Video: Putting human rights into human hands in Russian-speaking countries

Russia has the world’s fastest-growing HIV epidemic, driven by injection-drug use, and fuelled by discrimination, criminalization and horrific human rights abuses. This video — produced by the Levi Strauss Foundation’s HIV Advocates program — lays out the work of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network in Russia and other Russian-speaking countries. Our goal, as Senior Policy Analyst Mikhail Golichenko explains, is to use litigation and advocacy to bring international human rights standards to the national level, but at the same time to put the power directly in the hands of individuals to defend their own rights. Through training and technical support from lawyers, we are equipping individuals to stand up and claim their rights in regional courts. As more people do so, officials are starting to realize that people living with or affected by HIV — particularly through injection drug use — cannot be ignored. Already we’re seeing the discourse shift — but much more work needs to be done before laws and attitudes reflect not only an awareness of scientific evidence, but also, most importantly, an uncompromising vision of human rights for all.

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