Awareness video on human rights and harm reduction approach

Our member organisation Labyrinth invite to check out awareness video-animation they produced on Human rights and Harm reduction approach for people who use drugs in Kosovo.

The video was a part of the project that Labyrinth implemented “Enhancing drug user’s rights and entitlements” and was supported by the EU Office in Kosovo. The purpose of the “ENDURE” project was to create a more appropriate environment for people from marginalized communities to realize health, social and legal rights and to be involved in all processes of social life.

The project aimed to address the needs of discriminated and stigmatized groups by strengthening their capacities to invoke anti-discrimination law. The “ENDURE” project also aimed to raise awareness against discrimination providing legal and psychological support to drug users and improve access to drug users.

In scope of the ENDURE project, Labyrinth prepared two publications (both in Albanian):

Have a look at this excellent video. Subtitles are available both in English and Serbian language.

Regional training for the ARYSE Advocacy Network

Within the project “Strengthening young people at risk of social exclusion“, a regional training of the ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment) Network for advocacy for the promotion of children and young people at risk was held from 5 to 7 July in Bar, Montenegro.

The project is being implemented in six countries from the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo*, Northern Macedonia and Serbia) and aims to contribute to the social inclusion of the larger part of the young people at risk at the regional level, by strengthening the capacities of civil society organizations, regional/national cooperation and advocacy activities.

This training was intended for representatives of the implementing organizations and representatives of the national working groups established within the project. The idea of ​​the training was that the members of the working group and representatives of the organizations form a regional advocacy body which will continue to function after the completion of the project.

During the training, the participants worked to develop a common platform on which they would base their future work on young people at risk. During the training, the participants worked to develop an advocacy plan for all target groups covered by the project: Street youth, Youth who use drugs, Youth in conflict with law, Youth without parental care, Young Roma and Youth from families with history of drug use and/or conflict with law.

The regional body would aim to continue to promote the results of the ARYSE project and to advocate for appropriate guidance created through this project. In addition, the regional body would continuously work on the exchange of information and good practices and the improvement of policies related to young people at risk and the availability of the services designed for them.

The project is implemented by the NGO Juventas (Montenegro), the Association “Prevent” (Serbia), the Association Margina (BiH), ARSIS (Albania), HOPS (Macedonia), Labyrinth (Kosovo) and the Foundation CHL (Germany).

The network of the mentioned organizations that implements activities are aimed at contributing to active participation in the social and social processes of young people from the Western Balkan countries who are at the highest risk of social exclusion.

Support. Don’t Punish finally in Kosovo

Kosovo* finally joined the Support. Don’t Punish campaign in 2019. Activities were organised on the Global Day of Action in Pristina by Qendra për Informim dhe Përmirësim Social – QIPS (The Centre for Information and Social Improvement), a Kosovo-based NGO, working to improve the wellbeing of people in need and raising awareness for problems hidden by stigma. DPNSEE member organisation Labyrinth joined the campaign.

During the day, a march in the city centre was organised, all the way to the government building. It was followed by marketing on social media for the event, printing and designing banners and making props to place in front of the government building.

Posters were designed and posted around the city during the early morning, while leaflets were distributed during the day.

In the evening, the documentary „How to make money selling drugs“ was projected in the Termokiss, a community-run centre in Prishtina with the mission of urban and civil exchange, reflection and change making.

 

INCB mission to Kosovo

From 23 to 27 June 2019, The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) conducted a mission to Pristina, Kosovo to review the drug control situation there with a view of facilitating access to controlled substances while preventing their diversion.

INCB is an independent, quasi-judicial expert body established by the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 for monitoring member states’ implementation of the UN drug control treaties. It has 13 members, each elected by the Economic and Social Council for a period of five years.

The mission was led by Ambassador (ret.) David Johnson, Member of the Board, supported by Mr. Nodirjon Ibragimov of the INCB secretariat. The mission was facilitated by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMiK).

The delegation met with the representatives of Kosovo agencies involved in pharmaceutical regulation; the administration of justice, including prosecutorial services and the judiciary; law-enforcement, customs and forensics; and public health, addiction treatment and rehabilitation.

The INCB delegation also met with leaders of the international community supporting local institutions, including the EU Office in Pristina, EULEX, the OSCE Mission, UNDP, UNODC, and UNMiK. In addition, meetings were held with officials from the NGO “Labyrinth”, a DPNSEE member organisation, which provides opioid substitution treatment and other elements of a comprehensive treatment and reintegration programme and with the leader of the NGO Community Development Fund, which supports “Labyrinth”.

