Action appeal from HCLU
Dear activists! Dear service providers! Dear researchers and decision makers!
Your Hungarian peers need your help – we should direct international attention to our problems in order to put pressure on the Hungarian government to listen to us and return to the values of a balanced, evidence-based drug policy.
All services providers, professionals and activists can join the petition of the Hungarian NGO networks by sending us the following information:
1) Your name
2) Your title/position
3) The name of your organization/institute
4) Your country of residence
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org, please put “Petition” in the subject!
The four umbrella organizations representing professionals working in the prevention, treatment and reduction of drug related problems were taken aback by the decision of the government to denounce the current national drug strategy and to draft a new one. We express our concern that this decision was made without consulting professional organizations: not even discussing it with the government’s highest level advisory board, the Drug Coordination Committee (KKB) – it was only announced as an ultimatum.
It is especially alarming that while available financial resources for drug policy interventions were cut in half compared to the previous year, the country will be without an effectively operating drug coordination and drug strategy! All this is happening when Hungary is to take over the presidency of the European Union.
The adoption of the current national drug strategy (2010-18) was preceded by an extensive professional consultation process, with the participation of the representatives of various professionals and service providers, international experts and, through an online public consultation, the whole civil society. A consensus-document was created that is fully in line with scientific evidences, with the international recommendations on drug policy, as well as with the drug strategy of the European Union. The national drug strategy is not a collection of dogmas; on the contrary, it includes principles and goals in accordance with our scientific knowledge and the aim to preserve life and health. If the drug strategy is unacceptable for the government it presumes a message that professional views and organizations in support of it are also unacceptable, as well as the EU drug strategy approved by 27 member states.
We stand up for the principles of the drug strategy – the respect of human rights and human dignity, the equal access to treatment, the right to health, the priority of evidence, partnership and collective action, comprehensive approach and accountability – because these are the cornerstones of a responsible national drug strategy. We believe that the preservation of life and the respect of civil liberties are not contradictory but supplementary and inter-dependent actions. We cannot tackle drug problems without respecting the congenital human rights and dignity of all human beings.
Henceforward we denounce all efforts as erratic and irresponsible that attempt to divide the professional community and society along ideological frontlines instead of providing adequate resources and political support to implement the national drug strategy supported by a professional consensus. We emphasize that the lack of an effectively operating drug strategy with adequate financial resources and professional support undermines prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and harm reduction services – as a consequence harms can be measured not only in money but in human lives.
We ask Minister Miklós Réthelyi and Deputy Prime Minster Tibor Navracsics to initiate negotiations with the representatives of professional organizations and reconvene and chair a special session of the KKB to discuss the situation and the future steps of the government. We also ask the government to provide adequate financial resources to ensure the survival of life-saving services in Hungary.
Budapest, 21 December, 2010.
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