UNGASS Special Segment Day 1 – statement by Uruguay

Yesterday, we commemorated International Women’s Day. An inclusive debate around the UNGASS calls for a gender approach and the voice of women.

Uruguay supports what was mentioned at the last CND in favour of an integrated and balanced approach to drug policy. Ever since we joined the CND as a member, we have promoted a useful debate and exchange on the present model for drug policy, otherwise known as the War on Drugs.

Now the time has come for a realistic and critical reappraisal of international drug policy in light of the upcoming UNGASS. We don’t always have the courage to look things in the eye. Dogmatic thought and pseudo-scientific arguments sometimes dominate. The UNGASS, though, present an opportunity to properly moved forward with the debate.

Are human rights complied with when consumption is penalised up to the death penalty? Or, when people are forced into treatment centres?

Could we move closer to dialogue on other forms of drug regulation?

There are many agencies that have a lot to contribute, among them the WHO, the UNDP and the high commissioner for human rights, yet they do not have a strong enough voice.

Uruguay seems to be in the news because of its move toward a regulated marijuana market. In 2006, the country became a leader in terms of its regulatory moves concerning tobacco, and it is now running into problems with the tobacco company Phillip Morris.

[explains elements of the country’s marijuana law, including cannabis clubs, domestic cultivation, and the fact cannabis will be sold through pharmacies].

Regulating markets is a consistent method; it protects public health, and drug trafficking is thereby undermined. We are not in a position to promote this for everyone, but we are defending out sovereign right.

Latin America and the Caribbean will have a new regional debate soon in Panama that is highly significant, not least so because Cuba will be involved.

In 2012, the OAS member states announced their concern with present drug policy in the world.

My delegation would like to say that progress has been achieved in the Americas. Members of the OAS adopted last year a resolution giving recognition to the sharing of different experiences dealing with the world drug problem based on evidence and scientific know how.

As the current president of UNASUR, I can say we are preparing a document that will outline a common position for the region ahead of the UNGASS next year.

In 1998, it was announced at the UNGASS that we would aim for a drug free world. In 2009, we didn’t acknowledge that we hadn’t achieved this, and that in fact consumption had increased.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.