In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the HIV epidemic is exploding. This is largely driven by the sharing of contaminated drug injection equipment, among other factors. Russia’s transcontinental location, and the fact that severe human rights abuses against at-risk populations are both normalized and legalized in the country, make it an important region to focus our efforts.
Sweeping legal and policy reforms are needed. In Russia, poorly drafted laws are abusively enforced with little regard for human rights. Discriminatory policies and practices continue to fuel the spread of HIV by targeting those least able to defend themselves. And although Russia has signed onto many international rights-based laws and declarations, these promises continue to be hollow at best — and completely perverted at worst.
We work in tandem with our Russian and regional partners to supply individuals — and the organizations that support them — with the knowledge and tools they need to defend human rights and prevent new HIV infections from occurring. But our reach is much broader than any one case. We are shifting the discourse around human rights one person at a time, wherever possible adapting individual successes to a variety of regional, national and international interventions for far-reaching reform.
We focus on the unjust criminalization of people who use drugs in Russia and the surrounding region, on securing equitable access to life-saving health services for this same community, and on ending the persistent stigma and discrimination they endure. But we are profoundly aware that, in Russia, human rights abuses and vulnerability to HIV are a part of a systemic problem that affects many other groups — women, sex workers, LGBTI communities, and many others — and our work is ever-expanding to respond to their concerns.
We use a range of different strategies to effect regional change. We bring landmark cases before the courts. We build strong coalitions among like-minded non-governmental organizations. We advocate wherever a platform exists and document our efforts using many different communications platforms. And we work directly with people who use drugs as part of an innovative “street lawyers” program that puts the power to defend human rights directly into the hands of those most affected.
To find out more about this work you can visit the website of our partner organization, the Andrey Rylkov Foundation.
О миссии, видении и ценности Канадской правовой сети по ВИЧ\СПИД.
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