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UNGASS special segment, fifth meeting

Argentina: Good morning. Thanks the board, chairman. Argentina starts a new period in its history and the issue of the drugs is one of the key issues, for us, this work is fundamental. Argentina is taking a new approach; drugs are apart of our reality. Everything that has been decided will be reviewed. Provincial authorities, national authorities have changed. It is a varied an intensive pattern that we have created to tackle this. We work with provincial authorities, city authorities local communities based on this new approach to address the problem in all its multi-faceted aspects. This new approach is based on the subject, the human being. It involves the respect for human rights, public health – social reintegration of addicts. The first issue is getting the right kind of information. Must be analyzed on a scientific basis. We cannot peruse the right kind of public policy without the right kind of information. We have set up a monitoring center of an observatory as I call it. This is an important regional effort; we work with Paraguay, Uruguay. It is something that must be addressed in the regional context. Frank, candid dialogue is key. Everyone needs to be involved. Gender and proportionality in this issue are cornerstones of policy decisions. The new public policy encompasses all sectors, all parts of the country and all social strata. The federal authorities work with social groups NGOs, focusing on providing social services. This is something that we are bringing to the community, working jointly with the private sector and public sector to ensure that the right services are delivered. We also certify these service providers. This is a new strategy with a very important humanitarian dimension. All the new strategies are welcome. It is a matter of national security. We want to protect all sect of our society, but first of all the most vulnerable. In this context, all cooperation is extremely important to us. But the focus has been on our population and our immediate neighbours. International cooperation is essential. Our president has come out with important initiatives where Argentina has been reasserting itself where its participation has languished in past years. Our diversity is apart of that identity. All cultural diversity must be respected and taken into account. The secretariat for the prevention of addiction and trafficking is acquiring a new prominence. Would benefit from international cooperation. Important to share the info our parliament is currently debating many news issues, including alcohol and drug addiction issues. We are also working on issues pertaining to money laundering and trafficking. All of these measures that I briefly referred too, want to let you know that we are working hard on a whole array of measures – we are committed to international cooperation, human rights, public health, we will not stop.

Plenary M during proceedings, from the Press Office

Hungary: Fully align with the EU statement. UNGASS an important opportunity to take stock of the world drug problem on the road to 2019. We believe the following should be included in the outcome document: central role of drug conventions, notion of risk and harm reduction, recovery orientation and public health approach, abolishment of the death penalty, and linking to the process of SDGs. Global thinking on this topic differs. The drug problem continues to be treated with a law enforcement approach in many countries, while others prioritize treatment, harm reduction, and even decriminalization. Use of NPS and abuse of prescription drugs rising. Hungary among the first member states to include regulation on NPS. Welcome separate section on NPS in outcome document. Pose a substantial threat to public health. Quick emergence and rising consumption is a complex challenge. Majority of seized substances being NPS already in 2013. In order to allow an effective and swift response to NPS, Hungary system is based on generic formula of substances, while also specifics. Committed to strengthen three UN conventions. Enhancing public health by applying a balanced approach. Support the 2016 UNGASS process. Looking to find consensus among UN member states.

Switzerland: Switzerland has committed itself to the preparatory work for UNGASS that has taken place over the past couple of years. We look forward to this excellent opportunity to review current strategies and to discuss new trends that are required by the reality of the world drug problem. These trends have been learned from the failure of other policies, which has been recognised by many countries here, and experience with new, innovative policies. We need an open debate on the world drug problem, but also on the various policies and measures needed to rise to this challenge. We would like to highlight a number of elements that we believe to be important. In the year 2016, there must be human rights and health dimensions to drug policies. Violations that continue to exist are unacceptable. We think, in particular, of the violation of the right to life. We categorically oppose torture and the use of the death penalty. We call for a moratorium on it for drug offences. Proportionality is a key principle. People should be supported, not put to death. The right to health needs to be upheld – this right implies that anybody should have access to healthcare. We cannot tolerate millions of people suffering with no prospect of relief. Palliative care must be made available. Alongside prevention and treatment, harm reduction is a key pillar in the response to drugs. Countries with harm reduction measures have achieved a sustainable reduction in the health harms caused by drugs. UN bodies should be involved in all deliberations on drug policy – WHO, UNAIDS, etc. are all concerned with this issue and should make a contribution. In accordance with this inclusive approach, Switzerland has organised several high-level events that seek to underscore the importance of a human-centred approach to drugs. Negotiations on the UNGASS outcome document are reaching their most intense phase. A number of important elements are still not stated with sufficient clarity in the document – in particular the right to health, harm reduction and opposition to the death penalty. We need to move forward on more than a minimal consensus basis. We need policies that don’t just reduce supply and demand, but also improve public health.

