The Regional Dialogue is held by the Global Commission on HIV and the Law in collaboration with the UNDP in Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, the UNDP Moldova and the Regional Office of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The Regional Dialogue is the third of seven consultations that will be organized within the work plan of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law.
The Regional Dialogue is aimed at organizing a forum for representatives of governments and civil society of Eastern Europe and Central Asia to have a constructive dialogue and share information and experience on creation of advantageous legal environment and elimination of legal barriers and discrimination related to HIV infection.
During the Regional Dialogue laws and methods related to the following issues will be discussed:
- Social isolation and criminalization of people vulnerable to or living with HIV;
- Violence and discrimination of women in connection with vulnerability to HIV;
- HIV related discrimination;
- Access to treatment for people living with HIV;
- HIV and children.
The Regional Dialogue will contribute to the Global Commission’s efforts to develop efficient, evidence based and resting on human rights norms recommendations on effective response to HIV, which will protect people living with HIV. Efficient evidence of governmental and non-governmental organizations provides a basis for the Global Commission activity.
During March - April within the project of the Open Society Foundations, implemented by the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN), a huge work to prepare the Regional Dialogue was done. 30 applications from drug users and participations of opioid substitution therapy (OST) from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Georgia, Uzbekistan and Lithuania were collected with the technical assistance of the EHRN and by efforts of members of the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD). The applications contain the following violations:
- Illegal actions of law enforcement bodies (detainment, slipping drugs, threats, conviction for drug possession in small amounts);
- Discrimination in relation to HIV and drug dependence (refusals to job applications, medical care, access to pain killers, drug users registration);
- Lack of access to free of charge hepatitis C virus for HIV negative drug users;
- Lack of OST in prisons and in-patient clinics;
- Closed OST sites and violation of their work by law enforcement bodies;
- Patients dropping out of OST programs in relation to geographical remoteness of the sites and inconvenient working hours;
- Failure to render drug abuse and heath care to pregnant drug addicted women;
- Public disclosure of HIV diagnosis and participation in OST programs;
- Punitive drug policy;
- Legal ban for needles/syringes exchange and OST programs implementation.
The next step on the preparation of the Regional Dialogue is a training organized by the EHRN in Kiev on May 15-16, 2011 for drug users and patients of OST programs. The training will be held by Mikhail Golichenko (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network), Dasha Ocheret (Eurasian Harm Reduction Network) and Maria Kharchenko (Humanitarian Action, Saint Petersburg).
- Eurasian Harm Reduction Network (EHRN)
- International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD)
- Open Society Foundations (OSF)