UNGASS Special Segment Day 1 – statement by State Secretary of Latvia on Behalf of EU

The following countries align themselves with this statement: Turkey, Macedonia, Albania, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Norway, Bosnia Herzegovina [full list of countries incomplete].

We are confident that under the chair’s guidance we will successfully carry out our work in the lead up to the UNGASS.

We played an active part in the midterm review last year and will continue to provide contributions this year guided by principles of human rights, maintaining a balanced and evidence-based approach, as well as ensuring an active role for civil society.

The three drug conventions provide the cornerstone.

Since 2009, progress has been made but the world drug problem has not been solved; too many lose their lives, too many suffer the consequences of misuse and drug trafficking.

The UNGASS should be an open debate that takes into consideration different regional realities, the UN drug conventions, international law, political and UN documents on HIV/AIDS, and the human rights convention.

The approach to drugs approach should be human rights-centred and flexible. An essential principle for the EU is human rights and equality. The EU is opposed to any measures that don’t respect the human being, and is opposed to the death penalty for drug offences, and we are calling upon states that maintain this to impose a moratorium and eventually abolish it.

The EU drugs strategy respects the drug conventions, the UN conventions on human rights and the 2009 UN declaration, the joint ministerial statement of 2014 and the UN declaration on HIV/AIDS.

In order to avoid drug interventions having a limited impact, we should consolidate the evidence base of our policies. We consider that for demand reduction policies to be effective they should include prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation, recovery and social reintegration.

The EU strategy seeks to educate people on the risks associated with drug use.

We support risk and harm reduction in the context of an integrated healthcare approach. In Europe risk and harm reduction interventions have been successful in combating the spread of HIV, and other blood-borne viruses. Harm reduction principles are accepted by all 28 members of the EU. We hope other countries around the world acknowledge the success of harm reduction policies.

There is a need to increase and develop evidence gathering and sharing with regard to harm reduction services around the world.

We reaffirm the need to contribute to tackling drug trafficking and preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals. Also, the approach should tackle money laundering to properly confront organised crime and drug trafficking organisations.

Stronger inter-regional exchange of information and international cooperation is necessary to facilitate the confiscation of proceeds from organised crime and money laundering activities.

It is a priority to implement alternative crop programs for people engaged in the cultivation of illicit drugs. Development agencies — both multilateral and bilateral — should be engaged in developing and implementing these programs.

We are concerned with trends such as the spread of NPS. We are ready to tackle the spread of these across the world as they pose a serious threat to public health. Sharing information internationally is essential to combating this phenomenon.

The EU promotes the active engagement of civil society and health organisations around drug policy. We underline the important role of civil society and the scientific community in providing information to policy makers.

The EU is also a supporter of UNODC drug programs in terms of demand and supply production. We support criminal justice reform, anti-corruption, maritime security and alternative development initiatives undertaken through the UNODC.

The EU has submitted two resolutions for this week; L5 and L6. We would be grateful for the support of member states for these draft resolutions.

The EU is fully committed to taking part in the lead up to UNGASS and its preparations.

Please click here to read the full statement.

On the preparations for the UNGASS 

Turkey, Macedonia, Montenegro, Iceland, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Norway, and Andorra align themselves with this statement [full list of countries incomplete].

UNGASS 2016 will be a prominent platform for the international community to take stock of the successes to date of efforts to tackle the world drug problem. It provides an opportunity to find sustainable solutions to the issue.

UNGASS should not be a replica of the 2009 declaration, or the 2014 joint-ministerial statement. We should seize the 2016 opportunity to identify problems that remain and identify solutions.

We emphasise the need for involvement of all relevant UN agencies, including those working in human rights and alternative development. All UN agencies are urged to engage.We also welcome NGO involvement in all debates.

We support the proposal for a three day special session to work toward the effective implementation of the 2009 declaration.

Any document of the CND regarding the UNGASS 2016 should provide a stepping stone for the 2019 target date and beyond.

The EU believes the outcome document of UNGASS should include:

  1. Affirmation that he UN conventions on drugs, and the UN declaration on human rights should be the cornerstones to all world drug problems.
  2. The key objectives of the international drug control system is to promote public health, combat stigmatisation, ensure social reintegration and work toward combating addiction as a health issue.
  3. Effective drug strategies should incorporate both demand and supply reduction.
  4. The new challenges such as NPS, use of money laundering in drug trafficking and diversion of precursors must be addressed under the international drug policy framework.

Civil society can be valuable contributors. Therefore, their meaningful participation should be promoted and encouraged. There is a need for full implementation related to the protection of all human rights, including the right to life and the inherent dignity of all individuals in relation to drug policy.

And absolute priority is for the abolition of the death penalty for drug offences, as well as other practices that contravene the principles of human rights.

There is a need to ensure access to essential medicines and look at possible obstacles to this contained within the three drug conventions.

Drug demand reduction should be based on evidence-based programs, such as prevention, social reintegration, harm reduction, recovery, human rights. We must ensure easy access to harm reduction services and a continuity of care.

Facilitating access to research is vital to ensuring that well informed decisions are taken with regard to people working in the drugs field to provide them with evidence-based information for interventions in drug treatment.

The strengthening of international cooperation to counter organised crime and drug trafficking should be promoted through intelligence sharing, strengthening the capacity of law enforcement agencies, working with international partners, the proper implementation of law enforcement and judicial mechanisms, and promoting closer cooperation between law enforcement bodies. Additionally, multidisciplinary training, and the technical capacity building of judges and prosecutors should be improved.

Alternative development measures should be promoted as long term approaches to tackling illicit crop cultivation. Alternative development is successful and sustainable if carried out properly. Development organisations, banks and UN agencies should coordinate to ensure this is carried out successfully.

Please click here to read the full statement.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.