Yemen: Drugs are harmful in the social and health sphere, the world drug problem has always been a strong area of concern. The international community must strengthen its cooperation, cultivation production; distribution must be tackled with a shared approach. We believe that the hosting of the forthcoming UNGASS will be a great opportunity for us to exchange expertise and experience and it must be done within the framework of the conventions. The seriousness of the drug problem that we have in Yemen is to do with the geography of the country; we have an extremely long coastline, which makes use vulnerable to trafficking. The fight against drugs is necessary. There are clear links between drugs, crime and sustainable development. Yemen has always been keen to improving our legislative framework for dealing with this problem. We are bolstering our special forces and authorities and our health ministry. We would like to reiterate our desire to continue.

Moldova: UNGASS represents a unique opportunity to reaffirm our determination to tackle the drug problem and vigorously promote a society free of drug abuse where people can live in health, dignity, and prosperity. Significant progress made in implementation of the political declaration and plan of action. Cannot be satisfied with these achievements. UNGASS is crucial to determining our future approach within the framework of the three international drug control conventions and other relevant international instruments. Should take into consideration the full respect for human rights, a balanced approach, and the active role of civil society. Respect for human rights and rule of law is of paramount importance. Opposed to use of any measures that may affect human rights. Undertaken comprehensive studies on the nature of the drug problem in our country to adjust treatment facilities and make available a system of rehabilitation for all drug users. Promote use of substances for medical treatment in line with recommendations of WHO and INCB, including those contained in the board report on availability of internationally controlled drugs to ensure adequate access for medical and scientific purposes. Strengthen awareness raising efforts in regards to treatment, referral services, and stigma attached to HIV/AIDS positive people. Make efforts to provide drug abuse treatment, rehabilitation, and referral services for people who inject drugs, and expand testing for HIV/AIDS. Underline efforts to effectively coordinate all drug control activities at the national level and play an active role at the international and regional levels. Strengthen and expand law enforcement capacity to prevent trafficking. Committed to reinforcing international cooperation and combatting international crime, including money laundering and other crimes.

Kazakhstan: Today is a great opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to the 2009 Political Declaration. We are doing our utmost to reduce the supply and demand of drugs. It is a priority for our government. A number of programmes have been implemented. These involve all interested state bodies and NGOs. Targeted prevention measures have been established in the school system. We’ve developed special software to detect possible risks at an early age. The measures put in place have led to a decrease in the number of addicts in recent years. Rehabilitation centres have played a key role, also facilitating the social reintegration of addicts. Central Asian countries located in key transit areas face a serious situation. Even though we’ve observed changes in transit routes – with a particular emphasis on the Balkan route – Kazakhstan still feels the negative impact of drug trafficking. It is therefore important to continue coordination throughout the region. The emergence of new synthetic drugs is alarming. We are actively considering legislation to deal with the trafficking of these substances. We also pay particular attention to the legal circulation of drugs, minimising opportunities for corruption. We have no doubt that the proposals made here, on the need for a new approach – in particular the idea that punishment must be proportionate to the crime – are a timely intervention.

Angola: the Angola delegation aligns itself with the position delivered by the chairman of the African group (AU). The Angolan government recognizes that the use of psychoactive substance is an impediment to drug users and damages life opportunities. National treaties should not limit national policy responses. Consider human rights and public health. We must promote social integration. We are committed to fulfilling the 2009 political declaration and plan of action. In this case we believe that the only way to share tackle this global phenomenon it to share points of view. The world drug response has been ineffective at stemming drug production. Drug users are used as scapegoats for a number of social problems. Drugs create negative impacts, restrict benefits and social reintegration. Our system is not strong enough to meet the needs of population and must be strengthened. Would like to reinstate our support as apart of the international community to fight the drug issue.

