Webinars on Human Rights Violations Data Gathering

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) planned to conduct a 2-day regional workshop for activists and professionals from South East Europe countries “Gathering data on human rights violations and reaction mechanisms” on 18 – 19 March 2020, in Belgrade, Serbia. Unfortunately, due to coronavirus pandemic, the workshop was postponed for better times.

The organiser finally decided not to wait for better times and provide the opportunity to take part in a series of 3 short webinars in a new exciting format.

The webinars will be organized in zoom on September 16, 23 and 31 and will last for 2 hours each from 14:00 till 16:00 (Central Europe time, GMT+2).

Goal of the workshop is to equip activists and professionals in South East Europe countries with knowledge on principles and mechanisms of data collection on human rights violations against key populations and follow-up reaction.

Facilitators of the workshop will be Mikhail Golichenko, International Legal Consultant, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Maria Plotko, Program Officer, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA).

Prior to each webinar you will be provided with 1-hour thematic videos/podcasts of experts dialogues, which you will examine beforehand, and during webinars we will jointly discuss them, answer your questions and work in interactive way.

Webinars will be open to all – number of participants is not limited!

The registration form will be published closer to the date of the first webinar. Please, follow the EHRA website for more information.

 

New Psychoactive Substance use in Eastern Europe

From the EHRA webpage

The phenomenon of new psychoactive substances (NPS) started decades ago with the growth and production of drugs that replicate the effects of controlled drugs (such as amphetamines, cocaine, cannabis and heroin) but avoid legislative control based on different chemical structures.

In recent years, the increasing use of NPS has led to new threats for health of people who use drugs (PWUD) – including overdose, psychotic reactions, high HIV risks due to multiple injections and increased number of sexual contacts. However, in many countries service providers such as harm reduction, drug treatment programs and ambulance services are not prepared to provide PWUD with quality support and counselling to reduce risks of NPS.

In the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region the situation with NPS is truly alarming and has become one of the major challenges for the national public health systems, local NGOs, communities PWUD.

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) in partnership with School of Law, Swansea University undertook the project “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Moldova, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia, and Serbia” to generate a more accurate picture of the use of new psychoactive substances (NPS) and to assess harm reduction and law enforcement responses to the emerging issues related to use of NPS. Results from this project will supplement scarce international data on the use of NPS in these countries, present a more accurate picture of their use, and provide information to national civil society organizations (CSOs) for political advocacy.

Irena Molnar, a researcher from the non-governmental organization Re Generation (the only CSO that conducts activities aimed at dealing with NPS in Serbia, DPNSEE member organisation), prepared the report for Serbia, the only country involved in the project from South East Europe. Here is a brief overview of it:

The appearance of NPS in Serbia is not a new phenomenon, but their market share is very small. NPS have been talked about for a whole decade, although scientific research and answers to their appearance in the form of special services aimed at ensuring the health and well-being of users, but also the whole society, have not progressed at all.

Among other things, the report examines in detail the actions taken by the state in the context of this issue and formulates recommendations for improvement. For example, in order to improve the response to problems related to the emergence and use of NPS, greater state involvement is needed in terms of adapting to rapid market changes. This means not only putting substances on the banned list, for which Serbia is very up to date, but also improving the entire system.

To read the reports, follow this link>>>.

 

Joint input into the Global Fund Strategy Development from CEECA region

On September 1st the document named “Joint input into the Global Fund Strategy Development from key affected communities and civil society from CEECA region” was send to the Global Fund in a response to an earlier invitation from the Global Fund to join the Open Consultation to Inform the Development of its new Post-2022 StrategyStrategy.

Discussions were organized by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) and involved key regional networks that unite key affected communities and civil society organizations working in the Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia (CEECA) region. Initial focus-group discussion was held on June 25th during the Regional Partners’ coordination call organized by the Regional Civil Society and Community Support, Coordination and Communication Platform – Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA).

