It is with deep sadness and a sense of profound injustice that we acknowledge the untimely passing of our friend and colleague, Alena Asaeva, age 47, on May 2, 2019.
Alena was a fierce warrior who dedicated her life to upholding the human rights of people who use drugs, in Russia and around the world. While her life has been cut tragically short, her legacy of international activism transcends the confines of time and space and lives on.
Alena was loved and valued, including as a member of the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs, and in her role as secretary to Russia’s Program Coordinating Committee for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Alena was also a longtime friend of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and we will miss her deeply. Our Senior Policy Advisor, Mikhail Golichenko, was working with Alena at the time of her passing on three international legal cases strategically challenging the criminalization of drug possession for personal use. We hope to continue these cases in her name and in her honour, as Alena would have wanted.
As Mikhail notes, “Alena was part of us for many years, holding down the fort of human rights’ defense in the most challenging of circumstances. She was a daring activist who never gave up.”
We extend our deepest condolences to all of her family and loved ones. The world has lost a beautiful, powerful, compassionate human.
Rest in power, Alena Asaeva.