Chair: Good Morning (reminder of guidelines)
UNODC Research and Analysis Branch, Ms. Me: Good morning, I would like to dig more into the issue of rights and drugs today. This is more of a challenging thing for us in research because it’s something that is the is not one of the structural issues that we have been looking at. So, after yesterday, we took many notes and looked at what kind f indicators are out there to look at human rights in this context. So, proportionality and the sentencing process is a meeting point of human rights compliance and effectiveness of drug policies in ensuring public safety. So what does it mean to try and reach proportionality? It means considering duly the seriousness of the offence. The UN drug control conventions target the most serious crimes – organizing and financing of trafficking and laundering its proceeds. Then looking at the quantities involved are an important factor as well as the role played by the offender – the street level dealers, couriers and consumers are the easiest to detect and are most likely to come to contact with he justice system, but proportionate sentencing also means reaching individualized sentences. Authorities should consider the nature and severity of the offences, motivations of the offenders and in the application of the law, do not hamper wellbeing – courts need information, presentence reports, impact reports, available help needs, available community programs and etc., it is critical to have strong partnerships between justice sector and social and health services. UNGASS highlighted the situation of female drug offenders and the importance to taking into account their multiple vulnerabilities and specific needs. 35% of women in prison are in there because of drug offences. There has been a reported increase of incarceration of women for drug offences. So taking into account the socioeconomic situation, the history of discrimination, manipulation, coercion, specific mental health needs, noncustodial measures as sentencing options is a good metric here – as per the Bangkok rules, Nelson Mandela rules, UN principles and guidelines.
I would like to conclude with what we have identified as priorities for action in order to reach this goal of promoting proportionate sentencing for drug offenses. First, this implies reviewing those strategies, guidelines and practices concerning pretrial detention as well as sentencing in cases of drug offenses, with a view to enhance proportionality and a view of one’s gender responsiveness. And the second guiding principle is to adopt a health-oriented approach and reach those who are treating drug use disorders and bring them in contact with the justice system so people have access to treatment as early as possible.
In the few countries where there is information of drug use and drug use disorder by social economic status, it is clear that the higher social economic status of an individual, as in the more privileged people are, the more they initiate drug use at a higher rate. But when drug use evolves into drug use disorders, there is actually the poor and the lower social economic population groups that actually experienced the highest impact. And so that’s important to understand who is experiencing the most negative impact of drugs. Statistics show us that for women, actually the situation is not improving at all. The percentage of women that are imprisoned without a sentence is actually increasing rather than decreasing over time. So these are again just a flavor of the issues that that we will need to look at if we want to look at a human rights issues and, in terms of, the right to enjoyment to the highest attainable standard for physical and mental health is also an interesting one… right to adequate food, the right to education, to housing, to work… these basic rights are a particular way for the people who use drugs, or again, those around the people who use drugs. Thank you.
Chief of UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Section: Compliance to the conventions and considerations for the effectiveness of drug policies should go hand in hand with ensuring public safety. In designing criminal justice systems (…) as well as the role played by the offender and activity and this role can go from there. Possession of small quantities tend to be the easiest to track and so people who use drugs and possess them in low amounts tent to come into contact with the justice system more often. Individualized sentences and authorities are beginning to consider the nature of offences and to assess the offender’s personal circumstances, their motivation, their specific characteristics and the risk and political factors present. And mandatory minimum sentences are overused for drug offenses under a number of jurisdictions. Such provisions intend to protect the law, but the proportionality aspects in cracting those laws should be just as important of a consideration. In the case of repeat drug offences, according to relate the latest data, there is a marked increase in certain regions in the incarceration of women for first drug offenses. Higher level of social stigma associated with gender and the history of victimization is often present in various ways, which often includes the role as primary care giver for children and elderly relatives. And this is important to take into account in sentencing decisions and in particular, in incarceration decisions. Now, in terms of outcome of sentencing, what does proportionate mean? It means moving away from imprisonment as the default choice, the quasi automatic response to offenses including drug related offenses, and it means to make a wider use of alternatives to punishment. Here I would like to mention, the UNDC is not only about crime conventions, it is also the custodian of the UN standards and norms in prevention and criminal justice. Interestingly and to my knowledge for the first time, the 2016 UNGASS outcome document made reference to several signals in crime prevention and criminal justice, clarifying the link between those mandates of UNODC (…) besides addressing issues from gender equality in the criminal justice system to no custodial measures as a response to offenses including drug related offenses, I would like to mention that we have published handbooks and guidance materials on alternatives to conviction to drug use disorders. Also, UNODC has been providing technical assistance to support legislative reform and training of policy makers and practitioners. I would like to announce the forthcoming publication in which we will focus on alternatives to conviction and punishment – not only on the sentencing stage but also on pre-arrest the pre-trial and sentencing stages,ie. all opportunities to use diversion from criminal justice or to imprisonment. And we have also focused attention on drug courts. In conclusion, the criminal justice system of any MS should be fully compliant with the international human rights decrees. Thank you.
