The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) has been working closely with the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, INPUD, Harm Reduction International and others on “SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH”: a global advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the harms that are being caused by the criminalisation of people who use drugs. The campaign is part of the “Community Action on Harm Reduction” (CAHR) project, and we would welcome participation from all IDPC members.

The Support. Don't Punish. campaign

The campaign includes different aspects:

  • An independent campaign brand
  • A dedicated microsite which has been opened today
  • A sign-on page for people to show their support via the campaign website – through email, Facebook and Twitter
  • A Facebook page
  • An interactive photo project, whereby people can download the campaign poster and submit a photo of themselves supporting the campaign, which will be featured on the website
  • A series of advocacy videos by a wide range of partners linked to the campaign theme
  • A series of well-designed, high-impact “info-graphics” for use on social media etc; and
  • An international day of action on 26 June 2013.

The international ‘day of action’ on 26 June 2013

The ‘Day of Action’ will involve high profile and visually symbolic ‘actions’ that can be coordinated across several key cities around the world – with groups of 100 or more supporters gathering for media photo opportunities etc. They will all be wearing white “SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH” t-shirts, and – in many cities – Richard Nixon face masks. The media will be pre-invited to the event, and will photograph/film the participants for stories to then be carried across international wire agencies and reproduced by subscribing media outlets regionally and globally. The campaign website will include all the resources needed: a campaign toolkit, campaign guidelines, the campaign statement, logos, posters, template media releases, key messages factsheets, risk assessment toolkits, etc.

On 26th June, we will also be encouraging supporters to change their profile pictures on 26th June on Facebook, Twitter, etc. – as well as providing template press releases, etc.

Why 26 June?

This is the United Nations’ International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, a day that has historically been used by governments to celebrate the war on drugs – in some cases, even holding public executions of drug offenders as a sign of commitment. But June 26th is also the United Nations’ International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, and this campaign aims to help redefine what June 26th means, and how we look at drug policies around the world.

Why Richard Nixon?

Some 40 years ago, US President Richard Nixon launched a ‘war on drugs’ and was the first high-profile politician to coin this phrase. This ‘war’ has since resulted in the global repression, incarceration, punishment of people who use drugs, and has been used to justify executions, extrajudicial killings, torture, forced treatments and the demonisation of this population. President Nixon´s face is easily recognizable and, as such, will be visually impactful. The fact that the general public (and much of the media) might not associate President Nixon with the ‘war on drugs’ will also help to ensure interest in the campaign. Once the event has been realised, the photo captions in the press will place Nixon, the ‘war on drugs’ and the campaign in context.

Please take a look at the campaign website, and add your support to this important effort.

Contact us!

Please contact Jamie Bridge (jbridge@idpc.net) if you:

  1. would like to be listed as a ‘supporting organisation’ for the campaign – with a logo and link on the website
  2. would like to participate in, or coordinate, an ‘action’ on June 26th this year
  3. would like to participate in any other way – including using the SUPPORT DON’T PUNISH branding on your own websites / reports / videos or activities

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