UNDP: The relationship between drug control and development is complex and multidimensional. Some aspects of drug phenomenon, but mainly the policies in response, have a strong effect on development. Yet development and drug policy have acted in isolation from each other. Development has not recognized drug related issues or impacts of drug policies, even in places where they are very relevant. Scale of the illicit economy of drugs leaves no element of development untouched. Border between illicit and licit blurred. Some specific development policies, or their absence, can increase vulnerability to drug production, trafficking and consumption. Illicit economies a means for survival without many formal and legal options to be socially and economically included. Drug control policies have survived for more than 50 years without much modification. Strong focus on prohibition and abstinence in chasing a drug free world. Social inclusion of those who have problems using drugs or those linked to production or trafficking is not dominant. Still thought of as a matter of personal choice, rather than a result of a lack of social and economic opportunities. Leads to exclusion of these communities without consideration for the cost on development. Policies left an undeniable imprint on development, democratic governance, environment. Promoted a criminal market, and fueled violence, corruption, and instability. Implementation of drug policy caused more harm on human development than what they were meant to reduce. Limitation of international drug control policies have impacted the poor and vulnerable disproportionately. Most people linked to drugs as producers or sellers do not profit significantly from their activities. For these people, participation in these activities is an alternative survival economy. Lack of investment in quality and affordable treatment deteriorates health of PWUD. Due to lack of treatment, poor people are more at risk of losing property, being criminalized, unemployed, and victims of violence and discrimination. Social marginalization can be a determinant element for problem drug use. When we look at communities most affected by drug policies, this overlaps with communities most excluded for social development, such as children, rural, indigenous. Cost of development has been greater in drug trafficking and transit countries. Limited access to justice, lack of access to basic services, natural resources, land tenure, high informality in economy, violence and insecurity, discriminatory cultures, regressive tax system. Concept of human development represents a landmark in how we understand development, as true wealth of nations are their people. Drug policies impede ability to reach SDGs. 13 of 17 relevant to drug policy. 2030 agenda needs to become a fundamental reference. This approach relates directly to the main pillars of the UN. Grounded in principles of policy coherence. Need to engage in profound assessment of drug control policies on human development aspects. SDGs a powerful reference to evaluate present impact of existing policies. Opportunity for engagement of development actors and communities for new and effective solutions. So far improvements for development results not being considered. Huge blind spots. Drug control affects a wide range of health, human rights, and development outcomes. Consider human development metrics of success. Finally, need to put 2030 agenda within a framework of policy coherence. Drug policy should facilitate and promote sustainable and inclusive development for all, leaving no one behind.

League of Arab States: Since 1950, we have recognised the need to confront the scourge of drugs. We have established the Arab Bureau for Narcotics Affairs, helping to combat drug crimes. On the legislative level, the Arab countries have adopted a strategy to combat the illicit use of narcotic drugs. The LAS has lent its support to member states, helping them to set up national databases to help them assess the magnitude of the drug problem and establish appropriate services. They have set up treatment centres that provide social support. We are preparing an Arab seminar on psychological health and drug addiction. It will be attended by the WHO, UNODC, UNAIDS, and civil society organisations. In the context of UNGASS preparations, the LAS wishes to reaffirm the following points: the need to enhance regional, subregional and international efforts to address the world drug problem on the basis of the three world drug conventions and the 2009 Political Declaration and the joint ministerial statement of 2014, as well as human rights instruments. We stress the role of the UNODC as key. It is important to highlight also the principle of non-interference in states’ internal affairs. It is important to encourage regional initiatives and programmes to bolster the capacity of Arab states in fighting the scourge of drugs. We need to strike a balance between demand and supply reduction. Need to highlight links between drugs, terror and crime. It is also is important to respond to new challenges – new substances and organisations using the internet. We need to elaborate alternative development programmes, within national and regional strategies, so as to combat illicit drug cultivation.

