Day 2 begins – Statement of the Kyrgyz Republic at the HLM

This is the official written text of the Kygyz Republic.

‘I am delighted to address you from this esteemed podium, and in the name of the Republic of Kyrgyzstan, present you a short summary of the narcotics situation in our country, our national anti-drugs policies, and steps we have taken to prevent drug use and promote harm reduction.

Narcotic substances have been used in Central Asia for a long time. During the Soviet period, Kyrgyzstan had one of the world’s highest levels of industrial opium production. There are also large areas where cannabis and ephedra grow in the wild.

Due to the opening of borders when the Soviet Union fell, and the Afghan Civil War and increased drug production of Afghanistan, the Kyrgyz Republic became one of the main transit routes for the trafficking of Afghan opium and heroin to the CIS countries and Europe.

The situation is exacerbated by the growing domestic production of opium at illegal poppy plots as well as hashish and marijuana production from cannabis plants. There has been a transformation of the drugs business, and it has merged with other forms of organised crime.

The negative changes which have occurred with the drugs situation both regionally and globally demand that the government develops an effective policy to counter the problem. This is further underlined by the other serious threats that go together with increased drug use, such as the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the spread of other dangerous infections.

We understand very well that no country can deal with these threats on its own. This is why our state has decided on integration into the global system of countering the illegal drugs trade.

The republic is working to improve international and regional anti-drugs cooperation. Relevant agreements have been signed that establish mechanisms of cooperation in countering the threat from drugs.

At the national level, the government has developed and approved a Conception to Counter the Spread of Drug Use and the Illegal Drugs Trade, as well as three nationwide programmes to counter drug use and trade. The first started in 1997, and the latest programme will run until 2010.

Currently, in addition to the steps taken to lessen the availability and trade of illegal drugs, there are also active measures being taken to reduce demand.

Special attention should be paid to work carried out in the prison system and with former inmates. Since 2002, work has been carried out in the country’s penal institutions to treat drug dependence, and to provide injecting drug users with the whole range of necessary legal, social, medical and diagnostic services, and also to help them reintegrate into society. There are also syringe exchange and substitution therapy programmes being implemented.

I would also like to draw your attention to the national initiatives aimed at countering the threat from HIV/AIDS that comes from the increasing drugs problem. These initiatives are implemented on the basis of the national strategic plan, and in accordance with the declaration of the special session of the UN on HIV/AIDS.

The state is taking the path of humanising the legal and administrative framework around drug use and removing unnecessarily retributive tendencies. Changes and additions have been made to the country’s legal framework.

I would also like to touch on the strategy of “harm reduction”. At the current time, this is one of the highest priority strategies in the fight against drug use and trade in Kyrgyzstan, and is also a fundamental part of the state’s policy of preventing HIV among injecting drug users (IDUs).

In Kyrgyzstan we understand that it is impossible to talk about harm reduction if drug-dependent people are subjected to stigmatisation and discrimination. We are working hard to make sure that people who use drugs have access to social, legal and medical services, as well as substitution therapy.

In conclusion, we can say that although the market for illegal drugs in the country continues to grow, the government is taking active measures at local, regional and international levels aimed at checking the flow of narcotics from producers to final users.

Given the following factors:

The positive experience of the Kyrgyz Republic in the area of reducing the supply and demand for illegal narcotics;

The destabilising role played by drugs production in Afghanistan, and the far-reaching negative consequences associated with this for human health;

The unsatisfactory nature of the poor progress made in the fight against the production of drugs in Afghanistan;

The negative medical, social and economic consequences of drug use, including the spread of HIV/AIDS;

The need to safeguard human rights and have a humane attitude towards people who are suffering from dependence and need treatment:

We call on the international community to develop and implement at the highest level a package of anti-crisis measures to tackle both the supply and demand of illegal drugs, paying special attention to countries with low income levels among the population, though which drugs are trafficked;

We call on the countries through which international drugs traffic passes to take greater responsibility for the demand of illegal drugs;

We call on governments to pay special attention to reducing the demand for illegal drugs, to ensure access to drug prevention schemes, harm reduction programmes, and drug dependence treatment, including substitution therapy, as important conditions of preserving the health of the population and countering the threats from drugs;

We call on governments to increase spending on countering drug flow and use and minimising the negative consequences, however hard this may be in the context of the global financial crisis.

To all the participants of this Session, I would like to assure you that the government of our country is open for cooperation with the international community on the whole range of issues concerning both the main substance of this session and also as regards human rights and democracy. Kyrgyzstan expresses great thanks and appreciation to all the international organisations that offer help and support in creating and strengthening contemporary approaches to ensuring a dignified quality of life for the people of our country, including the UN and the UNODC.

We are certain that our joint efforts and practical work together will ensure a full and adequate response to the threats that we face.

Thank you for your attention.’

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