Georgian Network of People Who Use Drugs – GeNPUD
June 26 – “International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking”
Protest in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs
For decades since the independence of Georgia, repressive and harmful drug policy is still an unresolved problem. This policy causes suffering of thousands of families, massive human rights violations, criminalization of drug users, and fear of arrest forces people to avoid social and medical services.
Government and society of modern developed countries are increasingly agreeing that one of the key issues and barometer for the country’s democratic development is the pragmatic drug policy based on the protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms and health care. Repressive drug policy in Georgia has brought a number of negative consequences for drug users as well as to the whole community and thus for the democratic development of the country in general. Number of drug users increased, cases of self-injury, loss of life and infectious diseases, and consequently public health expenditure.
Since 2006, the GeNPUD has been fighting to humanize the repressive and zero tolerance drug policies. In our country, no government ever has been able to give up this violent system that implies criminalization of tens of thousands drug users. Repressive drug policy fights against people and not a problem; deprives our freedom, hope for the future, health and the most valuable – a life!
GeNPUD held the first large-scale action in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in 2013, as law enforcement agencies always opposed the human rights based drug policies. These agencies are carrying out violence against drug users and hinder the progress of drug policy in our country.
On June 26, 2017, the GeNPUD traditionally joined the Global Campaign – “Support. Don’t Punish”. More than 400 activists from 9 regions of Georgia have urged the Ministry of Internal Affairs and other governmental structures to support drug policy reform, which will allow the same agency not to violate the rights of drug users, but to care. The protesters expressed their solidarity for the thousands people who are locked behind the bars and serving their sentence in unjustifiable charges in prisons.