In January 2018 EHRA together with Canadian HIV/AIDS legal network and Charitable Fund Ukrainian Network of People who Use Drugs VOLNA submitted the report to the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the disproportional sentencing of people who use drugs and their access to health and social services in Ukraine.
In February representative of VOLNA Yanina Stemkovska and EHRA’s senior program specialist Maria Plotko presented the report during the 67th session of the Committee. The consideration of the report with the state party took place on February 20-21.
The following questions were discussed during the session. (Day one, Day two)
On March 6, 2020 the Committee published its concluding observations. On the issue of drug use the Committee concluded:
“42. While recognizing the State party’s evidence based policies to address drug abuse, such as opioid substitution therapy and harm reduction programmes, the Committee is concerned at the criminalization of possession of very small amounts of drugs, which prevents drug users from gaining access to the necessary treatment or harm reduction programmes for fear of criminalization. It is further concerned at the high prevalence of HIV and hepatitis C infections among those who inject drugs, at the restricted access by prisoners to opioid substitution therapy and harm reduction programmes, and at the persistent social stigmatization of drug users. Lastly, it notes with concern the lack of information requested on the privatization of certain opioid substitution therapy programmes and the authorities’ oversight of these programmes (art. 12).