Progressive recommendations of the UN International Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for Ukraine
The UN International Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has recently published a number of important recommendations on combating HIV/AIDS, opioid substitution therapy, access issues, state funding and inadequately high level of drug dependent people criminalization for the government of Ukraine.
The recommendations are based on regular review of the Ukraine’s report to the extent of fulfilling the recommendations by the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights based on the alternative "shadow report" presented by Alliance-Ukraine together with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and the Eurasian Harm Reduction Network in October 2013.
The recomndations on UN Committee as for HIV/AIDS and Drag Use sphere are follows:
22. The Committee is concerned The State party should continue its efforts to prevent and combat HIV/AIDS, including through the effective implementation of the National HIV/AIDS Programme 2014–2018, inter alia by:
(a) enhancing its national preventive strategy, including its awareness-raising activities, taking into account the spread of HIV infection beyond the original risk groups and providing adequate funding for its prevention activities, including for needle and syringe exchange (NSE) programmes;
(b) improving the coverage of adequate confidential testing throughout the country;
(c) enhancing its counselling and referral services;
(d) addressing shortages of antiretroviral drugs;
(e) providing for access to adequate laboratory monitoring for HIV-infected persons;
(f) progressively increasing the antiretroviral therapy coverage, including by considering the introduction of generic-based antiretroviral drugs.
24. The Committee is concerned about the punitive approach towards persons who use drugs that translates into the high number of such persons being imprisoned, as well as about existing regulations that restrict access to opioid substitution therapy (OST) and needle and syringe exchange (NSE) programmes (art. 12).
The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a human rights-based approach in addressing the problem of drug use, including by:
(a) conducting awareness-raising programmes about the serious health risks associated with drug use;
(b) addressing the discrimination against drug dependent persons;
(c) providing appropriate health-care, psychological support services and rehabilitation to such persons, including effective drug dependence treatment such as opioid substitution therapy (OST);
(d) allocating financial resources for the proper operation of opioid substitution therapy (OST) and needle and syringe exchange (NSE) programmes and increasing their coverage, ensuring inter alia better access to such programmes in prison settings".