The right to rights
Everyone has a right to health, yet not everyone can get the services they need. People who use drugs regularly experience barriers to life-saving services, and it’s their voices that inform this project. The Human Rights Education Project provides analysis of day-to-day violations of fundamental rights that are protected under provincial and federal law.
A human-rights based approach:
- recognizes drug use as a health issue requiring evidence-based health care solutions
- recognizes that stigma against people who use drugs is connected to negative health outcomes and death
- recognizes that discriminatory barriers to accessing health services violate human rights law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- focuses on marginalized and high-risk groups with attention to the unique circumstances of Indigenous peoples
- uses strategies of empowerment
- monitors and evaluates both outcomes and processes using human rights standards
This community-based project centres on the right to health. Using data from Pivot Legal Society’s Project Inclusion report, national and international sources, we take a rights-based approach to the opioid crisis response.
We are developing train-the-trainer resources and a toolkit that will be available to Regional Response Teams (RRTs) and Community Action Teams (CATs) funded under the Overdose Emergency Response Centre. These teams are responsible for implementation plans to reach people at risk of overdose, and develop localized projects and programs that will address multiple sectors, including
First Nations, communities, Municipalities, first responders, front-line community agencies, people and families with lived experience, businesses, local government agencies (eg. housing, social
development, education), and the local recovery community. (from the Overdose Emergency Response Centre Terms of Reference).
The Human Rights Education Project will offer rights-specific information and resources for CATs looking to address these issues in their action plans.
The project is being led by Manager Kira Haug, and the project team includes human rights lawyer Joanna Gislason. The project is a partnership between PAN and RISE Leadership and is being evaluated throughout its development.
- Build partnerships with RRTs and CATs to support their work in communities
- Deliver train-the-trainer workshops to the CATs, RRTs, community organizations and others who work with people who use drugs
- Build meaningful peer engagement and leadership amongst people with lived experiences, using “Nothing About Us Without Us” principles
- Support the work of CATs to inspire human rights-based change and leadership in services for people who use drugs
- Changes in policies, services and supports will lead to people who use drugs experiencing positive change, dignity, compassion and empowerment as well as better health outcomes
Pilots of the project will begin in summer 2019. The project has been funded for one year through the Overdose Emergency Response Centre/ Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions.
Project Inclusion: A human rights approach to HIV, HCV and overdose prevention in BC (Pivot Legal Society, 2018)
Nothing About Us Without Us: Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs: A Public Health, Ethical, and Human Rights Imperative (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network and Open Society Institute, 2008)
PAN’s Drug Use and Overdose Response resources
The impact of the opioid crisis on First Nations communities (First Nations Health Authority)
Prison Health and Advocacy (Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network)
Contact Kira Haug, Project Manager
Please fill in the form below if you are interested in learning more about the project’s progress and/or requesting resources for your community.