Council of Europe: The Pompidou group holds up core values of council of Europe – human rights, democracy and rule of law. The Pompidou group expects the UNGASS to recognize these values in the outcome document. We recall and emphasize that supply reduction and demand reduction strategies cannot alone solve the world drug problem. We hope the outcome document will constitute a balanced approach. The relative authorities need to produce effective and continuing evaluation. The concept of a balanced approach must go beyond arbitrary comparison. Drug policies require dynamic and multi-faceted responses. Must enhance health and well being of human kind. PWUDs should enjoy human rights under the existing human rights conventions. The application of the death penalty for drug related offences is not in line with human rights. This must be abolished and reflected in outcome document. Torture is neither allowed, and this must also be stated. PWUDs have a right to access to healthcare for their drug addiction. They must have social reintegration and access to harm reduction and treatment, including those that are in prison. We must have a balanced and coordinated approach to fight this problem.

Malta: Youth are our most valuable asset. Investing in them is investing in a sustainable future. Support the UNODC Youth Initiative. Health oriented approach adopted by UNODC. Pledging full support and active participation in addressing the problem from a humanitarian perspective.

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, South Africa, on behalf of the African Union: Your Excellency, Chairperson of the 59th Session of the CND, Your Excellency, Ambassador Shamaa, Chairperson of the UNGASS Board, Distinguished delegates Ladies and gentlemen. All Protocols Observed.

We wish to commend you, Chairperson, on the manner you are conducting I am representing the African Union as elected Chairperson of the Bureau of the First AU Specialised Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control, and former Chairperson of the 6th AU Conference of Ministers in Charge of Drug Control.

Chairperson, I can assure you that the policy organs of the AU have not only been active, but indeed proactive and forward looking in the area of drug control over the past 4 years, promoting a balanced and integrated approach to drug control. In 2012 the Conference of Ministers adopted the AU Plan of Action on Drug Control for the period 2013 to 2017, based on the 2009 UN Political Declaration and Plan of Action. The Ministers also adopted the African Common Position on Controlled Substances and Access to Pain Management Drugs, and both instruments were endorsed by the AU Executive Council in January 2013 and the heads of state in January respectively.

In accordance with its Plan of Action on Drug Control, which is due for review next year, the African Union emphasises evidence-based responses to drug control to its Member States in order to curb the health and social consequences that drugs cause. Respect for human rights in dealing with the issue of drugs, has been the departure point for the Ministers in Charge of Drug Control as well. For that reason, drug control is clustered alongside health and population matters in the AU Specialised Technical Committee, which also resonates with the African Union’s theme for this year, namely: 2016 the Year of Human Rights with particular reference to the rights of women.

Hence, in the Common African Position for the UNGASS, adopted by the STC Ministers of Health, Population and Drug Control in April 2015, the health approach to drug control is mentioned in six (6) of the ten (10) operative paragraphs. This Common Position reflects the AU Plan of Action, for instance its Output 2.4 in its Implementation Matrix, which requests Member States to have available, “Comprehensive, accessible, evidence-informed, ethical and human rights based drug use prevention, dependence treatment and after care services”;

Finally, I wish to underline the usefulness of a regional approach. In the case of the African Union, you can imagine that 54 countries are at different stages of developing their national drug strategies and legislation. You will also appreciate that Member States think differently about drugs. The advantage of the AU meetings is that the different approaches can be openly discussed. One Member State cannot prescribe to all the others. Most importantly, is that Member States wish to be seen to follow democratic approaches, to include those affected in decisions that concern them. I can attest to that strongly when it comes to the AU policy instruments on disability, for instance. In this regard, I would strongly support an approach where drug users form their own network to discuss their problems, that they have focal points in police stations and at hospitals with whom they can interact on their concerns and very importantly, that religious and traditional leaders be trained alongside criminal justice system professionals on among others, harm reduction approaches.

Your Excellencies, in conclusion then, the African Union wishes to see that the UNGASS Outcome Document contains a balanced and integrated approach to drug control pertaining to the roles of the criminal justice and health care systems; that human rights and the health approach be emphasised; that drug control approaches be harmonised and strengthened in different regions; and that the UNGASS have provisions that our people no longer need to die in pain or fear or helplessness.

In Conclusion, Member States should show their commitment by resourcing, establishing institutional, operational and legislative infrastructure, which will enable the implementation of a healthy, social, human rights and secure world. I thank you.

