10 November 2021

The impacts of COVID-19 measures in Indonesia and the Philippines

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Caught in the Crossfire: Health and human rights impacts of COVID-19 measures on people who use drugs in Indonesia and the Philippines.

In March 2021 Harm Reduction International partnered with AKSI Keadilan Indonesia and IDUcare in the Philippines to explore how policies introduced by governments to control the spread of COVID-19 impacted on the health and rights of people who use drugs, who are among the most criminalised and marginalised in many societies.

This report describes and analyses the findings of this research, with a focus on how securitised approaches affect the livelihood, security, health, and human rights of people who use drugs, their families, and their communities.COVID-19, as well as government responses to the pandemic, are having unprecedented impacts on peoples’ lives, and are exacerbating vulnerabilities and inequalities. Since the early stages of the pandemic, many governments have resorted to securitised strategies centred around control and punishment, often leading to policies skewed towards repression and control, rather than health, transparency, and socio-economic support. Furthermore, the expansion of law enforcement powers has in several contexts resulted in increased criminalisation, surveillance, and targeting. As a result, populations already vulnerable and marginalised have experienced heightened policing, discrimination, and detrimental impacts on their rights and health.

While the impacts of these policies on vulnerable communities such as women, migrant workers, and refugees are well-documented, less information is available on the repercussions on the rights and health of people who use drugs and their communities.

This report presents and analyses the findings of research conducted with and among people who use drugs, service providers, and community paralegals in Indonesia and the Philippines, exploring how COVID-19 measures impacted on their livelihood, security, health, and human rights.

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