News

1 December 2021

In June 2021, Member States at the United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM) on HIV and AIDS adopted a Political Declaration to end inequalities and get on track to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030. INPUD was actively engaged in the HLM process, sitting on the HLM Multistakeholder Task Force, coordinated by AIDSFONDS and GNP+, and working collectively on the speaker selection for the HLM Multi-stakeholder Hearing. This ensured a diversity of community voices and perspectives were heard and fed into the 2021 Political Declaration. In the lead up to the HLM, where the Declaration was to be adopted, INPUD engaged with people who use drugs, civil society delegates, and member state representatives around the world to shape and influence the various iterations of the 2021 Political Declaration.

The Political Declaration that was adopted reflected gains made in some key relevant areas for our communities. Key populations, HIV prevention, and harm reduction were more prominent as compared to the 2016 Political Declaration, and the 10-10-10 targets on societal enablers and community-led responses were included. All these areas can bolster our future advocacy on harm reduction, drug law reform, stigma and discrimination, and peer leadership. Due to aggressive opposition on issues related to human rights, harm reduction, and law reform, many critical areas, including specific language on decriminalisation, were diluted, but there are still important entry points and targets for our advocacy. 

25 November 2021

Human rights violations against people who use drugs, committed in the context of enforcing the failed 'war on drugs', have been widely documented by the community and civil society.  These include but are not limited to:

  • Arbitrary detention and arrest
  • Extrajudicial killings & capital punishment for drug offenses 
  • Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • Surveillance and loss of privacy
  • Discrimination in schools, employers and healthcare settings
  • Gender-based violence and discrimination
  • Loss of access to justice & defendant's rights
  • Racial discrimination

A growing number of United Nations experts, agencies and even some member states have acknowledged these harms, with consensus often beginning with reports and resolutions from UN human rights mechanisms. Engagement with the mechanisms, however, can be highly specialised and time-consuming, requiring knowledge of legal norms, bureaucracies, procedures and even personal connections. For national, regional and global networks of people who use drugs, the question is how can we effectively bring our expertise and lived experience to advocacy within UN human rights mechanisms given our limited resources?

To explore this and related questions, INPUD has published this report to introduce the different human rights mechanisms and processes and how they have weighed in on human rights issues relevant to people who use drugs. The mechanisms discussed include:

3 November, 2021

Harm Reduction International (HRI), the International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) and the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), alongside 27 organisations and networks, urge the Singaporean Government to immediately halt the impending execution of Nagaenthran K Dharmalingam; and call on UN entities, the European Union, and all relevant stakeholders to take urgent action.

Nagaenthran, a 32 years’ old Malaysian citizen, was arrested in 2009, and sentenced to death in 2011 for importing with intent of trafficking 42.72 grams of diamorphine. The Singapore Court of Appeal upheld the sentence in November 2011, and further re-sentencing applications were dismissed. On 26th October, Nagaenthran’s family was informed that he would be executed on 10th November, and was advised to start making travel and funeral arrangements.

Nagaenthran, who was reportedly pushed to import drugs in exchange of RM 500 (USD 120) needed to pay for his father’s upcoming heart surgery, also experiences mental health issues and has an intellectual disability: he was diagnosed with mild ADHD, his I.Q. of 69 meets the international standard for intellectual disability, and his functioning skills (including verbal fluency, abstract reasoning, and problem solving) are impaired. Nevertheless, judges concluded that his impairment was not sufficient to grant re-sentencing, and in 2017 upheld his death sentence.

1 November, 2021

The following recommendations to the Global Fund Strategy 2023-2028 were submitted by INPUD and Harm Reduction International ahead of the 46th Global Fund Board Meeting taking place from 8 - 10 November 2021, where the strategy will be voted on.


 

The International Network of People who Use Drugs (INPUD) and Harm Reduction International (HRI) commend the Global Fund on reaching the penultimate stage of the strategy development process. This strategy comes at a critical time of the response as the last strategy before the 2030 deadline to end AIDS and therefore has a transformative potential.

Communities of people living with HIV and key populations, that is people who inject drugs, gay men and other men who have sex with men, sex workers, transgender people and prisoners, have been pivotal to the HIV response, yet too often, instead of being at the front and centre, we are left behind and paid lip service.

In light of this, and following on from our inputs into the strategy framework as well as first draft of the strategy narrative, we strongly request that the subsequent recommendations are included during the finalisation of the strategy narrative: