IHRA, in co-operation with international and national partners, has submitted information on four out of the five countries up for review at the forthcoming 44th session of the UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights.

The Committee is the independent treaty body (similar to INCB) that oversees implementation of the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). The Covenant contains three key articles relevant to harm reduction: article 12 – the right to the highest attainable standard of health; article 15(1)(b) the right to benefit from scientific progress and its applications; and article 2 – the obligation to take measures ‘to the maximum of available resources’, including legislative change, to ensure the ‘progressive realisation’ of these rights.

Every 5 years each State party to the ICESCR must report to the Committee on what it has done to implement the Covenant.

The following information has been submitted:

Kazakhstan – shadow report with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, EHRN and three national NGOs. This focuses on injecting driven HIV and HCV but also availability of Naloxone, treatment as an alternative to detention, and the removal of drug user registries.

Mauritius – shadow report from IHRA and Collectif Urgence Toxida. Again, this focuses on injecting driven HIV and HCV but also services for youth and women, the recent WHO mission to Mauritius that focused on harm reduction, the recent announcement to reintroduce the death penalty for drugs, and the decriminalisation of buprenorphine.

These reports will be available soon in Russian and French respectively.

Afghanistan – Briefing on crop eradication. TNI’s reports “Missing Targets” and “Redefining Targets” were also sent to the Committee but will not appear on the website

Colombia – Same briefing on crop eradication. The report from Witness for Peace, MINGA and the Institute for Policy Studies report “An Exercise in Futility” was also sent but again will not appear online

The information that appears online for Afghanistan and Colombia is one of 6 briefings put together by IHRA Human Rights Watch and IHRD for the 53rd CND last month

A truly collective effort!

The various reports and the States’ reports may all be read online here.

On May 3rd Damon Barrett from IHRA along with representatives from Kazakhstan and Mauritius will travel to Geneva to present their reports in person to the Committee at the NGO session (one of the main differences between these treaty bodies and INCB!)

This follows up on previous work with this Committee in relation to Sweden (in 2007/8 with the Swedish Drug Users Union here, here and here) and Poland (in 2009 with the Polish Drug Policy Network and OSI GDPP)

A report has also been submitted on the Russian Federation, which begins its review process in late May, by the Andrey Rylkov Foundation with assistance from UNODC and IHRA.