Svitlana Moroz

Eurasian Women’s Network on AIDS (Ukraine)

I’m HIV positive, hepatitis C infected, ex drug user and internally displaced woman. Women who use drugs, women living with HIV and sex workers have been facing severe human rights abuses and multiple forms of discrimination in Ukraine.

Repressive legislation hinders access to healthcare services and creates a favorable environment for the violations of rights of women who use drugs, including blackmail, arbitrary detention, and lack of due judicial examination. 83% of women who use drugs encountered police violence including beatings, torture, rape; they are forced to sign depositions in a state of abstinence syndrome.

Almost each sex worker has been a subject to unlawful detention. Police officers forcing them to sign the protocols admitting their guilt and threatening them that otherwise they will be incriminating criminal offence of trading in prostitution.Criminalisation  of the HIV transmission is used by the Police officers to intimidate sex workers with criminal liability for posing in risk of contracting HIV. As a result, this negatively affects adherence to antiretroviral therapy, sex workers are afraid to carry medication with them. Another major problem is violation of parental and reproductive rights, forced sterilization and denied access to assisted reproductive technologies. Drug use is listed as a sufficient foundation to deprive of parental rights. Law enforcement agencies frequently exploit this legislative norm to intimidate women who have children and force them to cooperate. Sex workers do not enroll in programs of opioid substitution therapy because of fear of being deprived of parental rights and blackmail from state social service workers. For women living with HIV, there is a legal prohibition to adopt or take guardianship over a child. We have reports on forced sterilization of HIV-positive sex workers. Medical personnel conduct these practices with impunity, and doctors tell women that they have been sterilized “for their own good, because people like them should not reproduce”.
Finally, I would like to mention lack of access to opioid substitution therapy for women who use drugs. It is not available during pregnancy at women’s health clinics and maternity hospitals, and pregnant women do not have access to high-quality integrated health care services within one medical facility. Criminalization of people who use drugs also significantly impedes engagement of HIV-positive women who use drugs to the continuum of HIV-related services. Repressive drug policy and the penalization of sex work lead to silencing of human rights abuses. It makes self-advocacy almost impossible.

Speech of Svitlana Moroz on the 66th CEDAW Committee in Geneva. #cedaw4ukraine #66CEDAWsession

Publicada por Eurasian Women's Network on AIDS en Lunes, 13 de febrero de 2017