Context

While many countries outside Asia are experimenting with alternative drug policy approaches, including decriminalisation of drug use, alternatives to incarceration, and legally regulated cannabis markets, Asia as a region seems unable to move away from a repressive and punitive approach to drugs. Instead, some countries have adopted even more violent drug policies, resorting to the use of extra-judicial killings, the death penalty and mass arrests, detention and imprisonment in violation of international principles of human rights and the rule of law. These extreme policies are driven by entrenched perceptions that drugs are a social evil that must be eliminated, and any person with any connection to drugs severely punished, even though the region’s expanding drug markets show the failure of governments to achieve the drug policy objectives they have set for themselves.

There is a crucial need for lawyers and legal service providers in the region to assist with efforts by civil society and affected communities to advocate for humane and effective drug laws, as well as to provide assistance with individual cases that involve arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment, especially where the individual is already marginalised and vulnerable, eg. women and people who use drugs. To work towards meeting that need, this workshop is aimed at offering an introduction to drug policy, human rights and the need for access to justice for interested lawyers and legal service providers.


Dates & Location

28 to 30 October 2018, Hong Kong (after the Asia Pro Bono Conference, 25 to 27 October 2018, Hong Kong, https://www.probonoconference.org/)


Organiser

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) is a global network of over 170 NGOs that promotes objective and open debate on the effectiveness, direction and content of drug policies at the national and international level, and supports evidence-based policies that are effective at reducing drug-related harms. 


Participants

Lawyers, legal service providers, and other legal specialists including academia working in Asia, with an interest in working on issues relating to drug policy, human rights and gender-sensitive approaches.


Format

The first day will involve a half-day site visit to local health and social service provider(s) working with people who use drugs or otherwise caught up in the criminal justice system for drug offences. The second and third day will comprise interactive sessions using modules from the IDPC training toolkit on drug policy advocacy (http://idpc.net/policy-advocacy/training-toolkit) covering introductions to drugs and drug policy issues, women and the criminal justice system, and the potential role of legal service providers in drug policy advocacy.


Trainers

Representatives of the Asian Network of People who Use Drugs (ANPUD) and the IDPC project ‘Women, incarceration and drug policy in Southeast Asia’.


Application to participate

If you are interested to participate in this training workshop, please write to Gloria Lai, Regional Director: Asia, International Drug Policy Consortium (glai@idpc.net), to apply by outlining the following information:

  1. Your current work and role
  2. The reasons for wishing to participate in the training workshop (1 to 2 paragraphs)
  3. Whether you need your travel expenses covered to attend the workshop. IDPC is able to cover the travel costs (return flight, shared accommodation, meals and local transport) of a limited number of participants.
  4. Whether you are planning to attend the 7th Asia Pro Bono Conference, 25 to 27 October 2018, Hong Kong.

Please send the application to Gloria Lai (glai@idpc.net) by Friday 31 August 2018.