| Posted on Wed, May, 6th 2015 by THCFinder
As the United Nations prepares for the first comprehensive review of global responses to drug problems in nearly two decades, a broad coalition of more than 100 organizations is pushing for the international body to respect countries that move away from prohibition.
“Existing US and global drug control policies that heavily emphasize criminalization of drug use, possession, production and distribution are inconsistent with international human rights standards and have contributed to serious human rights violations,” the groups write in a new letter being released today.
Groups including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, Global Exchange and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are among the signatories. Also notable are a number of organizations devoted to health policy and AIDS services.
The letter’s release is timed to a United Nations “High-Level Thematic Debate on the World Drug Problem” taking place in New York on Thursday, May 7, in preparation for a UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs (UNGASS) scheduled for April 2016. Advocates believe that countries should take the UNGASS as an opportunity to pursue a range of reforms to global drug policy, including revising provisions of the UN Drug Conventions that threaten to stand in the way of reform. The Obama administration has taken the stance that countries should be free to pursue different kinds of systems under the treaties — including legalization — but has also opposed treaty reform, a stance which advocates have questioned.
“The administration’s call to respect countries’ right to try regulation rather than prohibition is a positive step for drug policy, as are other reforms the US has sought internationally,” said David Borden, executive director of StoptheDrugWar.org, who coordinated the sign-on letter. “But it doesn’t make sense to oppose having a discussion within the UN about modernizing the treaties to reflect that.”
The coalition has called for the UN to appoint a “Committee of Experts” to study treaty reform, a common UN procedure for addressing issues of interest.