At a time when many countries outside Asia are experimenting with alternative drug policy approaches, including decriminalization 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. While a few countries in the region are experimenting with reforms, 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 false and misleading perceptions about people who use drugs and entrenched ideologies about drugs as a social evil that must be eliminated.
There is a crucial need for lawyers, legal service providers and human rights advocates in the region to advocate for drug laws that are grounded in principles of human rights and the rule of law, as well as to provide assistance with individual cases, for example those involving arbitrary arrest, detention and imprisonment. 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, legal academics, legal service providers and human rights advocates.
Day 1 – introduction to drugs, drug use, drug dependence, and drug policies in global and regional context, using modules from the IDPC training toolkit on drug policy advocacy (http://idpc.net/policy-advocacy/training-toolkit).
Day 2 – introduction to health and human rights approaches to drug use and dependence (for example, ‘harm reduction’), including a site visit, using modules from the IDPC training toolkit.
Day 3 – strategies for advocacy against violations resulting from punitive drug policies, utilising human rights processes, including UN mechanisms such as the Universal Periodic Review and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS: 1 AUGUST 2019