The Network for Protection against Discrimination held a promotion of the public policy document with a focus on rape and sexual harassment “How to effective protection in cases of sexual violence?”. The event was organized within the framework of marking the international campaign 16 days of activism against gender-based violence. Its purpose was to promote proposed solutions for the effective protection of victims of sexual violence in accordance with the already accepted obligations from the Istanbul Convention and to request the immediate adoption of amendments to the.
In the period of waiting for the amendments to the Criminal Code, which passed the first reading in the Assembly of the Republic of North Macedonia, after more than a year, one can witness inadequate implementation of the procedures for criminal prosecution of the perpetrators of sexual violence, prolonging of the procedures, inappropriate qualification of the acts and unjustified termination of prosecutions that punish victims instead of perpetrators.
Dragana Drndarevska from the Network for Protection against Discrimination and legal adviser in the Coalition Margini (DPNSEE member organisation) opened the event by pointing out that “the delay in adopting the amendments to the Criminal Code means that we still do not have a consensus between the political parties on the issue of protecting victims from gender-based and sexual violence “.
This event, as well as the prepared document for public policies, are activities within the project “Network for Protection against Discrimination: Promotion of Policies and Practices for Protection against Discrimination and Promotion of Equality”, which is financially supported by the Open Society Foundation – Macedonia.
On Homelessness Day, 10 October 2022, the Kralji ulice association and the City Municipality of Ljubljana unveiled a commemorative plaque to the homeless Anton Puglje – Tonček, who died in 2020.
In Slovenia, there is still no definition of homelessness, and the number of homeless people is rising steeply. The president of Kralji Street Association, Hana Košan, thinks that the definition of homelessness should be based on the ethos that makes homeless people those without a roof over their heads, those without housing or home and those who live in unfinished but unsuitable conditions.
She stressed that the levels of poverty, social exclusion and oppression are deepening, the number of homeless people is increasing steeply, so it is high time for the state to adopt a strategy in the field of homelessness, to focus on building shelters and accessible public housing. “Homelessness cannot be a question of social or health policy only, but also of housing policy,” she said. Košan warned that everyone first needs a roof over their head, so that they can arrange their lives easily.
Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Dejan Crnek, on behalf of Mayor Zoran Janković, thanked the Kralji ulice for the initiative to put up the memorial plaque. He added that the municipality is aware of the problems pointed out by the president of the society, and that they perceive the homeless as their citizens, “for whom we must take care of as much as we can.”
He announced that the construction of a new center for the homeless on Poljanska cesta will begin at the end of next summer. It will have space for those who deal with homelessness on a daily basis, and for those who would need space for long-term progress. According to Crneko’s speeches, the municipality is aware that the capital is a place for the homeless, where they can easily earn a little more for their living, and it will remain so. At the same time, he wishes that the municipality’s cooperation with the homeless would continue to be fruitful, and the municipality will expand the resources it allocates to this issue.
This year’s title was awarded to Samira Kentrić‘s cover by the public’s choice.
The magazine is published monthly in approximately 15.000 copies. It is sold in Ljubljana, Maribor, Primorje and occasionally elsewhere in Slovenia.
Homeless Help and Self-Help Association Kralji ulice is an independent non-governmental humanitarian organization founded in September 2005. It brings together experts and others who deal with homelessness and related phenomena and individuals who experience homelessness and related social exclusion.
The magazine is published as a road or street magazine. It discuss the topics of homelessness, living on the street and social exclusion.
Following a good result in coordination of the campaigns since 2017, the International Drug Policy Consortium and The Drug Policy Network South East Europe agreed on continuing cooperation on organising the campaign in 2022.
The 10th Global Day of Action was a resounding success and brought into sharp relief our movement’s commitment to bring about positive change with people at the centre! For a decade, campaigners in all corners of the world have mobilised decisively to counter the harmful ‘war on drugs’ and the many systems of violence and neglect at its heart, and to build sustainable alternatives based on harm reduction and decriminalisation.
Through hundreds of creative, collaborative and impactful activities, campaigners have put harm reduction, decriminalisation and community engagement firmly on local, regional and national agendas. All while growing people power to ensure no one is left behind.
The Support. Don’t Punish 2022 campaign was held in all countries of South East Europe. It had
The Support. Don’t Punish activities were organised by, or in collaboration with, people who use drugs, people living with HIV, women, LGBTQ+ people, sex workers, young people, families of incarcerated people, and a long etcetera.
The DPNSEE staff collected and published articles alongside with photos of the involved organisations in the Network during the campaign on Internet page www.dpnsee.org and social media Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Support. Don’t Punish is a global grassroots-centred initiative in support of harm reduction and drug policies that prioritise public health and human rights. The campaign seeks to put harm reduction on the political agenda by strengthening the mobilisation capacity of affected communities and their allies, opening dialogue with policy makers, and raising awareness among the media and the public.
The Drug Policy Network South East Europe coordinates activities of the campaign in South East Europe around the Global Day of Action 26 June – which is also the United Nations’ International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
In 2022, we shall participate in activities of the #DrugDecrim month to contribute to fighting stigmatisation and criminalisation of people that use drugs.
