Innovative Communications IHRA Conference 2011 report back
Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) HCLU is a watchdog law reform organization based in Budapest, Hungary Provide legal aid and advocacy for vulnerable groups They have used new media to help bring attention to: -the failure of international drug control policies -to mobilize people to pressurize the UN to change its drug policies
Inspiration WITNESS - an international human rights organisation that provides training and support to local groups to use video in their human rights advocacy campaigns witness.org Global Voices - a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world globalvoicesonline.org
An inconvenient question HCLU filmed the NGO forum at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna Dutch psychiatrist, Frederick Polak, asked: “How is it possible that the Netherlands, that allows adults to buy cannabis in coffee shops, has lower levels of cannabis use among young people than the US?” Antonio Maria Costa (head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime UNODC) refused to give a straight answer to the question
HCLU used this footage to create an advocacy video and posted it on YouTube 100,000 views Circulated among UN officials by
As a result of the footage was createdwww.daretoact.net
prompted people to write to the UN Drug Office with the same question
HCLU approached 18 NGOs from various EU countries and organised a simultaneous press conference on the occasion of the UN High Level Meeting on Drugs HCLU built a national media contact lists with journalists notifying them of this Working with Media
HCLU provided scholarships for 17 journalists to travel to Vienna and report on the issue
Poster Contest The best posters were exhibited in front of the UN building
Drug Lords celebrate prohibition To raise awareness of 50 years of prohibition, HCLU filmed four actors playing the real beneficiaries: Pablo, Mexican cartel owner, Igor, Russian Heroin Trader and Azlan, Taliban Leader were Drug Lords video
SKOUN - Lebanon Skoun is a Lebanese organisation whose core activity is treatment Created in 2003, it is the first walk-in outpatient therapeutic facility in Lebanon Approximately 120 patients a year
Drug use in Lebanon Civil War from 1975 – 1991 caused long term effects on social/family structure Field workers estimate there are around 10, ,000 drug users in Lebanon today Law 673 (passed in 1998) stated that drug addiction was not a crime in itself within Lebanon. No real implementation of the policy law 673 since its establishment (abstinence or prison)
SKOUN addresses stigma "There is a lot of stigma involved with drug use in Lebanon, even for those working with addicts," “Targeting religious figures is important because they helped shape popular opinion in Lebanon. ” We were surprised at how willing they were to listen to us, they are used to seeing many drug cases and I think they are in need of a new way to deal with them successfully," -Skoun
SKOUN addresses stigma
ASUD, France ASUD - Self-support and Risk Reduction among Drug Users organisation 2002 Sarkozy implemented a hardline approach to drugs "The words 'soft' and 'drugs' will always be incompatible," Sarkozy said. "There is quite simply no such thing as a 'soft drug'. We are determined to fight against drug dealers and against drugs of whatever kind wherever, whenever and however we can."
No safe injecting facilities (SIF) in France To raise awareness of this issue, one was opened in Paris on World Hepatitis Day May 19th, Many journalists came to visit the SIF However, it was media stunt. NO drug users were allowed to use due to French drug regulation.
The successful stunt stirred great debate ASUD used this opportunity to build up networks and relationships with politicians, media and key opinion leaders Various associations and politicians examined the issue, spoke with experts, and visiting “shooting galleries” in Spain and Switzerland.
ASUD - France Tuesday 19th October Paris city council voted in favour of the opening of a drug consumption room. “This initiative will be an experiment supported by the state and designed in strict collaboration with the regional health authority, the Police, neighbours and other interested parties”. Paris is the first town to hold a vote on this ultra- sensitive subject.