Legal Network News – November 1, 2022

Introducing Our New Podcast: Not a Crime

Podcast Promo

Today, on International Drug Users Day, we will begin sharing stories of criminalization from around the world through our new podcast, Not a Crime.

Featuring interviews with our policy analysts along with people working farther afield, Not a Crime will highlight the impact of criminalization on people living with HIV and people who use drugs over the coming months.

In today’s premiere English language episode, HIV Legal Network policy analyst India Annamanthadoo talks to senior policy analyst Mikhail Golichenko about drug policy in Russia and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region. Learn more about how repressive laws and policies in the region frustrate the response to HIV and undermine the human rights of people who use drugs, and how advocates there and around the world are mobilizing for change.

Our first French episode, also released today, features HIV Legal Network senior policy analyst Cécile Kazatchkine in conversation with Modeste Mambo Amisi, epidemiologist and executive director of HODSAS, about how he came to be an activist for HIV and human rights and how the laws in the Democratic Republic of Congo affect non-disclosure.

Stay tuned for future English episodes as we delve deeper into HIV criminalization to examine how criminal laws target communities at the margin, while our next French episode takes us to Morocco for a conversation with Moulay Ahmed Douraidi, a well-known activist, about HIV non-disclosure in a country that doesn’t have specific laws governing disclosure and how people living with HIV are targeted all the same.

You can listen to Not a Crime now on our website and at Anchor FM.

Shiba with tongue sticking out

Put Health and Human Rights First: Decriminalize Now

The criminalization of people who use drugs undeniably contributes to stigma, which has contributed to a preventable drug poisoning crisis in Canada that has now taken the lives of 30,843 people since 2016.

Today, we renew our call to the federal government to decriminalize simple drug possession and necessity trafficking as laid out in Decriminalization Done Right, a rights-based path for drug policy that builds on the expertise of people who use drugs and other experts from across Canada.

The so-called War on Drugs has failed. Instead of prohibition and punishment, drug policy must be grounded in the human rights, dignity, and autonomy of people who use drugs and sound public health evidence.

We can’t wait.

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Rights Are Within Reach! Support the HIV Legal Network Today!

Our efforts to repeal punitive drug laws, including those that criminalize simple drug possession, are making an impact. While political leaders need to take more decisive action, a growing number are acknowledging the harms of drug prohibition and advancing laws and policies — locally, provincially, and federally — that mitigate some of those harms.

We hope you’ll consider donating to the HIV Legal Network and support our efforts to secure and ensure human rights. Donate before December 31st and your gift will be doubled thanks to our long-time friend and donor Andrew Beckerman who is matching all donations made to the Legal Network through the end of the year.