Human Rights and Justice

The Human Rights and Justice team monitors rights abuses committed globally in the name of drug control, and advocates to promote the human rights of people who use drugs and their communities.

Currently, our research and analysis tracks use of the death penalty for drug offences, extrajudicial killings, and the compulsory detention of people who use drugs, to help fight for the rights of some of the most marginalised groups in society, including incarcerated people.

Our advocacy places human rights firmly at the centre of a harm reduction approach to punitive drugs policies and laws, recognising these to be detrimental to achieving the right to health for all and improving public safety.

Harm Reduction International is a member of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, an alliance of more than 150 NGOs, bar associations, local authorities and unions, advocating for abolition of the death penalty.

See below for examples of our work

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The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2019The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

Since 2007, we have tracked use of the death penalty for drug offences worldwide, a practice that violates international human rights law. Read our latest research on this issue.

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UPR Malaysia 2018 BriefingSubmissions to human rights mechanisms

As part of our monitoring and analysis, Harm Reduction International regularly submits, both unilaterally and with partners, to UN bodies and mechanisms on human rights abuses committed in the name of drug control.

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Lawyering On The Margins

Harm Reduction International is honoured to host and coordinate Lawyering on the Margins (LOTM) network for the period of 2020 – 2023. The network has brought together lawyers serving marginalised populations from across the world since 2011. The network was originally set up as a platform for lawyers to share best practices, challenges and supports.

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Drug Policy and Prisons

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Punitive responses to health crises: the securitisation of COVID-19 in Asia Punitive responses to health crises: the securitisation of COVID-19 in Asia

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A Broken System: Drug Control, Detention and Treatment of People Who Use Drugs in Sri Lanka A Broken System: Drug Control, Detention and Treatment of People Who Use Drugs in Sri Lanka

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UPR joint report 2019

Making the Universal Periodic Review work for people who use drugs

This joint report from HRI, IDPC and Aidsfonds analyses Universal Periodic Review recommendations from 2008-2017 with regards to drug-related issues.

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Partners_in_Crime_front coverPartners in Crime: International Funding for Drug Control and Gross Violations of Human Rights

Our 2012 documents how millions of dollars in drug enforcement funding and technical assistance are spent in countries with grave human rights concerns.

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Submission to the Runnymede Trust: CERD 2021 Call for Evidence

HRI and Release develop this submission in response to the Runnymede Trust's call for evidence regarding the Government's implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD)

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Briefing: The Harms of Incarceration: The evidence base and human rights framework for decarceration and harm reduction in prisonsThe Harms of Incarceration: The evidence base and human rights framework for decarceration and harm reduction in prisons

This briefing provides advocates with the evidence base and human rights framework for decarceration and the provision of harm reduction services in prisons.

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Merri Utami A Death Sentence for a Drug Offence

Demand Clemency for Merri Utami - who has been on death row in Indonesia for nearly two decades.

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The Death Penalty for Drug Offences: Global Overview 2019 COVID-19, Prisons and Drug Policy

“COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges for governments and prison administrations, catalysing the uptake of exceptional measures to decongest prisons. HRI monitored and analysed prison decongestion measures adopted around the world between March and June 2020 in response to COVID-19, with a specific focus on how these measures impact on people in prison for drug offences.

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Prison Project ReportReport and Monitoring Tool: HIV, HCV, TB and Harm Reduction in Prisons

There is an enormous gap between health and human rights standards and their effective implementation in places of detention. Our report shortcomings in harm reduction in prisons. Further, we provide a tool to assist human rights-based prison monitoring mechanisms generate better informed monitoring of issues relating to HIV, HCV, TB and harm reduction in prisons.

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47th Session of the UN Human Rights Council: Drug Policy Highlights PDF document

The 47th Session of the Human Rights Council, held between 21 June and 15 July 2021, presents multiple opportunities for assessing the human rights impacts of drug control policies worldwide, and discussing pathways for reform. Here are some key sessions and events where drug policy will be addressed, and suggestions for recommendations and… Read more

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