24th International Harm Reduction Conference Commends UNODC decriminalisation document

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Wednesday, 21 October, 2015  (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)--Delegates attending the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference in Kuala Lumpur today formally commended a UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) document supporting the decriminalisation of drugs for personal consumption that was withdrawn by the UN organisation prior to the  conference and subsequently published on a number of  media websites this week.

The conference, organised by Harm Reduction International, opened last Sunday and celebrates its final day today.  Over 800 health workers, UN representatives, politicians, bureaucrats, researchers, medical professionals, community workers representing over 70 countries have attended the bi-ennial event, the premier global meeting of experts working on HIV and injecting drug use.

UNODC has denied that the document is a formal policy position, and has instead stated that it was ‘intended for dissemination and discussion at a conference in Kuala Lumpur’. Today delegates attending the conference did just that during a morning plenary session. 

Following a motion that the conference formally ‘commend the document and urge UNODC to publish it’, delegates held up copies of the document as a show of support for its call on governments to consider “decriminalising drug use and possession for personal consumption”.

“UNDOC has stated it wanted this document debated and discussed at our conference, and we are fulfilling those wishes,” said Dr Rick Lines, Executive Director of Harm Reduction International.

“The overwhelming support from our delegates today for UNODC’s drug decriminalisation recommendations should embolden them to show brave leadership on this issue, and publish the document in its current form.  It´s a document that acts in the best interests of preventing injecting related HIV, hepatitis C and overdose reduction, and promoting the rights of people who use drugs.” 


To join the conversation, follow us on Twitter. Updates on the campaign and conference are tagged #IHRC2015.

Further information:

Conference program updates can be downloaded here

Media registrationRegistration is free to all accredited media. To register please email media@hri.global

Media Enquiries:
Michael Kessler (In Kuala Lumpur, October 10-24)
Michael Kessler Media
Media Manager IHRC 2015
Email: michael.kessler@intoon-media.com
Mobile: +60 13 270 9220
Skype: mickgpi
Twitter: twitter.com/mickessler

Zaki Arzmi
Media & Communications Manager, Malaysian AIDS Council
Mobile : +60 16 292 2948
Email: zaki@mac.org.my

About the Harm Reduction International (HRI)

Harm Reduction International is a leading non-governmental organisation working to promote and expand support for harm reduction. With over 8,000 members worldwide, Harm Reduction International is the largest membership-based global harm reduction association. HRI works to reduce the negative health, social and human rights impacts of drug use and drug policy – such as the increased vulnerability to HIV and hepatitis infection among people who inject drugs – by promoting evidence-based public health policies and practices, and human rights based approaches to drug policy.


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