After the close of the 2019 IAS Conference on HIV Science in Mexico City last month, global community-led networks joined forces with Mexican and Latin American advocates to continue planning for the upcoming HIV2020 Conference.
HIV2020: Community Reclaiming the Response, will be an alternative convening for individuals who are unable or unwilling to enter the United States to attend the 2020 International AIDS Conference in San Francisco/Oakland next year. Advocates recommended against bringing the International AIDS Conference to the U.S.A. given the Trump administration’s discriminatory immigration laws, detention and family separation policies, and the country’s deteriorating human rights conditions. HIV2020 will reaffirm the critical role communities play in the HIV response worldwide while shining a spot light on the importance of human rights. Advocates will also use HIV2020 as an opportunity to discuss the specific challenges facing people living with and affected by HIV in Mexico and in the region.
In an extraordinary show of solidarity, an international group of people living with HIV, gay and bisexual men, people who use drugs, sex workers, transgender people, youth, and indigenous advocates worked together to design an event structure specifically tailored to the needs of frontline community members. Advocates named six themes around which they will determine a program for HIV2020, including:
The INPUD Secretariat would like to announce the retirement of our Office and Project Manager, Terry White.
Terry started working with INPUD in 2014, and has a long history of community mobilisation and organisational development. In 1993, he co-founded the UK Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS and in 1995 launched Positive Nation, a magazine aimed at people living with the HIV.
In the early 2000s, Terry worked with the All-Ukrainian Network PLWHIV, the Russian Association of PLWHIV and Tochka Opory, an all-Ukrainian MSM organisation. On leaving Ukraine in 2013, he provided consultancy for the foundation of the Middle East and North African Community Advisory Board, and the M-Coalition, an MSM coalition based in Beirut. Terry holds an MSc in Organisational Management from the University of Bristol.
Terry is the longest serving member of staff at the Secretariat based, and has contributed enormously to the organisation over the years. We send him our very best wishes for his well-deserved retirement. We would like to publicly thank Terry for everything he has brought to the organisation, the network, and the movement. Thank you, Terry!
In Terry’s own words:
“I am excited about my impending retirement and that I can take advantage of it while I am fit enough. It’s time to say goodbye to INPUD, where I have been working since February 2014.
It’s been an interesting five years with many extraordinary ups and downs! It has been a long five years, which have seen many challenges and changes, and INPUD has survived and been strengthened by them.
The Asian Network of People who Use Drugs and the International Network of People who Use Drugs strongly condemn recent raids on the offices and homes of Anand Grover and Indira Jaising of the Lawyers Collective, India. These attacks are emblematic of a broader trend of intimidation, harassment and abuse of power against civil society organisations and advocates who dare to speak out. Democratic space for human rights activism is shrinking, and this cannot continue unchallenged.
On Thursday 11th July 2019, India’s Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) raided the homes and offices of Anand Grover and Indira Jaising under the pretext of alleged violation of rules under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (2010), widely criticised as a tool to limit and control civil society. The Bar Association of India has condemned the CBI raids as ‘excessive, disproportionate and unjustified’.
Today is the International Day to remember our loved ones who have died as a result of the so-called war on drugs. They have died as a result of their unnecessary criminalisation; they have died as a result of prohibition. It is criminalisation and prohibition that make drugs so dangerous. It is the society in which we live that shows such callous indifference to the deaths of so many.
Thousands of people in the last year have been murdered as a result of the war on people who use drugs. They have been killed in extrajudicial killings; they have been executed; they have died as a result of blood-borne infections; they have died unnecessarily from overdose. Our governments – the government in the UK, and governments in almost every jurisdiction in the world – seem entirely indifferent to these countless deaths, to the suffering of the drug using community, their families, their loved ones. Every one of these deaths is a tragedy, and is an avoidable tragedy.
As a result of criminalisation, drugs are produced in the black market, resulting in people who use heroin in the UK, and internationally, dying from heroin contaminated with anthrax, heroin contaminated with fentanyl, and with carfentanyl. Due to prohibition, and due to politicians’ failure to adopt comprehensive harm reduction, drug consumption rooms, and drug testing, there is simply no possibility to ensure the content of drugs.
Re: Open Letter, for attention of the president of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena
Death Sentences for Drug Offences in Sri Lanka
This week, Sri Lanka’s president signed death sentences for four people convicted of drug-related offences. This follows a 43-year moratorium on the death penalty in Sri Lanka, and the decision to reinstate the death penalty seems to have been driven by the hope that this will increase chances of presidential re-election later this year.
The Ultimate Denial of Human Rights
The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights, to the fundamental right to life. Sri Lanka seems to be following in the steps of other states who are increasingly violating the rights of marginalised communities in order to gain political support. In fact, the Sri Lankan president, Maithripala Sirisena, has previously praised the horrific war on drugs of President Duterte in the Philippines on numerous occasions, a violent war that has seen tens of thousands of people murdered in extrajudicial killings on the streets, a war that has seen mass detentions, human rights violations, and attacks on human rights defenders and civil society.
Opposition of the Death Penalty for Drug Offences
But Sri Lanka and these countries are out of step with other nations who are abolishing the death penalty. There are 1,200 people on death row in Sri Lanka, all of whom are now at great risk of execution, but the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) have both clearly opposed the death penalty for drug-related offences, and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has explicitly called upon states to abolish the death penalty for drug-related offences.
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