Mexico: Your branch produces figures on drug related deaths – do those include police or military operations, death sentences, gang related violence? It would be important to us to include those as those are the drug related deaths that we are speaking of when we speak of drug-related deaths in Mexico. So there might be a divide here…maybe you only speak of overdose in the UNODC? And, about prportionate sentencing, we have a resolution on this but can UNODC (incl INCB) establish the limits or boundaries for proportion… for some, execution is proportionate, so we need a concept and elaborated understanding. has this been defined as a concrete measure?
Russia: As we understood Angela, the UNODC has not dealt with human rights in depth as there are other specialized bodies for this. In our view, there is no real expertise here so we should leave that to those bodies. We are concerned about the duplication of mandates and efforts. The WDR received data from MS through the ARQ that was reviewed recently – what aspects of human rights are covered in the ARQ or how do you expect to gather data? We heard several proposals yesterday about an additional chapter, so it would be useful to know what the decision making process is in terms of thematic chapters? We believe all MS should benefit from the report, including its thematic chapter so in this regard, the chapter should represent a broad consensus. We believe it should be more comprehensive and contribute to the mid-term review. We would like to propose for the office to analyze the dynamics of the world drug situation since 2019.
Ms. Me: Regarding drug related deaths, you are right – they are all health-related, not violence. We have two global figures, one mainly overdoses and the other includes indirect drug-related deaths so it includes infections and diseases. And it is true, we also need to look at loss of human life in other context.
In response to Russia, I want to clarify that we are working on the 2023 issue and the core foundation of that is the same as ever, we have no funding for specific thematic topics. Ee still have some funding to look at the environmental aspects, but we are not in the position to add any thematic booklets. The issues you describe require in-depth research, so its not just producing some tables here and there… it would only be possible in 2024. Yesterday it was clear there is an interest to look at human rights and now I am hearing more suggestions from you, we are happy to consider but we will need to take an internal decision that is with the ED.
UNODC: UNODC has not developed a scale for penalties. An obstacle would be that penalties must be considered in the national context which is wildly diverse among MS. We could define parameters for proportionality, for example mandatory sentences are detrimental, nonviolent offences should be penalized as other nonviolent acts…
Türkiye: We want to understand the process of preparation for the WDR. Am I right in understanding that if a country provides funding and requests a specific chapter, that will be included without consultation? The WDR is not a conference room paper, it is a cornerstone of our work. If it is a matter of funding, that is not acceptable to my delegation.
Ms. Me: I forgot to answer the question about the ARQ – all the issues I included in my presentation are based on the ARQ. There are models on the criminal justice models in there, both in terms of legislation and practices.
National Authority for the Campaign against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) of Kenya: Good morning excellences, ladies and gentlemen. In 2016 UNGASS outcome document highlighted the multifactorial nature of the world drug problem and aims to guide us to address key issues that shall be considered in line with the three drug control conventions. (Connection issues) We can see that that’s pretty much true to the content drug policies. All national drug policies (…) explicitly combat stigma and protect patients, facilitate access to help and design better interventions based on scientific evidence with focus on community based drug programs on treatment and rehabilitation as well as low-threshold services. (Connection issues).