The campaign 2022 shall have in South East Europe:
Our member organisation Duga launched a new program on the HIV/AIDS-a and sexually transmitted diseases prevention.
Checkpoint Belgrade is a safe space within which, in one place, is possible to receive confidentially and anonymously provided services in the field of prevention, HIV testing and other sexually transmitted infections, as well as psycho-social support. All services are provided free of charge, without referral and personal documents needed.
The checkpoint is run by experienced, certified community counselors, in a team with a network of expert associates in the field of medicine and social protection. All members of the team are especially sensitive to work with MSM and LGBTIQ + people as well as members of other groups who face stigma and discrimination in society. The testing process is fast and painless. Blood is drawn from the finger. The results are ready in 15 minutes. Confidential counseling before and after testing is included in the testing process.
Checkpoint Belgrade provides the following free services:
Voluntary, confidential counseling and testing (DPST) for HIV, hepatitis C and syphilis
Networking and monitoring in other institutions and partner organizations
On 26 May, our member organisation Re Generacija organized the Closing Event of the project “LEt’s Talk about drugs – new MEthods of communication with youth” (LET ME) at the Palace of Serbia, in Belgrade.
The event was attended by representatives of the Office for Combating Drugs of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, representatives of ministries, civil society organizations, young people directly affected by drug education and policies and high school teachers.
The aim of the project was to support youth workers, educators (peer educators), street workers, harm reduction specialists working directly with youth who can potentially start using drugs or already use them with the innovative approaches and methods on drug education. The main target group of the project were youth workers, youth educators, peer educators and outreach workers who will be able to influence the young people who use drugs, directly within the outputs of the project.
According to the data of the research in which 124 young people participated in Serbia, they most often have a lecture on drugs at school (85.8%) in the form of a one-time formal lecture (83%), which was mostly focused on the effects and risks of use (89.36%) as well as drug treatment (43.62%). As many as 78% of the respondents who participated in this research believe that drug education should be conducted by specialised drug counselors, psychologists, youth workers, peer consultants and health experts. Respondents assessed the acquired formal education on drugs as unsatisfactory. They stated that they mostly turn to the Internet, friends and the media in search of information.
During the final event, the activities and results of the project, research results, as well as the Manual on “How to communicate with young people about drugs” were presented. The guide is divided into three modules, and is a comprehensive resource for all who work with young people. The first module is dedicated to basic concepts and policies towards drugs, harm reduction and prevention; while the second contains information on peer work, theoretical frameworks but also program planning as well as skills that educators need to develop. The third module is fully dedicated to the ways in which young people could be informed about the risks of drug use through the production of short and interesting video content and offered the necessary information in an easier and more understandable way.
The manuals in English and in the languages of the partner organizations can be found on the project website.
In addition to these project results, the film “Teach Me“, made during the project, was presented. Young people participated in preparing the film.
The Association of HIV-positive people of Greece Positive Voice, DPNSEE member organisation, warmly welcomes the opening of the Supervised Use Area (XEX) “STEKI 46” by The Organisation Against Drugs OKANA. After more than ten years from the epidemic of HIV in people who use substances in the center of Athens and after the cessation of the operation of “Odysseus” – the first site that operated as a pilot for some time (2013) on the initiative of the then President of OKANA, Professor of Psychiatry Mr. Mallioris – finally a permanent claim of the Civil Society professionals in the field, but also of the involved community that has been affected by the absence of such structures.
In a meeting held on 18 April 2020, in the presence of the Prime Minister Mr. Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the President of OKANA Athanasios Theocharis and the representative of the Positive Voice, responsible for Harm Reduction issues, Marios Atzemis, presented a number of urgent issues.
Positive Voice hopes that the site can provide both smooth operation of the space and full utilization of the multidimensional to the population of the most vulnerable people who use substances.
According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction, the safe consumption areas provide a safe framework for the use of substances in hygienic conditions under the supervision and the possibility of immediate intervention by qualified personnel. They are harm reduction services, the usefulness and effectiveness of which have been proven many times over.
XEXs function essentially as prevention sites for opiate overdose and as centers for preventing the transmission of blood-borne infections, such as HIV and hepatitis. They are also often a gateway for a multi-excluded, heavily stigmatized and marginalized population to various services that would not otherwise be accessible to them.
From Positive Voice’s experience in the field, any structure, strategy and practice of harm reduction not only saves lives, but can be the bridge to reintegration and facilitate access to any form of treatment.
“In order for all this to happen, one must first stay alive. Every year in Greece we mourn deaths that could have been prevented by simple means. “Every death from overdose is a manifestation of the failure of the drug policies in our country so far.”
This was pointed out, among others, by the person in charge of harm reduction of Positive Voice, Marios Atzemis, in a joint speech with the President of OKANA, Mr. Athanasios Theocharis, within the 2nd European Symposium of Controlled Uses (2nd European Symposium of Drug Consumption Rooms) organized by the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe and took place at the latter’s premises in Strasbourg on 1 July last year.
