It is another year of the Support Don’t Punishcampaign, a global advocacy campaign that seeks to raise awareness of the harms being caused by the punitive drug policies across the region. This year in Africa, the campaign aims to promote drug policies that respect human rights and protect public health, to change laws and policies that impede access to harm reduction interventions and other evidence-based services, and to end the criminalization of people who use drugs.
On June 26th, civic activists and citizens from over 13 West Africa countries will take the streets and public places to call on their governments to do away with the draconian laws and implement laws that are based on evidence that have proven to work over the years.
In West Africa, this year, the aim of the Support Don’t Punish campaign is to create visibility and awareness over both global and national issues facing people who use drugs in the countries where the events are taking places.
Around and on Monday 26th June, thousands of people will take part in events in more than 20 cities across more than 13 West Africa countries – as part of the Support Don’t Punish campaign’s ‘Global Day of Action’.
The West Africa Drug Policy Network (WADPN) Chapters will join thousands of activists in countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, The Gambia and Togo. The Network on this day will organise numerous activities ranging from Supporting Walk, Awareness Raising Campaign and Public Debate, 25 – 27 June in Savalou.
Press conference 26-June in Abidjan, Debate program on National Youth Television and 3 Radio Discussion and Phone-in program on 26-June in Freetown. In Lomé, the Network National Chapter will hold a Press Conference for media activists on 26th, whereas in Mauritania a Sensitisation Campaign on the day will take place in the street of Nouakchott.
Senegal will have an awareness creation and sensitization on the 28th in Dakar. Mali will hold a Public Debate and Basket-ball Competition, 2pm – 6:30pm on 26th, Ghana will have a Float Parade at 8am from the national theatre to Parliament House on the 24th followed by a weeklong media debate on the theme “Has criminal justice failed us on the war on drugs? in Accra.
In Ouagadougou (Burkina-Faso), an advocacy visit to parliament select committees in charge of drugs and others law enforcement agency from 25 – 27 June. Guinee Conakry Chapter will have a Public Debate. In Nigeria (Enugu) 2 Interactive Radio Discussions 26-27 June coupled with a development and Publication of an “Open Letter on the State of Drug Control in Nigeria” from 26 June – 26 July. In addition, the 3rd Enugu Forum on Drugs (EFOD) on will come on (26-Jun) in Enugu while a talk show Discussion on a National Television will take place in Abuja.
If you do not live near a location where a Support. Don’t Punish. event is already being planned, then organise one yourself! Check out the Global Day of Action’s Guide to see how you can get involved. The aim for the Global Day of Action is to produce high-profile and visually symbolic local actions. It is your choice to decide what these actions will take and where.
The only requirement is that these actions are connected to the global campaign by using the Support Don’t Punish logo. This could be on your t-shirts, banners, posters, pictures, reports or other materials. This allows us to tie together the local actions and to demonstrate that they are all part of a coordinated global effort. Also, be sure to use the Support Don’t Punish logo on any materials you make!