• Human rights and drug control

    Tom Blickman
    Monday, March 10, 2008

    One of the most debated issues at the 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was a resolution entitled “Proper integration of the United Nations human rights system with international drug control policy”. It was introduced by Uruguay with the co-sponsorship of Bolivia, Argentina and Switzerland. The first resolution of its kind at CND, it recognised the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (an event being celebrated throughout the UN system during 2008) and affirmed "that international drug control activities must be conducted in conformity with international human rights law".

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  • Long life to coca leaf!

    Tom Blickman
    Thursday, March 13, 2008

    pijcheoWith a “Causachun coca! (quechua), viva la coca. Long life to coca leaf!” the vice -minister of Foreign Affairs of Bolivia ended his intervention on Monday at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND). Vice-minister Hugo Fernandez protested against the request of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to eliminate the traditional use of coca, such as coca chewing and coca tea. At the same time a vigil to defend the coca leaf took place in La Paz.

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  • A real outrage against our culture

    Tom Blickman
    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Foreign Affairs minister David Choquehuanca announced that Bolivia is going to ask for a rectification of the 2007 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) that called for the abolition of coca chewing and coca tea.

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  • Blessing in disguise?

    Tom Blickman
    Sunday, March 9, 2008

    Yesterday, President Evo Morales of Bolivia sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon rejecting the recommendations of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to "abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea." Morales qualified the attitude of the INCB as colonial and accused the Board members of lacking the necessary scientific background.

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  • Our studies will confirm the certainty of our assertions

    Tom Blickman
    Saturday, March 8, 2008

    coca-chewingRecently, TNI put online the Report of the Commission of Enquiry on the Coca Leaf, that was published in 1950 and provided the rationale for the inclusion of the coca leaf in the 1961 Single Convention. The report is difficult to find nowadays.

    A classic article, "The New Politics of Coca", by Andrew Weil, published in The New Yorker (May l5, 1995) describes how the chairman of the Commission Howard B. Fonda approached the study.

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  • Hearing at the European Parliament

    Friday, March 7, 2008

    Peter Sarosi of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union reports on the hearing at the European Parliament organized by the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE). The event discussed the past 10 years of global drug control policies and aimed “to address all the aspects of the UN Drug Control Strategy and the steps to be taken to ensure that the Member States, the EU and the UN promote a more pragmatic approach on drugs strategies at the national, European and international level.”

    Read the full report

  • UN needs to chew on its drug policy

    Tom Blickman
    Friday, March 7, 2008

    cocaleafIn an article in the National Post from Canada, journalist Steve Edwards mocks the wisdom of the INCBs recent recommendation to 'abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea'.

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  • Peru and Bolivia revolt against the INCB

    Tom Blickman
    Thursday, March 6, 2008

    morales-coca3Cocaleros in Bolivia threathen to occupy the installations of the United Nations in the country as well as those of Coca Cola in El Alto in protest against the decision by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to "abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea," according to the newspaper La Razón.

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  • INCB & Coca

    A colonial attitude unworthy for a UN agency
    Martin Jelsma
    Wednesday, March 5, 2008

    coca-chewing-womanWhen the INCB Annual Report for 2007 – under embargo until March 5 – started to circulate about a month ago, I was in complete shock after reading the worst ever paragraphs on coca written in UN history for several decades. The position taken by the Board now can be characterized by no more talk about the need to solve 'long-standing ambiguities in the conventions', not a shred of sympathy anymore for traditional customs or rights of indigenous peoples, no trace of cultural sensitivity at all, an all-out attack against coca chewing, drinking of coca tea or any other uses of coca in its natural form in the Andean region and the northern parts of Argentina and Chile.

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  • An inspirational proposal from Ecuador

    An impression of our Quito dialogue
    Martin Jelsma
    Monday, March 3, 2008

    On 21-23 February we organised our now seventh ‘informal drug policy dialogue’, this time in collaboration with the Ecuadorian government and with WOLA (Washington Office on Latin America). Government officials were present from seven Latin American countries, in total some 45 persons participated in the meeting. Much of the agenda was focussed on the preparations for the upcoming UNGASS review process in Vienna. One of the most inspiring themes was Ecuador's  proposal to pardon drug couriers.

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