Civil society organizations hope that the promising words of the new UNODC director will be put into action soon
This September Yuri Fedotov, a veteran Russian diplomat replaced Italy's Antonio Maria Costa as the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). HCLU and other NGOs expressed their concerns about his appointment because we felt it would send the wrong message if a country with one of the most terrible drug policies and human rights records gains control over the UN drug agency in a time when it should take the lead in the fight for human rights and against HIV/AIDS.
In her plenary speech at the opening session of the International AIDS Conference in Vienna Anya Sarang, the head of the Moscow-based Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice asked Mr. Fedotov "to rise above Russia's policy and publicly announce his and his agency's commitment to harm reduction and human rights". It seems Mr. Fedotov listened to her: on the day he took office he made a strong statement in support of a humane drug policy and emphasized that "public health and human rights must be central" to the work of his agency.
HCLU, together with the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network and the Andrey Rylkov Foundation sent an open letter to Mr. Fedotov in which we welcome his statement and offer our support in his struggle to convince governments, especially Russia's government, to reform their drug policies. We look forward to seeing his promising words to put into action.
Posted by Peter Sarosi