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TalkingDrugs Updates from Eastern Europe & Central Asia [December 2019]

1. Andrey Yarovoy – a Ukrainian harm reduction activist honoured for his contribution to human rights and community development at HRI19 back in May – was released on December 29 after spending 16 months in illegal detention in the territory of the so-called “DNR-LNR” in the East of Ukraine. Andrey was released as a part to two-sided exchange of hostages agreement between Ukraine and Russia.  Read more at Alliance for Public Health (Ukr).

2. Stanislav Shashok – one of the leaders of Legalize Belarus movement was arrested on December 26 – he was convicted for 15 days to administrative detention for participation in an opposition protest street action in support of Belarus Independence. Shashok was denied access to an attorney until January 4. Read more here (Rus and Bel).  

3. A documentary about the first year of work by the Health and Rights of Inmates Consortium, working in 4 countries across the EECA region and produced by DUNews is available to view here (Rus). Read the full consortium report with infographics (Rus).

4. “Russia: every life matters” – this interview with Gleb Paykachev, secretary of the Russian Forum of People Who Use Drugs, explores key challenges of resisting the Russian penitentiary system and the power of the local community of people who use drugs to save lives and reduce harm. The video is available to view here (Rus). 

5. The key findings of a recent study into the use of new psychoactive substances in Belarus and Moldova, conducted by EHRA, are published on TalkingDrugs (Rus).

6. The Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has proposed to introduce criminal liability for online drug propaganda, “Novaya Gazeta” reports (Rus). TalkingDrugs has covered this issue previously.

7. The “New ideas centre” web-site has published resources on Narcofeminism and how women’s rights and drug policy intersect in Belarus (Rus).

8. Over December 16-18 the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs Forum was held in Tbilisi, Georgia. The Forum was dedicated to the memory of ENPUDs Founder, Alena Asaeva, who passed away in May 2019. During the forum the new ENPUD Coordination Committee was elected. Read more details here (Rus).

9. The Women and Harm Reduction International Network and TalkingDrugs position statement on women who use drugs and the violence of law enforcement was published on December 10, to coincide with Human Rights Day and the conclusion of the UN 16 Days of Action to Eliminate Violence Against Women. The full text is available here

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