10 December: Human Rights Day

10 December, the day on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 70 years ago, is a key date for celebrating human rights worldwide. But is also a reminder that there is still much to be done for the promotion and protection of our fundamental rights.

The Pompidou Group, as an Enlarged Partial Agreement of the Council of Europe, regards the European Convention on Human Rights as the key document for guaranteeing the basic rights and freedoms of European citizens. In its next work programme (2019-2022) entitled ‘Sustainable drug policies respectful of human rights’ the Group continues to build on the ground work laid down in the previous work cycle for making human rights a core business in all areas of drug policies, from drug policy development through implementation and monitoring to evaluation.

In this respect, the Pompidou Group provides assistance to national authorities in identifying and embracing timely responses to contentions about human rights in drug policy, as well as in assessing the intended and unintended effects of envisaged drug policy measures, taking into account potential impact on the enjoyment of human rights. Recognising the paramount role of civil society in upholding human rights, the Pompidou Group offers guidance and tools to decision makers, in order to develop practical and meaningful ways for government and civil society co-operation in the field of drug policy. It also works towards introducing a gender dimension into drug policies.

Read more about the Pompidou Group’s contribution to promoting human rights


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"Opioid Agonist Treatment, Guiding Principles for Legislation and Regulations"

With nearly 35 million opioid users worldwide, access to opioid agonist treatment (OAT) is a major health issue. Only 12 million are intravenous drug users and are at risk of becoming infected with HIV or hepatitis C virus (HCV). These high-risk opioid users are close to 1.3 million in Europe. Only 50% have access to treatment and there are considerable differences from one country to another, between cities and rural territories, and in terms of population groups (women, minors, etc.). The major obstacle is the requirement to obtain prior approval, notwithstanding the effectiveness of this treatment which is beyond any doubt. Scaling up the access to opioid agonist medicines is a WHO recommendation and is part of the EU Action Plan on Drugs for 2017-2020. In particular, two medicines are deemed essential: methadone and buprenorphine. The report drafted by a group of health and legal experts thereby calls upon countries to review their national regulations in the light of four recommendations: (1) the delivery of opioid agonist medicines without prior approval; (2) the removal of financial barriers to health care access; (3) the setting up of a national consultative monitoring body; (4) the use of a neutral, precise and respectful terminology. All these courses of action are aimed at an equitable and timely access to health care, in alignment with the human rights-based approach recommended by the Pompidou Group.

 Pompidou Group