Action alert: Andrey Rylkov Foundation needs your help!

Dear friends and colleagues,

The Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice is asking for your support. As you have probably heard, earlier in February the Moscow Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Service has shut down the website rylkov-fond.ru. Access to all publications, materials, reports, personal stories and other information for which our website was the only source was blocked at a moment’s notice.

This website was the only opportunity for people to find out about our activities and ask for help. It was through this website that we often received letters and requests from people in difficult drug-related circumstances, and we followed up on every case.

Together with the Agora Human Rights Association we have prepared a court appeal, and also appealed to the UN Special Rapporteurs on the right to freedom of expression, on the situation with human rights defenders and on the right to health. We also organized a quick media campaign to promote the issue.

And now we need your help! Thank you in advance for your support and understanding that this issue is important to all of us!

WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You could prepare a letter on behalf of your organisation and fax it to two Russian agencies: one to Victor Ivanov, Director of the Federal Drug Control Service, and the other to Tatiana Golikova, Minister of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation.
HOW TO CREATE A LETTER?

1/ Please use the letter attached. The text is in Russian (translation into English you may find below). Please use the letterhead of your organization.
2/ Please put the name and contact details of your organization above the text in Russian
3/ Please put the date, name and the signature below the text in Russian (marked yellow)

WHERE TO SEND?

The letter should be faxed to the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia: +7 (495) 628-02-08 (reception), +7 (495) 621-28-22 (communications department), or sent to pr@fskn.gov.ru, if you don’t have a fax machine.

Fax the letter also to the Ministry of Health: +7 (495) 606-19-48 or +7 (495) 606-18-62, or, if you don’t have a fax machine, fill in the application form at MoH’s website: http://www.minzdravsoc.ru/reception/form (you will need to submit an attachment).

Please note, that in many countries you need to dial international access code first. It is used to «dial out» of the country. For example in USA this code is 011.

We will be grateful to each of you for your support! If you have sent a letter, please inform me at ivar1981@mail.ru

WHEN TO SEND

At any time you wish starting from this moment!
Regards,
Ivan Varentsov

Text of the letter in English

Attn.: Victor Ivanov
Director of the Federal Drug Control Service

Copy:
Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation
Tatiana Golikova

[Date]

Dear Mr. Ivanov,
On 3 February 2012, the Moscow Directorate of the Federal Drug Control Service has shut down the website of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation for Health and Social Justice: rylkov-fond.ru. In the letter sent to Mastername, our domain provider, on behalf of Vladimir Davydov, Head of the Moscow FDCS Directorate, it was stated that the website was closed because ‘it contained materials promoting drug use’.

The mission of the Andrey Rylkov Foundation is to promote humane drug policies based on tolerance and the protection of health, dignity and human rights in Russia. Along with providing direct support to people who use drugs and people with drug addiction, the Foundation advocates for evidence-based drug policy focused on the principles of human rights.

The website contained publications on human rights, drug policies, health issues and scientific evidence – including those related to substitution treatment as a method of drug treatment – which is supposed to be open access information.

OST interventions are successfully implemented in more than 60 countries, including USA, Canada, China, Iran and all European countries, except for Russia and Turkey[1]. Methadone maintenance programmes also operate in all countries of the former Soviet Union, with the exclusion of Russia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Opioid substitution therapy is recommended by the UN General Assembly and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs[2], and by the International Narcotics Control Board[3].

We appeal to the Federal Drug Control Service of Russia to give reasons for closing our website and banning access of Russian citizens to essential information. We demand that the right to freedom of information is observed, and that a cancelling order on the website closure is issued by FDCS.

We also appeal to the Ministry of Health to inform us on measures taken by its agencies to promote the right to health of people who use drugs in Russia and their access to evidence-based methods of drug treatment, in particular to substitution therapy programmes and methadone/buprenorphine medications that are included in the WHO List of Essential Medicines

letter to FDCS rus.doc


[1] Комплект карт о распространении программ профилактики ВИЧ инфекции среди потребителей инъекционных наркотиков в мире. УНП ООН. 2009 год

[2] See paragraph 20 of the Political Declaration on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, adopted on the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs; see also Resolution 53/9 adopted by CND on the 53rd session in March 2010.

[3]INCB Report for 2008, paragraphs 24, 25.

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