Addressing Human Rights in Country Settings

From: “Global Fund Consultation” I would like to focus my intervention on a strongly stigmatised group of individuals: the IVDUs.

The GF has taken courageous positions on drugs adhering, via its DG Michel Kazatchkine’s words, to the wide movement of opinion which is no more available to tolerate that drug users be considered as criminals (instead of sick persons), be held in prison or in rehabilitation centres which are real concentration camps (instead of treated).

In few words, this movement do not tolerate anymore that war to drugs be turned into war against drugs users. In last years the international community has got aware that these repressive approaches provoke stigmatisation and that stigma kills more than drugs. This awareness is highlighted in the most recent papers and guidelines of international institutions such as WHO, UNAIDS, UNODC, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC).

Also Mr Ban Ki Moon has recently stated that “stigma will cause death, upon death upon death”. But therapeutic strategies based on new humanitarian policies instead of repressive approaches (“violence brings violence”) still find obstacles in many governments, even in strongly civilised countries which claim themselves as human rights’ defenders.

In these circumstances the GF has a formidable tool for putting pressure: its financial force. The GF, more than other international bodies, is actually able to influence most reluctant governments persuading them to modify their attitudes towards drug users by adopting new scientific-evidence-based-strategies replacing violence and preconceived ideas.

The GF should support the efforts of the civil society aiming at opposing governments which carry out useless policies and practices, causing harm to drug users instead of fighting drugs. It is not acceptable to fund governments which either opposite harm reduction strategies or consider substitution therapies as illegal practices.

I furthermore suggest funding operational networks which, thanks to their “Power of Humanity”, are also able to influence governments persuading them to modify their preconceived ideas resulting from ignorance thanks to an advocacy action on behalf of the most marginalised persons. In my view the IFRC can play a key role in this context taking into account its own agencies (the National Societies) operational in 186 countries all over the world and auxiliaries to their respective public authorities (as such, they are much more considered and respected compared to simples NGOs).

The GF could promote operational cooperation among NGOs and RC/RC Societies; the NGOs can bring all their commitment and their specific background while RC/RC Societies can contribute via their power to influence the respective governments, so that repressive and stigmatising legislation on drugs be abolished.