Since 1909 the international community has worked to eradicate the abuse of narcotics. A century on, the efforts are widely acknowledged to have failed, and worse, have spurred black market violence and human rights abuses. How did this drug control system arise, why has it proven so durable in the face of failure, and is there hope for reform?Read more...
The 2009 Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its High Level Segment (HLS) marked the end of the 2-year process of the 10-year review of the 1998 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. The event was marked by the call of the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, to remove the coca leaf from the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which represented the first ever truly open challenge by any nation state to the structure of the international drug control system. The HLS adopted a new Political Declaration and Plan of Action. A dissenting Interpretative Statement by 26 countries on harm reduction, not mentioned in the Political Declaration, marked a clear divide in drug control approaches.Read more...
Peter Reuter (RAND) and Franz Trautmann (Trimbos Institute) (eds.)European Commission
This report commissioned by the European Commission, found no evidence that the global drug problem has been reduced during the period from 1998 to 2007 – the primary target of the 1998 UNGASS, which aimed to significantly reduce the global illicit drugs problem by 2008 through international cooperation and measures in the field of drug supply and drug demand reduction. Broadly speaking the situation has improved a little in some of the richer countries, while for others it worsened, and for some of those it worsened sharply and substantially', among which are a few large developing or transitional countries. Given the limitations of the data, a fair judgment is that the problem became somewhat more severe.
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Martin JelsmaStatement of the Transnational Institute
Commission on Narcotic Drugs 52nd Session, High-level Segment
Round Table D - 12 March 2009, 2.30-5.30 pm
Countering illicit drug traffic and supply, and alternative development
Martin Jelsma of TNI expressed the disappointment with the agreed texts on alternative development in the Political Declaration and Plan of Action at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) dedicated to the 1998 UNGASS review. No consensus could be reached on the issue of drug control conditionality in development assistance, despite the outcomes of expert evaluations that recommended to "not make development assistance conditional on reductions in illicit drug crop cultivation”, and to "ensure that eradication is not undertaken until small-farmer households have adopted viable and sustainable livelihoods and that interventions are properly sequenced."
He further referred to the outcomes of the first World Forum of farmers of coca, cannabis and opium poppy from Latin America, Africa and Asia.
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Alone among UN agencies, CND continues to block support for harm reductionA Statement from Harm Reduction Networks to the High Level Segment of the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs
Vienna, March 11, 2009
As the international community finalises the Political Declaration and work plan that will guide the next ten years of international drug policy, it is inconceivable and indeed unconscionable that support for scientifically proven, evidence-based harm reduction programmes will again be blocked. States must show responsible leadership and act in the best interests of public health and human rights, rather than the narrow and failed language of ‘a drug free world’. This issue is much bigger than ideology, semantics and intergovernmental wordplay. It is about saving lives.
United Nations drug policy reviewInternational Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
March 9, 2009
As political leaders from around the world gather in Vienna on 11-12 March to review the last decade of international drug control, and set a framework for the next ten years with the signing of a Political Declaration, any hopes for progress or a new pragmatism in approaches to the world drug problem are fading fast.Download the full press release (PDF) Read more...
Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute
Produced by an Oscar-winning studio for the Global Drug Policy Program of the Open Society Institute, International Drug Policy: Animated Report 2009 highlights some of the disastrous effects of drug policy in recent years and proposes solutions for a way forward.Read more...
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment – Professor Manfred Nowak – and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health – Mr Anand Grover – have written to the Chairperson of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) to “offer guidance” regarding human rights issues that have arisen during the UN’s ten-year drug strategy review.Read more...
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to developmentManfred NowakReport of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Human Rights Council A/HRC/10/44
January 14, 2009
The Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment submits his third report to the Human Rights Council. The Special Rapporteur focuses on the compatibility of the death penalty with the prohibition of cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment discusses a human rights-based approach to drug policies.
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The 'Annex' to the United Nations Political Declaration on Drugs
Transnational Institute, November 2008
The review of the objectives and action plans agreed at the 1998 UNGASS on Drugs has reached a critical stage. Following the thematic debate at the 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the five expert working groups held in Vienna over the summer, the attention now moves to the political process of negotiating the text of a political declaration to be agreed at the high level meeting in March 2009.