Nothing About Us Without Us principles are similar to the Denver Principles on which HIV activism was built: people with lived experience of a disease or social reality should be the central voice in decision-making about directions in policy and programming that affect them.
The inclusion of people with lived experience gives real knowledge about the conditions that policy and programming seek to address, providing a human-rights and socially responsible perspective.
The Nothing About Us Without Us Manifesto: Greater, Meaningful Involvement of People Who Use Illegal Drugs was developed in response to decision-making that excluded, yet deeply impacted health and social impacts, of people who use drugs (PWUD). It reads in part:
“Because we use illegal drugs, people and governments often deny us our rights and dignity. We have the same human rights as everyone else. We have the right to meaningfully participate in decision making on issues affecting us. We have unique expertise and experiences and have a vital role to play in defining the health, social, legal and research policies that affect us.” (Nothing About Us Without Us Manifesto)
Other groups have embraced the the Nothing About Us Without Us principles to different degrees. People with hepatitis C, people with mental health challenges and others have stood up to say they too want a say in decsion-making. The history of people with HIV demanding inclusion has become a social justice movement.
Nothing About Us Without Us: a manifesto on the human rights of people who use drugs