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.

10 to 12 September 2019, Kathmandu (before the Asia Pro Bono Conference, 13 to 15 September 2019, Kathmandu,

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) is a global network of over 180 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.
Lawyers, legal specialists and human rights advocates working in Asia, with a demonstrated interest in working on issues relating to drug policy reform, human rights and gender-sensitive approaches. For the 2019 workshop, being held in Kathmandu, applicants from countries in South Asia will be prioritized for the provision of financial support to join the workshop.
The three-day workshop will involve introductory sessions on one specific theme each day:

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 (
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.



(Alternatively, you can download the form here and e-mail it to Areeluck Phankhian -