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Dec 11, 2007

INPUD's reply to the EC's Mr. Carel Edwards affirmation on our exclusion from the Civil Society Forum on drugs

Dear Mr. Edwards,

We should probably thank you for answering us back, although we find your answer irrelevant, even insulting, instead of helpful, as you suppose. More over, your reply is illustrative for your and your staff unprofessional organization of the Forum. So, if you allow us, we will make few remarks on your letter. As far as INPUD is concerned we would like, in particular, to draw your attention to the following facts:

The criteria for selecting the participants in the Forum might be quite clearly stated in the Green Paper, but in practice they already became too blurred. Based on the information you publish, we encountered nine (up to now) organizations, that are invited to the Forum and do not have such clear track regarding their participation in the process, prior to the Forum. INPUD might have no clear track as a network in general, except for this only “track” - the participation of our members from the very first moment on in the process of the involvement of the civil society in the dialog about the future EU drug policies. We took part in the conference the EC organized in January 2006. We consulted our network and sent our opinion and remarks on the Green Paper, etc. People, who use drugs, are the most affected by the policies on drugs and that is the reason why since 2006 we have not missed even one occasion in the process prior to the Forum. Because of the visibly eroding confidence of the European citizens in the European ideal and the European institutions, European DU really believed that this time the EC was serious about engaging the civil society and that this time the EC will act in the only right way to regain the European citizens confidence in the Union that was lost over the past few years.

We never insisted that INPUD is the only eligible DU organization to take part in the debates. We just asked you why there are no DU representatives involved, which does not mean “why INPUD is not invited”. We can not accept that neither of the drug users organizations that have applied for the Forum is not good enough even to fill in one of the four initially unoccupied slots, which is obviously your opinion.

As far as your response to our specific questions is concerned:

- We asked for three names, not for political talks, so permit us not to accept that for a concrete answer.

- Your opinion that DU can not speak on behalf of themselves, but they need somebody else, appointed by you to protect DU interests is so insulting and outrageous, so we will not discuss it further.

And as you constantly refer to the Action Plan, let us quote: “... In terms of the ultimate goal it should be clearly understood that the Strategy and Action Plan are not an end in themselves; even if all the objectives they contain are reached we must conclude that they have failed if the result is not a measurable reduction of the drugs problem in our societies.” So, no actual need for evaluation. We have numerous evidence that the problem gets worse in many aspects, most alarming and evidential of which are the significant uprise of OD-related deaths in many EU countries, not to mention the unmeasurably high prevalence of HCV among the injecting DU and the renewed uprise in the spread of HIV/AIDS.

Because of all said above we fear that a “possible”future” dialog with DU will be too insufficient and too late. It is a waist of time for you, a waist of money for the EU citizens and again many deaths for us.

We hope you understand that because of the seriousness of the situation for thousands of DU across Europe we will not let you impose us again the role of the “silent minorityso easily.


Stijn Goossens
Executive Director

International Network Of People Who Use Drugs

GuldensporenStraat 88/2
2140 Borgerhout

Phone: +32 3 297 8451
Mobile: +32 479 982 271




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