Red Cross International: We are glad to see increase in understanding that this is a public health issue in run up to UNGASS. PWUDs are some of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups in the world, yet they face punishment. We should offer a caring hand to PWUDs. This is not impossible if there is sufficient political will. During the 59th session of CND, we call for effective measure to promote social inclusion. With our large network of volunteers and global reach we are ready to intensify government operations and provide support.

VNGOC: I would like to thank you for the support you have shown. Those who were at CSTF briefing would have heard this already but let me reiterate. In these past weeks, most have you have been involved in debate. During this week, you will see more and more arguments being made. Share a quote from a poem by Mary Larthy, remember the lessons of humanity talked to you by your elders… we will be known forever by the tracks we leave. “ Promote the health and wellbeing of all human kind. Thing of incarcerated drug users, those living with disease children of PWUDs, farmers who can only make a living from growing illicit crops. Many are affected in various way and we must walk in there shoes. There is a common and shared responsibility. The CTSF and other events have honored this obligation. Working together can be challenging when strong views are held. Keep and open mind and actively engage. This makes us likely to ensure optimum results. We can create a good result. Much concern has also been voiced about the ongoing use of the death penalty for drug related offenses. We need adequate harm reduction services; civil society has a huge role to play in this. Working directly on the ground. The need for appropriate funding for evidence-based initiatives must not be overlooked; Services must be widely available to affected populations. Recent decriminalization and regulation trends have been undertaken within the conventions. Civil society advocates that countries should be able to pick and choose according to their contexts and cultural priorities.

Active, Sobriety, Friendship, and Peace: Need to have higher visions. Strongly support the conventions to be the cornerstone of the international drug control system. Neither the legalization of cannabis or the militarization of drug policies are in line with the conventions. All these matters should be addressed at UNGASS. Development of legalization of cannabis violates the conventions. Use of cannabis for medical purposes should be done based on scientific review. Reiterate commitment to conventions. Remind state parties about the consequences that this current trend of legalizing drugs will have. How can we expect less developed countries to have the resources? Will not be able to regulate the marketing or collect taxes from the drug trade. Prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery are the way forward. We should not welcome with open arms a new industry, like Big Tobacco. We need to prevent drug use, not promote it. Youth survey from the CSTF. Protecting social factors, such as empowerment, proven to prevent drug use among young people. CSTF consultation on prevention. Consulted over 100 organizations. Prevention must be prioritized to solve the world drug problem. Prevention needs to be discussed more. Move beyond words and implement the best practices at the local level. Use of illicit drugs is a health problem and should be prevented. It is cost effective. Know the local conditions. Need to know local preconditions and do prevention activities based on best practices. Working to improve the capacity of parents. Involve youth in planning and implementation. They have important information and input on how to reach them and how the message should be formulated. Need for increasing cooperation and coordination between actors and sectors. Enable better use of existing resources. Best practices should include knowledge on local conditions, however, in many cases data is lacking. Challenge in organization planning. Need for data on the use of drugs and initiation of drug use, especially in global south. Influence of media and culture as normalizing drug use. Special needs of children growing up in marginalized areas, affected by poverty and social inclusion. Sense of neglect from organizations active in these areas. How to better support children growing up in slums with high rates of addition among adults? Close gap between need and availability of treatment. Global drug policy needs to be implemented. Policy will not make a difference without resources and plan for implementation. Will this be a diplomatic and academic exercise, or lead to real improvements for people? Write the outcome document specific enough so we can push you to take action. 