INCB Board Member delegation meets Mr. Safet Blakaj, Executive Director, and other representatives of the NGO Labyrinth

Open Call for the Award of Small Grants

DPNSEE member organisation Juventas opened a Call for small grants to support the implementation of civil society organisations’ projects for the improvement of social inclusion of at risk children and youth in Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia.

The Call is announced under the “ARYSE (At Risk Youth Social Empowerment)” project, supported by the European Union and implemented by NGO Juventas (Montenegro), the project coordinator, with the partner organisations: ARSIS (Albania), Association MARGINA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), Labyrinth (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia) and SHL Foundation (Germany). The project beneficiaries are children and youth, especially at risk youth (children and youth who use drugs, who are in conflict with the law, who come from families who use drugs and/or are in conflict with the law, who are without parental care, as well as street and Roma children and youth). The project is being implemented under the Civil Society Facility and Media Programme 2014-2015.

The specific objectives of the open call for small grants are:

  • To raise capacities of relevant actors/stakeholders and CSOs in the work with at risk children and youth;
  • To establish, maintain, improve or scale up services for at risk children and youth regarding social inclusion and protection, education, employment, health, security, equality, rights and access to justice;
  • To improve availability of evidence, and advance awareness, policies and practices for the purpose of enchasing social inclusion of at risk children and youth at local or national level.

To be eligible for this Small Grant Call the applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Is registered as non-profit/civil society organisation or network, in accordance with the respective national legislation, in their home country (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro or Serbia), at least one year before the announcement of this Call;
  • Has its headquarters in its home country (i.e. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro or Serbia);
  • Had an annual budget of EUR 10,000.00 to EUR 100,000.00 in the previous year.

Full information about the Call is available following this link>>>> while the application package is available here>>>>

A dialogue between civil society and donors

The Open Society Foundations convened civil society activists from HIV, harm reduction, sex worker and LGBT communities from South Eastern Europe and health and human rights donors to discuss opportunities for strategic collaboration to sustain HIV prevention services for key populations and facilitate transition to domestic financing of these programs. The half-day meeting was held on 18 January 2018 in Belgrade, Serbia.

The aims of the meeting were:

  • Share examples of civil society advocacy towards domestic financing of HIV services, including efforts to push national governments to commit to provision and financing of services for key populations;
  • Discuss current challenges sustaining programming for key populations in the region with a specific focus on the threats to the human rights movements, programs, and advocates that were directly and indirectly supported by the Global Fund when it was still active in the region;
  • Present examples of how targeted donor support for civil society engagement in transition and sustainability process can bolster government ownership of the HIV response;
  • Discuss strategies and opportunities to address the service gap and enable civil society to navigate the transition process, as well as roles that donors, regional networks and technical agencies can play.

DPNSEE member organisations representatives were panellists: Denis from Margina and Dragos from RHRN presenting situation in Bosnia Herzegovina and Romania, Ivana from Juventas presenting the promising case study of Montenegro and Milutin, together with two other networks (ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey and SWAN – Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network) on possibilities for work together to strengthen national and regional advocacy.

Many organisations were at the list of potential invitees. Finally, around 35 CSO participated. Besides DPNSEE, 9 member organisations were present: Aksion Plus, Margina, Viktorija, Labyrinth, Cazas, Juventas, ARAS, RHRN and Prevent.

The meeting was mainly about presenting situation and needs, with not many questions and comments from the floor. Most of the results were achieved in informal exchanges with other participants. Besides OSF and Global Fund representatives, donors included Embassy of France in Serbia, Mama Cash and Reconstruction Women’s Fund (Serbia). Representatives of other Networks included Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and Eurasian coalition on male Health.

Just after the main meeting of the dialogue, an Informal dialogue on LGBTI and HIV in South-Eastern Europe was organised by the ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey. Most of the DPNSEE member organisations participated in the meeting that addressed the current work done, gaps and challenges in collaborating towards protecting LGBTI rights and addressing HIV and needs and opportunities for a regional approach and support of this work.

Representatives of the DPNSEE member organisations at the Dialogue

Social inclusion of most at-risk youth in the Western Balkans Region

The EU funded project ARYSE (At-Risk Youth Social Empowerment), implemented in 6 Western Balkans countries aims to contribute to achievement of social inclusion of most At-Risk Youth at the regional level, by strengthening CSOs capacities, regional/national cooperation and advocacy actions. The specific objective of the action is to support equal access to education, employment, justice and other related fields to most At-Risk Youth in the Balkan countries, by fostering the level of active participation and inclusion of CSOs representing young people in decision making and reform processes.

