In Porto for a conference of the Correlation Network (www.correlation-net.org). Tomorrow we start our second meeting developing an updated version of the European Peer Support Manual. However, today the conference started with a series of plenary speeches.
The speech that really caught my imagination was Peter Sarosi’s review of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union’s use of video sharing as an advocacy tool for drug law reform campaigning. Peter used the HCLU intervention in the run up to last year’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) meeting in Vienna. Many people will be aware of HCLU’s excellent range of video advocacy tools on a range of topics that have helped highlight the stupidity of prohibition, the cruelty of human rights abuses against people who use drugs, and the merits of harm reduction. In this speech, Peter highlighted the extent of the background development work that had led up to the HCLU demonstration outside the CND meeting last March and their excellent videos from the event.
HCLU’s work shows the power of videos and creative campaigns in engaging people to express their views on prohibition through poster design, cartoon creation and online activism. This on-going campaign led to greater coverage of the CND meeting in local papers around the world, it exposed the Head of UNODC to the views of the many people around the world who oppose prohibition, and ensured that the deliberations of those running the war on drugs were properly exposed to public scrutiny.
HCLU’s work demonstrates the value of a clear strategy, creative interventions, and the use of virtual technologies in drug law reform work. Impressively over 100,000 watched the HCLU videos of the UN event. Such approaches will ensure that those overseeing the failed War on Drugs will no longer be able to operate in secrecy away from public accountability and comment.
It was also a great chance to see the video which included INPUD activists in our first action outside the UN in Vienna a year ago. Next week activists will be back again in Vienna for this year’s CND meeting. A much smaller scale engagement for INPUD but none-the-less HCLU and INPUD will continue to open a window onto a meeting that has such an impact on our lives and rights.