Russia and Rights


In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the HIV epidemic is exploding. This is largely driven by the sharing of used drug injection equipment, among other factors. Russia’s transcontinental location, and the fact that severe human rights abuses against marginalized populations are both normalized and sanctioned 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 on to many international human rights laws and declarations, these promises continue to be hollow at best — and completely perverted at worst. The invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022 has exacerbated human rights concerns, particularly around access to medications and health supports for people living with HIV.

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. 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 national, regional, and international interventions for far-reaching reform.

We focus on the unjust punishment 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, LGBTQ+ 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.

Want to know more about the Legal Network’s work in other issues and regions of the world?

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The HIV Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with HIV or AIDS and other populations disproportionately affected by HIV and criminalization, in Canada and internationally. In 2021, we undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought … Read more

Rights Within Reach: Strategic Plan 2022-2027, Executive Summary

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MDR-TB/XDR-TB Among People with Comorbidity: HIV and Drug Dependence

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Powerful Together: Annual Report 2021-2022

The path to human rights for all is in view with collaboration, collective advocacy, and community building. To view the 2021-2022 annual report, click here.

Report to the 134 Session of UN Human Rights Committee in relation to the review of the 8th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation

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HIV Legal Network Statement on Ukraine Invasion by Russia

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Joint Statement of Civil Society Organizations in advance of the Thirty-Ninth Meeting of the Global Fund Board

“On the 9th – 10th of May 2018, the Global Fund’s Board will consider revisions to the Fund’s Eligibility Policy based upon recommendations from its Strategy Committee. While some of these recommendations are positive, others raise serious concerns. By this Statement we – the organizations representing civil society and including communities of people living with … Read more

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