COVID-19 and Harm Reduction Programme Implementation: Sharing Experiences in Practice (Webinar)

Médecins du Monde Harm Reduction, April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is having a profound effect on the provision of health services across the globe and is further magnifying the existing barriers faced by people who use drugs in accessing harm reduction services. Programmes have had to adapt, and efforts are being made to enhance accessibility and ensure the continuity of harm reduction services in a context that is changing daily.

But what does this look like in reality, and what practical measures can be put in place to ensure that people who use drugs continue to have access to the services and support that they need?

The aim of this webinar is to facilitate an interactive discussion and share experiences on how to maintain and adapt harm reduction services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speakers will discuss:

• The impact of COVID-19 on the lives of people who use drugs and their use of services

• Community mobilisation and advocacy by people who use drugs

• Examples of how harm reduction programmes such as OST and NSP are continued in some countries

Organisers: Médecins du Monde, International Network of People Who Use Drugs, Harm Reduction International, European Network of People Who Use Drugs, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the World Health Organization.

COVID-19: A Gender Lens – sexual & reproductive health and gender inequality

UN Population Fund (UNFPA), March 2020

Disease outbreaks affect women and men differently, and pandemics make existing inequalities for women and girls and discrimination of other marginalized groups such as persons with disabilities and those in extreme poverty, worse. This needs to be considered, given the different impacts surrounding detection and access to treatment for women and men.

Women represent 70 percent of the health and social sector workforce globally and special attention should be given to how their work environment may expose them to discrimination, as well as thinking about their sexual and reproductive health and psychosocial needs as frontline health workers

TREATY BODIES: FIVE YEARS OF RESEARCH SHOW INTERNATIONAL LAW INCREASINGLY PROTECTS LGBTI PERSONS’ RIGHTS

ASIA PACIFIC ALLIANCE FOR SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS (APA),  2020

The United Nations Treaty Bodies are an authoritative source of international law, and have steadily contributed to protecting the human rights of LGBTI persons. A review of their activities in 2017 and 2018, released by ILGA World, shows that references to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) made by the committees have hit an all-time high.

The report on  United Nations Treaty Bodies: References to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex characteristics’ is a comprehensive annual compilation and analysis of all the SOGIESC references made by nine UN Treaty Bodies (CESCR, HRCtee, CEDAW, CRC, CAT, CRPD, CERD, CMW and CED) in 2018, produced by ILGA.
It investigates the Treaty Bodies’ General Comments (interpretations of the international human rights treaties), Individual Communications (complaints brought by individuals or organisations), Lists of Issues (issues and questions sent to the States parties before the main review) and Concluding Observations (country-specific concerns and recommendations).

In 2018, Treaty Bodies made a record high of 138 SOGIESC references and recommendations. This is more than 2.5 times growth from 2014, and active participation of CS groups was one of the important factors contributing to this.  

How did Asia Pacific countries fare?   Here’s all the AP countries under review in 2018, by treaty. 

Highlighted countries received recommendations on LGBTI and/or had civil society reports that mentioned LGBTI :

·         2018 Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights :  Bangladesh, New Zealand (read more on p22)

·         2018 Human Right Committee (ICCPR) : Lao 

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women:  Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Lao, Malaysia, Nepal , New Zealand, R of Korea, Samoa  (read more on p. 44)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of the Child:  Lao, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka (read more on p 57)

·         2018 Committee Against Torture:  [Canada*], Maldives, Russia,  Viet Nam, (read more on p 64)

·         2018 Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Nepal, Philippines, Russia (read more on p 73)

·         2018 Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: China, Iraq, Japan, Nepal, R of Korea  (read more on p 80)

·         2018 Committee on Migrant Workers:

·         2018 Committee on Enforced Disappearances:  Japan (read more on p 90)

NOTE: Central Asia was not included in the above listing. Canada was included as there is a member organisation there.

 

Migrant women’s groups commend voting down of ‘racist’ amendment to NSW abortion bill

SBS, 19th September 2019

Groups representing migrant women in Australia have praised the voting down of a controversial amendment to NSW’s proposed abortion bill that would have explicitly banned abortions on the basis of gender selection.

The amendment had been labelled “racist” and a “dog-whistle” on the basis it specifically targeted Indian and Chinese communities as responsible for using abortion as a means of gender selection in a bid to have male children.

A joint statement released ahead of the debate on Wednesday, signed by six advocacy groups for multicultural women, said the proposed amendment risked “introducing racial profiling and amplifying discrimination in our healthcare system”.

Decriminalisation of sex work in south Australia (SHINE SA Media Release)

SHINE SA,  

On 31 May 2019, the Sex Industry Network (SIN) will gather at Parliament House to rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry and to recognise International Sex Workers Day.

In South Australia sex work is criminalised, prohibiting sex work so that those engaging in relevant activities can be prosecuted for criminal offences. SIN and Scarlet Alliance (Australian Sex Workers Association) advocate for decriminalisation which is seen as a best practice model by sex workers and community-based organisations.

In a recent statement SIN said:

“Sex work is skilled labour. We deserve the same industrial protections as any other worker in South Australia and, currently, what sets us apart is the criminalisation of the industry within which we CHOOSE to work.”

Natasha Miliotis, Chief Executive of SHINE SA said:

“We support the work of SIN and their advocacy for the decriminalisation of sex work in SA.

Amnesty International, the United Nations and the World Health Organization have all called for the full decriminalisation of consensual sex work as the scientific evidence is now clear – criminalisation itself leads to harm¹.

From a public health perspective decriminalisation is important to not only reduce stigma and discrimination, but to improve the health and safety of workers, clients and the broader community².”

For more information on SIN’s celebration of International Sex Workers Day and the rally for the decriminalisation of the South Australian sex industry visit www.sin.org.au.

For further information contact Tracey Hutt, Director Workforce Education and Development via email  or via telephone on 0434 937 036

 

 

¹ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30532209

² https://theconversation.com/new-report-shows-compelling-reasons-to-decriminalise-sex-work-83955

Condom handouts in schools prevent disease without encouraging sex

The Guardian,

Making condoms available to teenagers at school does not make them more promiscuous – but neither does it reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

According to a major review by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), giving out condoms in secondary schools does not increase sexual activity, or encourage young people to have sex at an earlier age.

The research, thought to be the largest review of scientific literature on the issue, found that introducing condoms to schools reduced sexually transmitted infections (STIs).