The resulting draft document was circulated for comments during August 2020 among the leaders of the following nine regional networks and organizations of civil society and key affected communities that unite hundreds of national community-based entities as well as civil society groups in 29 countries of the region:

  • Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA)
  • Eurasian Coalition on Health, Rights, Gender and Sexual Diversity (ECOM)
  • TB Europe Coalition (TBEC)
  • Center for Health policies and Studies (Center PAS)
  • Alliance for Public Health (APH)
  • Eurasian Key Populations Health Network (EKHN)
  • AFEW International
  • Regional Expert Group on Migration and Health
  • Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN)
  • Eurasian union of adolescents and young people Teenergizer

 You may find the resulted document following this link: https://eecaplatform.org/en/joint-input/.

New ties, new opportunities

DPNSEE hosted the Donor conference for vulnerable populations in South East Europe on Thursday 6 August 2020. The aim of the Conference was to present the needs and potential projects of vulnerable populations in South East Europe and establish better communication, coordination and cooperation between service providers and public and private funding programmes.

The Conference included plenary presentations from the region and donors and work in two separate discussion rooms: Sustainability of services for vulnerable populations and Emerging needs of key populations.

47 representatives of civil society organisations, international organisations and donor community participated.

We hope to produce and distribute the report from the Conference in the next few days.

The presentations from the Conference are ready to download:

  • Monica Ciupagea, Expert – Drug use and HIV, HIV/AIDS section, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime: HIV prevention, treatment and care among people who use drugs following this link>>>.
  • Jan Zlatan Kulenović, Director of Programs, Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO): Supporting Regional Youth Cooperation following this link>>>.
  • Sergii Filippovych, Project Director, Alliance for Public Health, Ukraine, coordinator of the regional #SOS_project supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: Sustainability of services for key populations in EECA & SEE Region following this link>>>.
  • Ganna Dovbakh, Executive Director, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association: Key challenges of harm reduction in COVID era following this link>>>.
  • Yuri de Boer, Senior Program Manager, AFEW International: Emergency Support Fund for Key Populations in EECA following this link>>>.

 

 

Special issue on the state of harm reduction in Europe

In collaboration with Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), the Harm Reduction Journal is planning a special thematic series on the state of harm reduction in Europe, to be launched at the 5th European Harm Reduction Conference in Prague, 4-6 November 2020.

Partners are seeking submission especially of articles reporting on contemporary research findings, but also commentaries on aspects of harm reduction policy and programming – anywhere regionally or locally in broader Europe, and on any issue to which the harm reduction approach is relevant.

Please see the Call for Papers in this link: https://www.biomedcentral.com/collections/HR-Europe2020 and please pass this Call on to your colleagues and networks who may be interested in submitting an article for consideration for publication.

Regional workshop on gathering data on human rights violations

The Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) will conduct a 2-day regional workshop for activists and professionals from South East Europe countries “Gathering data on human rights violations and reaction mechanisms” on 18-19 March 2020, in Belgrade, Serbia.

The workshop is conducted as part of the three-year multi-country project “Sustainability of Services for Key Populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (#SoS project).

Goal of the workshop is to equip activists and professionals in South East Europe countries with knowledge on principles and mechanisms of data collection on human rights violations against key populations and follow-up reaction.

Objectives

  • To discuss the most common human rights violations and gender barriers to access HIV prevention and care services.
  • To examine methodologies of data collection on human rights violations (cases).
  • To provide in-depth information on UN treaty bodies and processes of shadow reports submissions.
  • To understand the follow-up system for its systematic and effective use.

Facilitators of the workshop – Mikhail Golichenko, International Legal Consultant, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Maria Plotko, Program Officer, Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA).

The workshop will gather over 25 activists and professionals from NGOs, human rights and community organizations from 5 South East Europe countries – implementors of the SoS project – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, The Republic of North Macedonia, Romania and Serbia) who are either engaged into the human rights protection work or eager to start working over cases on human rights violations and follow-up reaction on them.

Harm Reduction @Work

Correlation – European Harm Reduction Network announced that the Fifth European Harm Reduction Conference will be held from 4 to 6 November 2020 in Prague, Czechia.

The Conference Motto is

Harm Reduction @Work

innovation, community & political leadership

The Conference will be organised by the Correlation European Harm Reduction Network in close cooperation with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association and the Czech organization Sananim. DPNSEE supports and endorses the Conference.