EURAD: My task was to engage recovery-oriented NGOs, as well as others around the world, to find proposals to refine drug policy, and help with recovery. Approximately 150 organisations participated in the consultation. These are our findings. These are the voices of people who have had drug problems. Successful treatment programmes exist. Recovery is an achievable and worthwhile goal. It has a long-term effect on users and families. Reducing stigma can help facilitate successful reintegration and improve treatment outcomes. Investing in recovery leads to a positive net gain in the long run. It focuses on people’s strengths, not their weaknesses. There are many stories of successful recovery without relapse. Drug use is a recoverable condition. The removal of addiction without action to address underlying problems can make the person more vulnerable. Need to match best recovery models with best treatment models. Harm reduction services fail to address the bulk of drug-related harm, but they are nonetheless essential. OST, for example, without additional support, is not as effective. Harm reduction can lead to recovery and recovery is ultimately the final goal. The NGOs consulted were adamant that we must reject trends towards cannabis legalisation. Any programme that legalises drugs is harmful to the public interest. It is notable that people with drug use problems do not recommend legalisation – they know the harms caused to users and their families. Recovered users urge the need to recognise that abstinence is best. A study from Scotland showed that 76% of those questioned identified becoming drug-free as their primary goal of seeking treatment services. The 2010 UK drug strategy has put recovery at the heart of drug policy, rather than just harm reduction. Users have the potential to help their peers. Strategies must integrate harm reduction, treatment and prevention. We are pleased that the latest outcome document recognises addiction is a multifactoral disorder. We are pleased that latest document highlights the role of recovered users to reduce stigma and help others. In the end, we all need to strive for a recovery-oriented system of care. Recovery must be the ultimate goal. It is possible to recover – I started using drugs when I was 14. Without people to motivate me, or without treatment centres, I would not be here. Methadone treatment was not helpful – I just abused it. I needed abstinence. I only began a life worth living when I was fully abstinent.

IDPC: I am making this this statement on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium and on behalf of a further 194 civil society organisations and networks that signed a civil society statement released this week on the UNGASS process.

Before starting, I would like to clarify this statement is not produced by, nor endorsed by the Civil Society Task Force for the UNGASS. We very much support the important work of the Task Force and our collective mission is to ensure a comprehensive, structured, meaningful and balanced participation of civil society during the preparatory process for the UNGASS. We understand that it is not what divides us, but what brings us together – the genuine concern for the health and welfare of humankind – that matters. As such, as a member of the Civil Society Task Force for the UNGASS, IDPC will continue engaging in an open, respectful and constructive manner in the dialogue on addressing the world drug problem.

As we heard from many member states the UNGASS is a critical opportunity for an honest assessment of what is, and what is not, working in global drug control. Towards this end we would like to express our serious concern regarding the preparations so for and also on the draft Outcome Document.

To date the UNGASS process has failed to recognise the lack of progress achieved by international drug control and to acknowledge the damage caused in terms of human rights violations, health harms, violence, corruption and billions of dollars of public money wasted on drug policies that have not worked to reduce the size of the illicit drug market. The UN Secretary General called on member states to have the broadest debate possible and consider “all options”. It is therefore not acceptable to simply reaffirm the current approach and to claim that “tangible and measurable progress” has been achieved, while there is no explanation of what progress this refers to.

If the UNGASS outcome does not engage in meaningful critique, new ideas or language, it is at risk of becoming an expensive restatement of previous agreements that does not sufficiently move the debate forward or reflect the changing realities on the ground. This would represent a major failing for the General Assembly – and serious disappointment for the member states, UN agencies, civil society, and public who have demanded so much more.

If the global drug problem requires a global response with international cooperation, it is crucial that the solutions are found with in as an inclusive way as possible. But in terms of the preparatory process for UNGASS, many member states particularly from the global south have been largely unable to participate in the negotiations because they do not have permanent representation in Vienna. The negotiations have mostly taken place in closed informal meetings – which also excludes civil society observers, and contributes to the lack of transparency.

In terms of the draft outcome document, at present there are still very few ‘action-oriented’ operational recommendations to address the countless challenges that remain.. Member states should consider forward-looking proposals that will support a meaningful and progressive debate in the lead up to the next big moment in international drug control in 2019 – when the current Political Declaration and Action Plan comes to an end.

The current draft is also not a balanced reflection of the formal UNGASS submissions made by UN agencies, the Civil Society Task Force and NGOs, member states and regional groups. Many of these submissions explicitly call for ending the criminalisation of people who use drugs, and for the abolition of the death penalty, but these points are not yet included. In addition, the draft is not consistent with the priorities identified in the Sustainable Development Goals, such as tackling poverty, gender inequality, violence and environmental degradation.

Finally, despite explicit acknowledgement of the term “harm reduction” by the General Assembly, there is no acknowledgement of the need for a harm reduction response to drug use in the current draft.. This is despite the fact that multiple countries have called for explicit recognition of harm reduction.

