Bringing State Commitments to Gender Equality into Action

April 2016

Addressing the Needs of Women Who Use Drugs

The UN General Assembly Special Session on the world’s drug problem comes at an opportune time. Multiple international bodies (including WHO, OHCHR, UNDP, UNAIDS, UNHCR, and UN Women) have already recognized the devastating impact of punitive drug policies on health, human rights, and development and called on member states to revise them. The UNGASS also follows a historic member state agreement on pursuing an ambitious sustainable development agenda, integrating a set of 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs), including gender equality that promotes a transformed world. One in which no one is left behind.

As a group representing women who use drugs from all corners of the world, International Network of Women Who Use Drugs believes such a transformation is impossible without addressing drug criminalization and prohibition. While we commend the member states’ commitment to “…protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” in the framework of sustainable development, this too cannot be achieved without eliminating punitive drug policies that disproportionately harm women.

This document, published by INWUD and INPUD focusses on the needs of women who use drugs, and calls for drug policy to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and in doing so, uphold our right to health and human rights, development and gender equality.