The NGO CUT (Collectif Urgence Toxida), supported by PILS (Prevention, Information, Fight against AIDS) and other NGO partners join the international campaign Support Don’t Punish.
Support Don’t Punish is an international advocacy campaign launched under the joint initiative of the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), the International Network of People Who Use Drugs (INPUD), the Harm Reduction International (HRI) and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance.
Support Don’t Punish is an international campaign to raise awareness about the damage caused by the criminalization of people who use drugs and the non-respect of human rights of these people. Heavy penalties are imposed on people who use drugs and one of the consequences is that there is an increase of HIV and Hepatitis C.
These epidemics are driven by laws, policies and practices that impose penalties on people who use drugs. Initially based on the belief that severe repression will stifle the drug market, this punitive approach has failed to reduce drug consumption levels in the world. It also led to discrimination and stigmatization of people who use drugs, hindering their access to prevention, treatment and care that are essential to save lives and stop the spread of HIV and the hepatitis C. in addition, the imprisonment of people who use drugs for minor offenses related to drugs creates overcrowding, increasing the vulnerability of prisoners to HIV and hepatitis C because of the lack of condoms and syringes sterile in prison.
In Mauritius, a little over half of people who inject drugs are living with HIV (51.6%, according to behavioural and biological study from 2011), while 96% of those living with the virus of hepatitis C. Some of them live in the shadows, away from emergency medical services, for fear of arrest. The same study also shows that over 30% of people who inject drugs at home were stigmatized in health services.
The idea of Support Don’t Punish is to create awareness and simultaneously sensitize the global population, on the day of June 26 date that is celebrated as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Drug smuggling.
The campaign had two objectives:
- People who use drugs. Encourage better implementation of services such as needle exchange programs and methadone that help stop the spread of HIV.
- DO NOT PUNISH
- People who use drugs. Improve and change policies that keep people away from health services.
The campaign had two aims:
- The main focus of this campaign was a collective international and symbolic action on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, action that was undertaken in 26 countries including Thailand, England, Hungary, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ukraine, Malaysia, Mexico, Kenya, France, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Mauritius, among others. Local partners mobilized to make a Flash Mob, which was then circulated online.
- The second is an interactive photos project on Facebook, where every person around the world that supports this action was encouraged to take pictures with the logo of the campaign and post it on Facebook. Several hundred images are available on www.facebook.com/supportdontpunish