To conclude, we call on member states to take account of the shifting realities on the ground and be forward looking in their deliberations. The UNGASS is a unique opportunity to take a stand and demonstrate leadership for drug policy reform towards the wider objectives of the UN system – human rights, public health, peace and development.

Kethea: The organisation has held ECOSOC status since 2001, I always ask on behalf of the world federation of therapeutic communities and EU community of “”. We promote social and psychological change. The therapeutic community focus on the realisation of the individual. It required the expertise of many disciplines. Voluntary participation and informed consent are the main requirements. Services based on evidence based research. The work must be carried out carefully and diligently and ensure quantity and quality of treatments. It must play a further role in addiction treatment.

Eurasian Harm Reduction Network: The UNGASS outcome document should be based on health and human rights. Criminalisation is not an appropriate response to the use of drugs. The death penalty for drug offences should be abolished. The outcome document should call for meaningful involvement on the part of civil society in formulating services. The current version of the outcome document does not reflect these issues. We think this is because of the lack of civil society involvement. We are concerned by the absence of proactive steps from European and Asian states to engage civil society in the UNGASS process. We are unaware of member states initiating discussions with civil society as part of the UNGASS preparation process. Our calls for a public health-based drug policy approach were not heeded. There is an imbalance between demand and supply reduction. There should not be a focus on criminalising people who used drugs. Harm reduction services and social reintegration services are essential. We request that the UN bodies provide technical support, with a view to establishing effective rehabilitation programmes. We believe that OST and rehabilitation programmes in prisons, and timely provision of housing and employment services would pave the way to reintegration. Lithuania is the only country in Europe where OST is not available in prisons. Naloxone provision and other overdose prevention programmes are also essential.

Penal Reform International: Thank you Mr. President.

This statement is presented on behalf of three members of the Civil Society Task Force – Harm Reduction International, IDPC and Penal Reform International, as well as Amnesty International and Reprieve.

We welcome the opportunity to address the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the special segment in preparation for the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs.

Our organizations note with concern that crucial references to human rights are still absent from the current draft of the UNGASS Outcome Document, while certain recommendations fall below international human rights law and standards.

The Special Session on drugs presents a unique opportunity for States to reaffirm their commitment to the protection of human dignity and ensure that human rights violations committed in the name of drug control are halted.

We particularly regret that the prohibition of the death penalty for drug-related offences has so far been excluded from the draft Outcome Document despite continuous calls from several States, UN agencies and civil society organizations.

Hundreds of executions are carried out each year for drug-related offences, despite the fact that such offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” to which the use of the death penalty must be restricted in accordance with international law and standards. Amnesty International recorded death sentences and executions for drug-related offences in 11 countries in 2014 and in 2015. Drug-related offences are still punished or punishable by death in more than 30 countries.

In the last year international agencies have announced millions of dollars’ worth of funding for counter-narcotics operations in countries which apply the death penalty for drug offences. We call for such agencies and their donors to heed the warnings of the UN Special Rapporteurs on Torture and on Summary Executions, who stated in October 2015 that “international cooperation to combat drug crime could, in certain circumstances, inadvertently be contributing to unlawful executions”; and that “International agencies, as well as States providing bilateral technical assistance to combat drug crime, must ensure that the programmes to which they contribute do not ultimately result in violations of the right to life”.

There is still time to ensure that the final Outcome Document is aligned with international human rights law and standards, and in particular that includes a call to respect the right to life of persons convicted of drug-related offences in accordance with article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee.

Mr. President,

Widespread human rights abuses and violations that arise and are driven by the implementation of current drug policies and counter-narcotic operations around the world have been long documented. In this context, civil society organizations have urged States to ensure that drug policies and related programmes do not result in human rights violations, including through international cooperation

The high-level panel held on September last year by the Human Rights Council on the “impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights” presented an important opportunity to give visibility to the human rights violations that are committed in the name of drug control.

We therefore calls on all Member States to ensure that the study presented by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the Council is acknowledged in the Outcome Document and, in particular, that they commit to take immediate steps to implement the recommendations contained therein.

I thank you Mr. President.

Closing of segment. 

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