How drug user rights are violated in South-Africa

Recently, TB/HIV Care Association, one of Mainline’s South-African partners, released an annual report on human rights violations among people who use drugs. 

Together with partner OUT Wellbeing, they recorded almost 700 violations. Many of these involve the police. People report random arrests, the confiscation of needles and syringes, and instances of police violence. 

The report states:

‘what is also apparent (…) is that it is not only the law enforcement officers on the ground that are responsible. It is those who hold political power that influence the levels of abuse people suffer on the streets and in the alleys. It is them we should hold accountable. It is not sufficient to remain passive, but decisive action is needed’.

High as these numbers already are, they likely seriously underrepresent the reality on the streets. Many people are afraid to report violations or don’t see the point because they feel powerless against the authorities. 

However, as the report itself shows, reporting is important. Evidence such as this gives a strong voice to people who are often overlooked. It allows for a collective lobby for safety and better access to health care. Read the full report here

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