Mr Ban Ki Moon
United Nations Secretary-General
United Nations Secretariat New York, NY 10017
Dear Mr. Secretary General!
I am writing to you because you are currently considering the appointment of the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). I was dismayed to learn that the you decided to appoint Yuri Fedotov, a Russian diplomat for this position.
I strongly oppose a candidate from a country with one of the worst records on drug policy and human rights. Russia is experiencing the most rapid increase in HIV infections on earth: there are more than 1 million people living with HIV, 2 in 3 new infections are related to the sharing of injecting equipment by drug users. This perpetuation of the epidemic is directly attributed to the Russian goverments disavowal of simple scientific evidence : it bans opiate substitution treatment and it does not provide funding for life-saving needle and syringe programs.
This situation is exacerbated by the condition of Russian prisons - the hotbeds of the HIV and Tuberculosis epidemics. For drug users, the Gulag is alive and well in these places: prisoners with HIV and TB are often tortured and left to die without life saving treatment!
It is not surprising that Russia consistently seeks to block the inclusion of human rights language from international policies. At the UN commission on narcotic drugs in 2010 Russia stated that the fight against AIDS is ‘not linked to human rights’.
I ask you to reconsider your decision and appoint someone to this position who is independent from governments, who can lead UNODC in the fight against HIV and AIDS, as well as someone who respects scientific evidence and human rights.