25 June 2024

Joint statement to the ID with the Special Rapporteur on Health.

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During the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Health at the 56th Human Rights Council, Harm Reduction International, jointly with HAYAT, Amnesty International, International Commission of Jurists, International Drug Policy and Dianova Internationale, welcomed the Special Rapporteur's latest report on drug use, harm reduction and the right to health, calling on States Member to implement the recommendations made.

Thank you Chair –

On behalf Harm Reduction International and the five co-signatories, we welcome the report on drug use, harm reduction and the right to health and commend the Special Rapporteur for her resolve to promote the right to health of marginalised groups, including people who use drugs.

We welcome the acknowledgment of the dire impacts of punitive drug policies on health and interconnected human rights. We also echo the need to dismantle systems of oppression underpinning intersectional discrimination in the context of drug policies, including through equitable drug policy reform.

Harm reduction is an effective, evidence-based approach and a key component of the right to health, now supported in the policies and practices of over 100 countries in diverse social, cultural and economic contexts. However, much more needs to be done to guarantee equitable access to quality, evidence-based and voluntary services.

For example, harm reduction remains severely underfunded in LMICs, with only 6% of the budget estimated by UNAIDS being invested in harm reduction interventions and continuing to be confined within national HIV responses that often fail to reach key populations.

We urge Member States to fully implement the report’s recommendations, including by:

  • Expanding harm reduction services and removing barriers to access, including for women, people in detention, and racialised groups;
  • Divesting from punitive and ineffective drug law enforcement and investing in lifesaving health services;
  • Putting people who use drugs at the forefront of policymaking and service delivery, and
  • Fully decriminalising drug-related activities and moving towards responsible regulation.

Finally, we call on the Council and all Member States to continue scrutinising the human rights impacts of drug control, in a comprehensive and systematic way.

Thank you.

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