The 5th European Harm Reduction Conference targets professionals from the community working in the broader area of harm reduction, policy-makers and politicians, researchers, and media representatives. Registrations are already open.

The conference will present the latest harm reduction developments and good innovative practices. It will discuss drug policy and its implications on people who use drugs and other groups, including not only sex workers but also people living with HIV.

The meeting intends to broaden the view on harm reduction while addressing related issues such as social inclusion and homelessness. Finally, the conference provides an appropriate platform to create links and synergies between national and European stakeholders.

The conference programme is currently under development. The European Network of People Who Use Drugs, the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, the European Monitoring Centre Drugs and Drug Addiction and other vital stakeholders from Europe are joining us in this effort.

Follow all developments about the Conference following this link>>>

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>>>

Terms of reference for technical consultant to support field data collection on NPS in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia

EHRAIn the framework of project “New Psychoactive Substance Use in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and SerbiaEurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) is seeking to engage technical consultants, one consultant per country, for conducting research on new psychoactive substances (hereinafter – NPS) use in the four countries. This research project is a collaboration between EHRA and the the School of Law, Swansea University, UK.

The assessment is aimed to analyze existing evidence and documents to overview the

  1. existing statistics/data on NPS use from various sources,
  2. researches of patterns of use and procurement of NPS (via clubs, darknet, etc),
  3. existing algorithms of ambulance and police actions, and
  4. availability of harm reduction services for NPS users, and how existing services needs to adapt to meet the needs created by NPS in four countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Georgia and Serbia. This research will be conducted using the same methodology as one, done already in Moldova and Belarus.

The potential candidates should:

  • collect national data sources (such as website links, documents (in word, pdf formats), presentations and other materials) on NPS (documents and research data on drug use, behavior and harm reduction services, existing laws on health and drug policy). If documents are in national language – to make summary of the document with main quotes and translate it into English or Russian;
    to organize the field data collection:
  • recruit respondents from community of people who use drugs for focus-groups;
  • arrange interviews with officials from law enforcement and health services, harm reduction services (list of needed interviewees will be agreed with EHRA);
  • according the collected national sources on NPS use, together with EHRA staff member to adjust questionnaire for interviews/ focus groups;
  • organize logistics for the interviews/ focus-groups (place, time, coffee breaks for focus-group participants);
  • make notes during interviews and focus-groups;
  • make transcripts of the focus group discussion and interviews (in Russian or English);
  • help EHRA staff member to validate data of the report prepared by EHRA with respondents.

Soft copies of all collected data and minutes of interviews should be shared with EHRA via DropBox or GoogleDrive. In case of using quotes from individuals, the consultant must have a signed informed consent from each interviewee.

The candidates are invited to submit their CV and letter of interest with suggested respondents list, and state the daily rate in EUR (should be provided in EHRA’s template) by e-mail referenced under title “Technical Consultant” to Eliza Kurcevic at eliza@harmreductioneurasia.org by 5th January 2020, 24:00 EET. Results will be announced by January 10th, 2020. Each candidate will be contacted individually.

For more information about the Association and specifics of the work follow this link.

 

New case study on HIV prevention in Albania

Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA) just published the case study “The Challenges of Global Fund Transition in Albania: HIV Prevention Services for Key Populations on the Brink of Collapse” which looks at the challenges which could be faced by country in sustaining HIV prevention programmes among KAPs, implemented primarily by civil society organisations (CSO’s), as a result of the withdrawal of the Global Fund through the transition period.

The purpose of this report is to identify gaps and challenges faced by CSO’s in the transition from Global Fund assistance to government support of services for key populations (KP) under the 2017-2019 grant. Whilst the funding commitment by government institutions is to absorb all costs, the methodology to prepare for this transition, and also the strategy to transfer costs, is unclear.

We hope that the information and arguments presented in this case study as well as the recommendations could be used by the civil society and communities representatives to support their sustainability and transition related advocacy activities as well as to establish the communication with other potential donors to persuade them to establish a ‘safety net‘ through which bridging funds can be made available to address the sustainability related challenges faced by KPs services in country.

HIV Prevention Services for Key Populations on the Brink of Collapse

This case study is available at EHRA’s webpage following this link>>>