On 8–10 September 2016, Brazil will host the 13th AWID International Forum on women's rights. The Eurasian Harm Reduction Network mission is taking part in this forum.

The goal of the EHRN mission is to highlight the challenges and needs of women who use drugs, and to advocate the need of revising punitive drug policies. The delegation involves 11 women from member organisations working in various countries of the region, as well as the International Network of Women who Use Drugs (INWUD) and the Women's Harm Reduction International Network (WHRIN). Based on the experience of their organisations, delegates will demonstrate what works to mobilize communities and advocate for their needs. They will learn from the experience of other projects that work internationally to tackle violence and the gaps in reproductive health, gender and equal access to health and social services. And they will discuss opportunities to incorporate PWUD activities into other project agendas to respond to the needs of women who use drugs.

The EHRN and the Open Society Foundation will host a forum session, titled “Punitive drug policies and women’s rights: Addressing violence against criminalized women in Eastern Europe and Central Asia” (September 8, 16:30–18:00).

The session will highlight experiences and lessons gained by the EHRN delegation members from their advocacy and human rights activities. The EHRN speakers involve:

  • Irena Ermolaeva, founder of the non-governmental organisation Asteria — a first national organisation in Kyrgyzstan working with women who use drugs
  • Olga Ponomareva, street lawyer; she provides basic legal assistance to women who use drugs in Donetsk region, Ukraine
  • Oksana Buzovici, coordinator of the Harm Reduction Resource Centre (Moldova) helping women who use drugs and female sex workers

The session will be facilitated by Eka Yakobishvili, a human rights lawyer and EHRN expert on drug policy issues.

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