Andrey Rylkov Foundation
for Health and Social Justice
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What are implications of the prohibitions of drug propaganda on availability of health and scientific information in the Russian federation?

Anya Sarang, the President of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation took part in a briefing session which took place in Geneva today at which the civil society representatives from Russian Federation presented to the members of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) the shadow reports submitted in relation to the review of the 6th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation. You may read Anya‘s short address to the member of the Committee below.

IMG Sarang

On 17th of January, 2017, the Shadow Report in relation to the review of the 6th Periodic Report of the Russian Federation (E/C.12/RUS/6) was submitted on behalf of the Russian Public Mechanism for Monitoring of Drug Policy Reform to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

The report was drafted by the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Social Justice and Health (ARF) with technical assistance of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (CALN).

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Good afternoon, Esteemed Commitee members and colleagues.

In may 2011 the Commitee strongly recommended that Russia should lift the ban on opioid substitution programs. We welcomed the Committee’s recommendations as they reflected our own concern over inability of the Russian government to ensure health protection for one of the most vulnerable and stigmatized groups — people who use drugs. In accordance with the committee’s direction to widely publicize the recommendations we published them on our website. Several months later our site was closed without any legal basis by the Federal Drug Control Service as containing drug propaganda materials. Among them the Committee’s recommendations to the Russian government, the WHO guidelines and UNODC position paper on OST. Our web site was the first of thousands other websites closed or blocked  by the Russian authorities in the next five years. According to the monitoring  of the Center of protection of digital rights and Roscomsvoboda, over 350 thousands web sites were blocked on the decision of the Federal Drug Control Service.

Among them a web site of the League of Cannabis Legalization which contained scientific  information on medicinal Cannabis use and aimed to stir the public debate on the issue of availability of medical marijuana; 5 Wikipedia pages containing information on drugs and even the Web site of the Hungarian Academy of Science providing scientific review of Lysergic acid.

These actions of the Russian government do not only prevent the full realisation of the right to health and the right to benefit from the scientific progress but also demonstrate the disregard of the Committee’s recommendations and open repression of the civil society groups that promote those recommendations.

My question is what are implications of the prohibitions of drug propaganda on availability of health and scientific information in the Russian federation?



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