Text: Max Malishev. Photos: Ivan Ridm (first one), Tamara Teneta (others)
Support but not a punishment! Accessible treatment and rehabilitation instead of criminalization and prison! Medical help instead of torture! Solidarity instead of bullying! On the 26th of June the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice (ARF), together with the representatives from the Eurasian Network of People Who Use Drugs (ENPUD) took part in the international “Support. Don’t punish” campaign.
It is the third year when ARF is participating in the campaign and this year a great preparatory work was done in advance to this day. We printed t-shirts with logo and slogan of the compaign and dissiminated them among the activists from different cities of Russia; we mobilized the participants of our project “Harm reduction – Moscow” from among people who use drugs to join the compaign; we created a groop on a Facebook dedicated to the compaign were a lot of people from different countries of the EECA region were posting their photos in support of the compaign. Our creative friends and colleagues recorded an audio track in support of compaign and finally – we were picketing the main building of the Russian Federal Drug Control Service (FDCS) on that day.
So what was the result of all this and how did it happen?
The Facebook group got a lot of attention of people from different countries who posted their photos and words of support in it. You may join the group and see all photos here. And the picketing of the FDCS office was very inspiring for the participants. 9 activists participating in picketing had 4 signs with different slogans on them in support of humane drug policy, as well as printed leaflets, containing detailed description of the campaign which they were giving to people passing by.
Paired up and havind a different signs, the participants were holding solitary picketing not only in front of the main entrance to the FDCS building, but along the whole street making sure that there is a 50 meter distance between of each of them, in accordance with the law.
As a result, we were picketing FDCS for an hour and after all had a positive communication with most of people passing by to whom we gave our leaflets and had conversations on the drug policy issues. It was surprising that we almost haven’t met narcophobic people, and the passersby were mostly reacting positively to our messages.
We didn’t manag to establish a contact with the representatives of FDCS itself – when we asked a press-secretary to come out and talk to us no one came and when we wanted to pass our leaflets and signs to the head of FDCS, general Viktor Ivanov – we were not allowed to enrter the reception and were told to leave all the stuff at the entrance.
Such indifference on the part of governmental structure to the asks of the civil society is dejecting and next year we should plan such an action to attract the attention of FDCS representatives.
Among the activities within the “Support. Don’t punish” campaign the one worth to be mentioned specifically is the inititive of the international-cloudy creative collective “Angry animals” (Belrin-Cologne-Piter-Amsterdam-New York-Odessa-Goa-London-Paris-Omsk-and everywhere) which recorde a track “Drugprisoners”. Please share this link and be blessed and healthy!
Categories: ARF advocacy at the national level | Tags: actions, advocacy, ARF, drug policy, Supportdontpunish, Viktor Ivanov | No comments »