Informal Civil Society Hearing: Summary of Chairs of Each Session on Main Points Raised

Thanasis Apostolou. Harm reduction the most important issue in session.  Money must be provided for HR as well as political recognition.  Interaction between criminal justice and health discussion must take place.  In the other group, people were speaking about community approach, which is a very important issue.  Also issue of availability of essential medicines.  Suggestion of making availability a fourth pillar. Also mention of human rights abuses that happen now.  We are calling for peace and not for war on drugs.

Eduardo Hernandez.  Emphasis on robust NGO participation in UNGASS process.  Discussion on drug courts and differences between US states.  Look at data presented earlier.  When we talk about evidence based scientific approaches have data to support.  How to integrate criminal justice and public health systems with feasibility studies.  Look at large concepts but need to be specific.  What does that really mean? Doctor sitting with judge at drug court?  What does balance mean?  Several speakers spoke about but from different perspectives.  Traditionally harm reduction and demand reduction.  In the past.  Now protection of human rights, protection of people, not criminalizing.  Very important topics came out.  Further discussion needed on this. Importance of clear definitions.  ie Harm reduction.  And integration of criminal justice and health.

Rogers Kasirye.  International drug control accommodates public health based approach.  Many approaches.  Not sure what is working or not.  Need more information and data.  Developing world underrepresented.  What is working where.  Multi-sector approach needs to be taken.  Where do we place children?  Conventions talk about.

Graciela Touze.  Clearest thing was that we need to think of health in a broader sense and that means that thinking how do the international conventions accommodate health based approach and take into account social inequalities, injustice, poverty,rather than just thinking about health and disease.  Issue is not disease but health in this broad sense.  Another thing that was clearly put was flexibility that drug control conventions allow and the idea of that flexibility has been a little hidden and it seems we are now discovering that conventions are flexible and allow a lot of things.  Maybe it is not going to be so easy for MS to recognize that flexibility.  If we are talking about health, we are talking about a human right.  Accommodating to a human rights approach if a health approach.
Michel Perron.  Thematic organization.  thematic approach.  System wide.  Human rights, UNAIDS, development, Children’s rights.  This is the kind of lens we should have.  Health in the broadest sense should be taken up.  Notion of policy coherence.  This should be interpreted and understood.  Greater sense of where is the coherence and the dissonance as it relates to health based approach.  what is success for drug policy>  Not a panacea.  Intentional and informed decisions about acceptable harms.  Matter of tradeoffs.  Speak in those specific terms. need evidence based discussions.  World is not perfect.  Speak about tradeoffs.  Where to apply priorities.  MS have choices.  Can de-escalate war on drugs.  Can de-esclaalte imprisonment and re-escalate healthcare systems.  CS voices hard to ignore.  Bring forward clear evidence based choices that sit within context MS have to work in.  Makes it harder for them to dismiss.  Point on false dichotomies.  A lot of what happens at CND.  With all due respect to MS.  Political very charged environment.  For or against this or that.  Reformer or not.  Lot of innovation happening in the field.  Language still an impediment.  Having clear definitions important.  clarity of what we mean and supported by evidence will be a way forward.  Some of the elements I heard today.  Report being produced right now.  Maria and David will produce a report that will be sent to everyone who signed in.

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