My name is Asmin Fransiska and I am attending this CND session as a participant registered with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. However I am speaking about the work of the Indonesian Coalition for Drug Policy Reform.
This week, Member States including the USA have referred to the need to modernise drug policies, and to ensure that they achieve positive health outcomes. Indeed, the preambles to the UN drug conventions say that their main purpose is to secure the ‘health and welfare of mankind’. We also heard this week from delegates about the flexibility allowed by the UN drug control conventions. Flexibility for member states to adopt a range of measures that are effective and appropriate for the specific needs of their citizens.
This flexibility within the conventions includes the option not to criminalise people who use drugs, and the option to recognise that the priority is to provide individuals with tailored treatment and services. One of those options is diverting people who need drug treatment away from the criminal justice system, and into effective, voluntary, appropriate, and evidence-based treatment. Australia and Portugal are examples of successful systems of diversion.
Diversion away from the criminal justice system can also protect the human rights of people who use drugs by protecting their freedom from torture and right to health. It can also be an effective solution to the overcrowding of prisons, which has increased the vulnerability of people to diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB and Hep-C.
We encourage Member States and civil society to recognise the flexibility of the UN conventions, and their ability to remain relevant to modern-day problems. We can choose not to criminalise people who use drugs. We can choose to meet people at their level of need. Member States and colleagues, I ask you to make that choice.
I thank you.