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Oct 17, 2007

Report on the European INPUD meeting at the Correlation Conference in Sofia.

European INPUD

Fabrice (Fr), Vito (Maç), Ines (Slo), Samo (Slo), Zarir (Maç)

By Milena Naydenova

On September, 27th - 29th the Correlation Network European Conference “Social Inclusion & Health – Crossing the Borders” took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. There were almost 200 people from a number of different countries attending the event. Drug Users, Roma, and Sex Workers activists took a significant part in the conference program and together with professionals and service providers raised awareness about the good as well as about the bad practices they have encountered in the areas they work in. The numerous optional workshops organized during the conference gave chance to the participants to share their personal experience and get acquainted with the ideas and the work of their peers and colleagues.

Zarir (Maçedonia)

The Correlation Network invited again the European INPUD activists to organize their own meeting as a satellite to the main conference. The event was also opened for people outside the community and it took place in the afternoon of the last day, after the closing session. There were altogether 21 from persons 13 different, mainly EU countries attending, including three non–users observers. Unfortunately two of our peers activists that took part in the previous European INPUD meetings - Nuno Fernandes (Portugal) and Ivo Thery (Belgium) were unable to participate in this one due to unavoidable objective circumstances.

Jason (USA), Daan (NL), Rumen (BG), Tonny (BE)

The meeting was chaired by Stijn Goossens - the International Director of INPUD, as Milena Naydenova (a resigned INPUD vice-chair) was in charge of putting down the minutes and making the final report of the event. The approved agenda included overview and discussions about the registration and the structure of the network and its board, the current board members, the development in the organization of regional INPUD departments – as INPUD Asia and INPUD Europe, the frameworks of the future activities of European INPUD as the focus was on our application and possible participation in the EU Civil Society Forum on Drugs and the cooperation INPUD-IHRD-WHO for creating Guide-Lines addressing the medical and the harm-reduction services that should be available for our peers attending International events. The participants got also updated information about the INPUD Internet site, the on line membership campaign, the forms of membership, the application forms, as the most serious problem encountered here is the need of Dutch-English translation of INPUD statue and the consequent statue translations in as many languages as possible.

Zarir (Maç), Xavier (Sp), Stijn (Be)

The next topic of the agenda was a report on INPUD / Spanish DUA preparations for the 19th ICRDRH. The representative of the Barcelona DU Organization made a detailed overview of the work the local peers have done up to the moment and all people attending the meeting were really delighted to hear that apart from substitution, medical, harm reduction and other needed services, for the first time this year it is realistic to expect a safe-injecting site available in the conference ally, where most probably the annual INPUD congress will also take place. Serious problem that appears again for a first year after few in a row is that the main donors in the area are withdrawing money from conferences, so this year will not be scholarships available apart from the few ones IHRD gives to their grantees from Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Besides the INPUD office will have to find grants to finance the rent of the premises the annual congress of the network will be held. Although the problem raised detailed discussions, no realistic opportunities for scholarships and just few options for financing the congress were found for the moment.

Stijn and Mustafa

The meeting proceeded with the last topic from the agenda – the International Drug Users Day. Currently there are two dates acknowledged as IDUD – July, 21st, founded in Germany by a mother who has lost her son at this date and the more largely accepted November, 1st – the day for remembering the dead, according to the some Christian traditions. We agreed that the both dates should remain as each DU organization have to decide locally which one of the dates to choose for the commemoration of our dead peers and which should be anti-prohibitionists day. INPUD will gather input from its local chapters and whenever possible will make a joint slogan for celebrating the event also at International level. As INPUD's International Director, Stijn Goossens took the responsibility to propose to the INPUD members to celebrate the 2 wide known IDUD dates.

The discussion marked the end of the meeting.

29/09/2007, Sofia Bulgaria

Milena (BG/BE)

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