The project partners are ARSIS (Albania), Association Margina (Bosnia and Herzegovina), HOPS (Macedonia), Juventas (Montenegro), NGO Labyrinth (Kosovo), Prevent (Serbia) and SHL Foundation from Germany that has a role of consultant.

Topics that the project addresses include

    • Youth from families with history of drug use and/or conflict with law
    • Street youth
    • Youth who use drugs
    • Youth in conflict with law
    • Youth without parental care
    • Young Roma

    The training mainly organised to provide material for future procedures and guidelines is being held in Skopje, Macedonia, from 15 to 18 October 2017. Experts – Nevena Nikolić, Vlatko Dekov, Dardan Berisha, Jarmila Bujak Stanko, Violeta Kola, dr Meliha Bijedić, dr Anita Burgund and Katarina Mitić – prepared draft standards for specific topics of the project.

     

    More about the project is available at the website HERE>>>

Call for an international expert

The DPNSEE member organisation Labyrinth requires international Expert on Human Rights to conduct 2 days training for “Enhancing Drug Users rights and Entitlements” project, financed by the European Union office in Kosovo. The training work should be conducted between October 17th to October 18 in Kosovo, Prishtina.

The expert, under the guidance of the project manager, and in collaboration with rest of the project team will:

Review Kosovo and International legislation on HR and compiles two days training agenda with the aim of delivering key concepts on HR, non-violent approach toward the drug users and sensitization of public workers dealing with drug users.

Specific objectives to be delivered:

  • HR of drug users in in respect to treatment
  • HR of drug users in respect to Harm Reduction
  • HR of underage drug users
  • HR of female drug users
  • Interested applicants are invited to submit their CV and Cover letter and financial offer by: October 2, 2017, at 16:00 PM.

The candidates are requested to submit their financial offer consisting of fee for the service to be provided.

Travel and accommodation will be covered by Labyrinth.

More details on background of the project, job descriptions and requirements, you can find in the Terms of Reference.

For additional information and inquiries, please contact the organisation.

Annual Drug Policy Conference

The Annual Regional Conference in South East Europe was organised in Thessaloniki from 8 to 10 June 2017. The conference aimed to bring together NGOs, policy makers and researchers active in the drugs field in the region of South East Europe, in order to discuss drug policy developments and trends, exchange experiences and best practices in the region, Europe and the United Nations.

The conference is part of the regional project “Strengthening NGO capacity and promoting public health and human rights oriented drug policy in South East Europe”, supported financially by the European Commission and the Open Society Foundations. The organiser was Diogenis, Drug Policy Dialogue.

National drug coordinators from Romania and Croatia

The Conference agenda included a large number of interesting issues:

  • The Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and drug policy. Priority issues, the role of UN agencies, expected commitments from the member states and role of NGOs. Presenter was Jo Dedeyne-Amann, Chief Secretariat to the Governing Bodies, Division for Treaty Affairs, UNODC. Nikos Stergiou, Communication and public relations Officer, Diogenis, presented experience of two local meetings.
  • Initiatives undertaken in the countries of our region related to implementation of the outcomes of the UNGASS and the role of NGOs. National drug coordinators presented work in their countries: drug co-ordinators: Sorin Oprea (Romania), Milan Pekić (Serbia), Željko Petković (Croatia) and Manina Terzidou, head of the Greek Monitoring Centre for Drugs (EKTEPN) (Greece)
  • Women and Drugs. Facts and Special Characteristics for Girls and Women who use drugs was the presentation from Meni Malliori, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Athens, while Georgia Aslanidou, Psychologist, OKANA Thessaloniki presented about Addicted mothers and the journey of therapy
  • Drugs and internet: experiences, opportunities and concerns in the use of online counselling tools presented by Ilias Paraskevopoulos, Consultant for addictions at KETHEA ITHAKI
  • The Harm reduction project in South East Europe. Developments and next steps presented by Sofia Galinaki, Advocacy Officer, Diogenis and Peers’ involvement in harm reduction, with introduction from Christos Anastasiou, Peer Network of Users of Psychoactive Substances (PENUPS).
  • Irena Molnar and Bojan Arsenijević from the NGO Re Generation, Serbia provided valuable insight into Changing culture in drug use including new psychoactive substances
  • Developments in the discussion about cannabis policy in countries of SEE
Irena Molnar presenting about Changing culture in drug use including new psychoactive substances

Representatives from 14 DPNSEE member organisations, 3 Board members and all 5 Staff were at the Conference. We presented the Network, strategic priorities and plans for the future. Our two volunteers talked about their work on the Glossary and Resource Pool.

Marios Atzemis, DPNSEE Board member, making an intervention

The Conference was a very good opportunity to share and learn about interesting ideas and make plans for the future.