There is still much to be done to improve the conditions under which substances are used in the center of Athens. This is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, always centered on the common and unified strategy followed by the European Union on Drugs and the Joint European Action Plan. If the guidelines of the Commission and the Council of Europe are consistently followed, Greece can see significant improvements in the conditions of use and quality of life of people who use substances, as they have shown examples of cities such as Lisbon, Rome and Amsterdam where the European directives were implemented.
“Drug policies are not judged by intentions but by the result and the existence of such places brings tangible, measurable results“, concludes Marios Atzemis.
Based on the requests we made to the National Committee for Drugs, the requests that arise from the field and the developments in it, but also based on the constant and timeless requests, the Positive Voice claims:
Immediate adoption of the new National Action Plan on Drugs by the diligent inter-ministerial committee of Surveillance Areas in each area where there is a concentration of people who use high risk
Approach of the competing populations where they are, by strengthening the services in the field (state, Civil Society) but also further strengthening each front line service, such as e.g. the distribution of sterile utility equipment
Extending the legal framework for naloxone – an antidote to opioid overdose – to pass into the hands of civil society organizations and the community directly involved, its users and relatives, a practice which in foreign countries has prevented countless unjust deaths
Evaluation of all services aimed at people who use psychoactive substances by themselves
Involvement of the community directly affected in the design and implementation of policies and services that directly affect the lives of its members
Inclusion of the special needs of the populations involved (gender issues, LGBTQI + inclusion, interpretation and intercultural approach to design, services of detoxification structures)
Ensuring the human rights of those who use it
Strengthening and staffing of the Special Infections Units and establishing their cooperation with the substitution units but also with those of the “dry” programs
Complete, appropriate and free primary and secondary mental health services
Creating harm reduction services for people who use substances found in penitentiary establishments
Training of security forces and health professionals
Combating homelessness and precarious housing with the immediate reopening of state-owned housing and the further creation of new accommodation and housing structures for people using in Athens and Thessaloniki
Identify and combat the factors that contribute to the further stigmatization, marginalization and social exclusion of people who use “problematic” substances
Drug use is a manifestation of the complexity of human behavior and existence, and addiction – according to modern views – is often the result of a complex and divisive trauma.
The full information note on the visit of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to the Supervised Use Area “STEKI 46” of OKANA is available (in Greek) following this link>>>.
Our member organisation HOPS – Options for Healthy Life Skopje, in the period from the 13th to the 15th April 2022, realized three one-day trainings in three different cities: Strumica, Bitola and Skopje on the topic: “Treatment of women victims of gender-based violence who use drugs“, intended for professionals working with victims of gender-based violence.
On April 13, the training was held in the Therapeutic Community “Pokrov” – Strumica, which was attended by a total of 13 representatives: 8 representatives from the Centers for Social Work in Sveti Nikole, Strumica, Kočani and Štip and 5 representatives from other non-governmental organizations: Educational – humanitarian organization “EHO” – Štip, Youth Club of the Red Cross Strumica, Women’s Action Radoviš, Sky Plus Strumica and the therapeutic community Pokrov Strumica.
On April 14, the training was held at the hotel “Millennium Palace” Bitola, which was attended by a total of 12 representatives, of which: 3 representatives from the Centers for Social Work in Prilep and Resen, 2 representatives from PHI Health Center Bitola and PHI General Hospital Prilep, 1 representative from PHI Psychomedica Bitola and 6 representatives from non-governmental organizations: Center for Human Rights AMOS – Bitola, Via Vita – Bitola, Station 5 – Prilep and Association for Social Action, Prevention Education EASP Prilep.
On April 15, the training was held in the hotel “City Park” Skopje, which was attended by a total of 13 representatives, as follows: 4 representatives from the Centers for Social Work in Skopje, Veles and Tetovo, 2 representatives from PHI General Hospital Kumanovo and 7 representatives by non-governmental organizations: Macedonian Young Lawyers Association, Association for Health Education and Research HERA Skopje, Civic Initiative for Women Sveti Nikole, National Network against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence and the Red Cross of the Republic of Northern Macedonia.
The trainings were led by prof. Dr. Liljana Ignjatova from the Medical Faculty Skopje, Department of Psychiatry and Hajdi Sterjova Simonovic – Executive Director of the Association HOPS. The purpose of these trainings is to sensitize the professionals who work with women who use drugs in cases when they are victims of gender-based violence.
The participants evaluated all three trainings extremely positively, both from the aspect of high quality and level of theoretical and practical knowledge of the trainers, as well as from the aspect of interaction established between the participants and the trainers and the possibility for exchange of information and experiences.
The experience from the held trainings showed us that there is a huge interest in this topic and the need to conduct such trainings in the future.
The trainings are organized by the Association HOPS, supported by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Association (EHRA), as part of the project “Access to comprehensive care for women who use drugs in cases of violence” funded by COVID-19 Response Mechanism (C19RM) of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as part of the regional project “Sustainability of services for key populations in Eastern Europe and Central Asia region” (#SoS_project) implemented by the Alliance for Public Health.