Drug Policy Reform.
The UNGASS 2016, a catalyst for change?
The international community has since more than hundred years tried to implement a system that will limit production and use of narcotic and psychoactive substances to medical and scientific purposes. In three international drug control conventions, administrative controls and penal sanctions have been established to combat illegal production and use of these substances with the purpose to protect “the health and welfare of mankind”
The book refers concisely to important developments of the drug control system since the beginning of the 20th century and the entry into force of the three international drug control conventions after 1961
This drug control system is periodically evaluated. In 2016 a special Session of the General Assembly of the UN reviewed “the achievements and challenges in countering the world drug problem within the framework of the three international drug control conventions”. This special session is the main subject of the publication. The discussions that led to this special session are outlined on the basis of the official texts of UN member states’ evaluations and political decisions and the contribution of civil society organizations to UN meetings.
The author considers the outcome document of the UNGASS 2016, to be a promising sign for the change in orientation of the current drug control system and a shift in drug policy from repression and punishment, to pragmatism and focus on public health and respect for human rights.
Policy makers, practitioners in the field of drugs and interested readers will find in the book valuable insights about trends and possible alternatives for the current drug policy.
You can read the publication here.
NGO “Diogenis Drug Policy Dialogue” co-signed, along with 200 other civil society organizations, a statement calling for urgent measures to put an end to the extrajudicial executions policy of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and to seek justice. The statement was made public on Thursday 9/11 shortly before US President Donald Trump (who repeatedly praised Duterte’s drug war) met for the first time with Duterte during the Asian Nations Summit in the Philippines (ASEAN ) on 12-14 November. The meeting of the two Presidents took place today and, as expected, the issue of human rights and extrajudicial executions was not discussed.
A brand new Briefing Paper, n.7, was just added at the “Publication Series”, under the title “Drug Policy after the UNGASS 2016”, by the director of “Diogenis”, Mr Thanasis Apostolou.
The purpose of this briefing paper is :
a. To inform policy makers, researchers, members of NGOs and institutions working in prevention, treatment and social rehabilitation of drug users and everyone interested in the results of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS), held from 19 to 21, April 2016, in New York (USA)
b. to present views expressed and which are in discussion about the importance of the UNGASS concerning the assessment of the existing policy on drugs and the strategic direction that governments will decide to follow for their drug policy in the future
c. to refer to the discussion at the regional conference organized from 1-3 June 2016 in Thessaloniki which focused on exchanging views on the post-UNGASS policy that can be followed in SEE countries.
You can read the briefing paper, here.
With the aim of “ending AIDS by 2030”, the UN agency for AIDS stresses the need for investment in Harm Reduction programs in order to ensure that people who use intravenous drugs have universal equal access to them. It calls for policies that respect human rights and the needs of injecting drug users (IDUs) and promote prevention, treatment, care and other support services associated with HIV. Similar are the recommendations from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), that also suggested the implementation of similar programs and services as a comprehensive package for vulnerable populations.
The existence of laws and policies that “do not cause harm to people who use drugs and increasing investments in harm reduction programmes and services results in a decrease in new HIV infections and improved health outcomes and delivers broader social benefits” (UNAIDS , 2016). Similarly, laws that provide alternative measures to imprisonment and prosecution for drug use and drug possession for personal use reduce the harmful effects associated with drug use use and do not lead to increased drug use. According to UNAIDS data, worldwide, there are: about 12 cm. People injecting drugs, of which 14% (1.6 mil.) Living with HIV and 50% (6 m.) With virus hepatitis C. also, in 2014 we had 140,000 new infections with the HIV virus in the population of IDUs without any apparent reduction in the annual number of these new infections in the four years from 2010 to 2014.
LONDON (2nd August 2016) – Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.
Until now, however, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) – the UN agencies responsible for global drug control – have failed to condemn the Philippines for these gross human rights violations committed in the name of drug control.
Over 300 non-governmental organisations – NGO Diogenis among them – today sent an open letter to the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and the INCB President, Mr. Werner Sipp, asking them to take immediate action aimed at putting a stop to the extrajudicial killings.