Right to protection of personal data is violated16:52, August 4, 2016 | News, Own news | Right to Respect for Private and Family Life, Rights of Patients
After the seizure of the RA Police patrol-guard service regiment premises with all its ammunition by ‘Sasna Tsrer’ group on July 17, 2016, the RA Police presented some of the group members also as “persons inclined to using drugs”. The other mass media also disseminated the same information and used the term “drug addict”.
Some publications used the term “drug addict” in reference to specific persons. Kajik Grigoryan who burnt himself on Baghramyan Avenue on July 30, was presented by some mass media and a doctor as an HIV positive “drug addict” involved in the methadone substitution treatment program. Hence, we can state that Kajik Grigoryan’s rights under the RA Laws on Medical Care and Services to the Population and on Protection of Personal Data were violated.
It is noteworthy that the information about a person’s disease is considered confidential and may be provided to a third person only at will of the person in question or in cases provided by the RA law.
These days, the term “drug addict” has been used by some Facebook users as well, who went as far as to state that among the persons deprived of liberty, there were those “who are not drug addicts,” which was also shared by the mass media.
We believe that the use of such terms and such approach contribute to shaping a stigma and negative stereotypes toward drug users and their perception as “scum of the society” and “highly dangerous criminal elements”.
Helsinki Citizens ‘Assembly-Vanadzor Office has repeatedly referred to the adverse implications of stigma and discriminatory treatment to drug users. The stigma and discrimination lead to a situation when drug users and persons suffering drug addiction are not perceived as persons suffering a disease in need of medical, socio-psychological and rehabilitation services, by thus evoking a disproportionate and ungrounded belief and wish to punish and isolate them from the society rather than to help them.
Such a treatment can never contribute to improved efficiency in combating illegal drug traffic; moreover, it creates bigger obstacles in treatment of drug users and prevention of use of drugs among the public at large.
We demand that the competent agencies hold liable by law the persons who violated Kajik Grigoryan’s rights to protection of personal data.
We demand that the RA Police and other public agencies refrain from using terms promoting the incitement and strengthening of stigma and discrimination against vulnerable groups and groups most at risk.
We urge the mass media and society members to refrain from using and disseminating terms inciting stigma and discriminatory treatment.