pojave predoziranja?
  • kako jezik koji koristimo doprinosi stigmatizaciji i marginalizaciji osoba koje koriste droge?

 

Na konferenciji će govoriti:

  • Milutin Milošević – Izvršni direktor Mreže za politike prema drogama u jugoistočnoj Evropi
  • Dr Hajrija Mujović Zornić – Podpredsednik udruženja pravnika za medicinsko i zdravstveno pravo Srbije
  • Bojan Arsenijević – Koordinator za treninge i izgradnju kapaciteta, NVO Re Generacija

Ovim putem želeli bi da vas pozovemo da prisustvujete ovom događaju, kao i da potvrdite vaše prisustvo na office@dpnsee.org, zbog ograničenog broja mesta do 01. 02. 2017. do 10 časova.

Za više informacija možete se obratiti Ireni Molnar na e-mail adrese office@dpnsee.org, ili irena.molnar@dpnsee.org, ili na telefon 061/6951243.

Ovaj materijal je izrađen uz pomoć Evropske unije. DPNSEE je jedini odgovoran za sadržinu ovog događaja i on ni na koji način ne odražava stavove Evropske unije.

Public debate on the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances

In Belgrade, on 26 December 2016, almost secretly, public debate on the Draft Law on Amendments to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances was organised by Working Group of the Ministry of Health. This law has long been announced, as part of the obligations that Serbia has in the process of accession to the European Union, specifically covered by Chapter 24 of the negotiations.

The Ministry of Health, in consultations with various relevant institutions, hopes that the amendments will result in better organization and quality of work of all ministries involved: health, education, internal affairs, labour, defence, youth and sport, culture, justice, agriculture, public administration and local self-government, finance (customs), as well as numerous organizations, institutes competent for public health and other interested organizations.

The discussion was not organized in the right manner, whatsoever. On the one hand the event involved a number of members of the working group for drafting the document. On the other hand, it was attended by several members of various patient organizations and organizations fighting for legalization of cannabis for medical purposes. Their aggressive discussions largely focused the discussion to the issue of cannabis. Several other participants, including DPNSEE representatives, insisted on a holistic approach, but we remained the minority. Also, DPNSEE asked that the drafts of accompanying documents should also be made available to the public (medical and other protocols, etc.).

Presentations and discussions on the proposed draft law will be further organised and in:
• Novi Sad, 10 January 2017, from 10:00 to 14:00 pm in the great hall of the Assembly of AP Vojvodina, the official entrance, Banovinski passage, Novi Sad;
• Kragujevac, 18 January 2017, from 10:00 to 13:00 pm in Assembly Hall of the City of Kragujevac, Kragujevac, Trg Slobode 3

All interested citizens and professional are invited to participate in the public debate, by submitting suggestions and comments electronically to the following e-mail address: javna.rasprava.pks@zdravlje.gov.rs or in writing to the Ministry of Health, Department of Medicine and Medical assets psychoactive controlled substances and precursors, Belgrade, Nemanjina 22-26, stating: “For a public hearing on the Draft Law on amendments to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances.”

DPNSEE and member organisations Prevent and Re Generacija, in consultations with various partners, will deeply analyse the draft law, comment is and propose improvements.

20161226-javna-rasprava-1

Legalize or not?

NGO “LEK lekalizuj, which has the mission is to launch initiatives for adoption of law on regulating medical cannabis, organised a public debate on medical cannabis on 24 December 2016 in Ruma, Serbia. The trigger for the debate was the forthcoming draft of the changes to the Law on psychoactive controlled substances.

The room was full of people who experienced different kind of progress in their health conditions claiming that it came from using medicaments based on cannabis oil.

DPNSEE representatives presented different experiences in regulating this item in countries of South East Europe.

DPNSEE sings the IDPC open letters regarding the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines.

LONDON (2nd August 2016) – Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.

Until now, however, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) – the UN agencies responsible for global drug control – have failed to condemn the Philippines for these gross human rights violations committed in the name of drug control.

Over 300 non-governmental organisations, DPNSEE among them, yesterday sent an open letter to the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and the INCB President, Mr. Werner Sipp, asking them to take immediate action aimed at putting a stop to the extrajudicial killings.

“We are calling on the UN drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure”, said Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium. “Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day”, she continued.

– The open letter asks the UNODC and the INCB to call on President Duterte to:Immediately end the incitements to kill people suspected of using or dealing drugs,
– Act to fulfil international human rights obligations, such as the rights to life, health, due process and a fair trial, as set out in the human rights treaties ratified by the Philippines,
– Promote evidence-based, voluntary treatment and harm reduction services for people who use drugs instead of compulsory rehabilitation in military camps, and
– Not to reinstate the death penalty for drug offences.

 

You can read the Open Letters

Open letter to Y.Fedotov

Open letter to W.Sipp

“Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy”: New perspectives for the Drug Policy Network in South East Europe

Since 2010 the Drug Policy Network in South East Europe has functioned with a minimum of financial resources. The award of a grant from the European Commission for 2015, increases the potential for more systematic and adequate advocacy and more structured cooperation between NGOs. The project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South East Europe” is financially supported by the European Commission, DG Enlargement, Regional Cooperation and programmes and co-financed by the Open Society Foundations.

The objectives of the project are:
a. to promote drug policies and drug legislation based on a public health and human rights approach
b. to improve contacts with relevant national and regional authorities in the field of drugs and follow closely the European Union and international drug policy developments. More specific: a. to strengthen cooperation of the NGOs working in the field of drugs, by the creation of a legal umbrella organisation b. to ensure the cohesion of the Drug Policy Network in SEE and undertake joint actions
c. to involve youth and drug users organisations in drug policy and d. To improve the capacity of local NGOs in drug policy issues.

The organisations that initiated this project and are responsible for its implementation are: the partners Aksion Plus (Albania), Margina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), NGO 4life (Montenegro), Prevent (Serbia) and Diogenis as lead organisation (Greece). The project started its activities in January 2015 and will organise until the end of the year several activities in the countries of the Western Balkans.

The main priorities of the first year of the project will be the realisation of a legal umbrella organisation, harm reduction advocacy and capacity building of local NGOs, Drug Law reform initiatives and NGO involvement in drug policy developments in the European Union and worldwide.

Public meetings will be organised in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia on drug strategy and drug legislation in co-operation with universities and the relevant local authorities in these countries. In September 2015 a regional conference will be held about the upcoming United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs. (April 2016). There will be several contacts with the authorities responsible for drug policy in the countries of the region. The Drug policy Network will try to initiate a meaningful dialogue with the countries in the Western Balkans and follow the political dialogue between them and the European Commission in the framework of the “Action Plan on drugs between the EU and the candidate countries in the Western Balkans and Turkey”.

We hope that during this year we will create the conditions for a coordinated and well-structured Network, make efforts for a good relationship with the authorities and relevant institutions in the field of drugs, react on developments in drug policy at the national, European and international level, enhance policy dialogue and support national and regional partnerships and Networks. The quarterly newsletter will keep interested organisations, institutions and individuals updated on drug policy developments along with news in the website and social media of the network. We will appreciate your feedback on this first issue of the newsletter and hope to improve it in the coming period.

Στιγμιότυπο 2016-05-16, 5.18.59 μ.μ.