The Case for International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Control

The UN exerts little energy toward ensuring that the domestic drug laws mandated by the treaties are drafted and implemented in a manner that safeguards human rights
Rick Lines, Richard Elliott, Julie Hannah, Rebecca Schleifer, Tenu Avafia & Damon Barrett
Health and Human Rights Journal
March 2017

The international drug control treaties contribute directly to an environment of human rights risk and violations. The drug treaties are what are known within international law as “suppression conventions.” Suppression regimes obligate states to use their domestic laws, including criminal laws, to deter or punish the activities identified within the treaty, and are therefore “important legal mechanisms for the globalization of penal norms.” However, while suppression treaties mandate all states to act domestically and collectively to combat crimes defined as being of international concern, they offer no obligations or guidance on what is and is not an appropriate penal response.