Mr. Rodley Desmond Daniel M. CARZA, Health Education and Promotion Officer IV, Department of Health:In the Philippines, we are addressing Psychoactive Substances Use in the context of Universal Health Care. Our policy framework is set by the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act of 2002 (Repealing Dangerous Drugs Act of 1972) that includes a Court-ordered confinement for inpatient treatment and rehabilitation; the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) Regulation No. 1 of 2009 where guidelines on rehabilitation of drug users who are not drug dependent are described for example Court-ordered enrollment into an outpatient rehabilitation program; DDB Resolution No. 4 of 2018 that establishes a pilot community-based recovery clinic that offers voluntary enrollment into an outpatient rehabilitation program, sans interface with law enforcement; DDB Regulation No. 4 of 2020 that issues guidelines on screening, treatment, and rehabilitation services for low-risk drug users, including the provision of Certificates of Completion for submission to Local Government Units’ Anti-Drug Abuse Councils General interventions and Community-Based Drug Rehabilitation Programs. The Philippines passed a Universal Health Care Law to strengthen national efforts in providing a comprehensive and coordinated approach to health development, with an emphasis on scaling up health promotion and preventive care…This reaffirms our commitments to a human rights-based approach to health focused on population-based interventions. Our Health Promotion Framework Strategy 2030 provides the framework, direction, and strategies for the planning, development, and implementation of health promotion policies, programs and activities for the period 2021-2030. There is a shift from the criminal justice framework of 1972 to public health in 2002. However, we need to strengthen public health approach in drug policy in the Philippines. Given the expansion of services from 2002-2017, the requirement of court orders to receive and be released from treatment and rehabilitation may form some barrier to health care and can be a source of stigma. Transition to deinstitutionalization begun with international partner-assisted development of voluntary, community-based treatment and rehabilitation modalities in 2018. Philippine co-sponsorship of United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution 45/33 provides action points for the country in achieving Human Rights-Based Approach to Drug Control by 2024.
Dr. João GOULÃO, Portuguese National Coordinator on Drugs, Drug Addiction and the Harmful Use of Alcohol: Allow me to thank the Commission on Narcotics Drugs for the organisation of these thematic
discussions and for the opportunity to take the stand. In the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, we Member States have committed ourselves to accelerate the implementation of existing drug policy commitments and obligations, namely the three international drug control conventions, while fully respecting, protecting, and promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law. Portugal remains fully engaged in implementing the commitments crystalized in the UNGASS 2016 outcome document, in which Member States recognized the need to promote and implement a public health approach to drugs, based on scientific evidence and human rights, and to ensure that drug policies enhance efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the UN system-wide coherence. Portugal fully supports the key international drug policy documents that call for the alignment of drug policies with human rights obligations, including the United Nations Common Position on drug policy and the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policies, and we align with the proposal made by Switzerland to include a chapter dedicated to human rights in the World Drug Report.
Portugal believes that equal efforts should be invested in all areas of drug policy, in respect of the UN Drug Conventions, to ensure that, while pursuing effective drug policies, we also respect the dignity of all human beings. Furthermore, Portugal strongly condemns the application of capital punishment in cases of crime offenses related to drug use and opposes the death penalty in all circumstances. Over the past two decades, Portuguese drugs policy has developed a comprehensive and balanced approach to ensure a high level of health protection, social stability and security, following international principles and guidelines, in the promotion of public health and anchored in respect for human rights. Portugal recognizes drug use as a health issue and drug user as a person who needs to be treated and not punished. A public health-oriented approach has been implemented, enabling access to health care services with the aim of preventing the spread of HIV and other blood born infectious diseases among people who use drugs and decreasing the number of drug-related deaths. Also, we continue to be strongly committed to supply reduction activities, including in the areas of law enforcement, money-laundering and judicial cooperation. The Portuguese policy on drugs encompasses a model of decriminalisation as part of a broader approach designed to prevent drug use, removing criminal sanctions that are ineffective and increase stigma towards people who use drugs. Instead, significant investment has been made in prevention, treatment, social reintegration, and harm reduction measures, directed to public health concerns, with social benefits to all involved. Decriminalisation, the most well-known component of our policy, is part of a comprehensive and integrated policy which main goal is to reduce drug use and its consequences by improving coverage, quality, and effectiveness of demand reduction interventions. Our policy prioritizes prevention and reduction of drug use and the reduction of health and social consequences related to drug use, contributing to the attainment of a high level of health protection, well-being, and social cohesion. Evidence shows that punishment and criminal sanctions are ineffective and often counterproductive, operate as important barriers to accessing drug services and do not address drug use health-related consequences. Our policy confirms that remarkable benefits can be gained from implementing policies to reduce the harm caused by drug use and to socially reintegrate people who use drugs. Portugal has not solved all problems related to drugs and addictive behaviours, but some results show that we are on the right track. Currently, drug use level in Portugal remains generally below the European average and we register a decrease in drug use among adolescents. The decriminalisation of drug use contributed to reduce drug users’ stigmatization, as they do not fear being referred to the criminal justice system and are more likely to seek help through treatment and harm reduction services. Our policy contributed also to a significant reduction in the number of problematic users from 100.000 in 1998 to 33.200 in 2021; there is also an important decline in infections by HIV among injecting drug users and a substantial decrease of overdoses (from 350 in 1998 to 63 last year). Over the last four years of the Portuguese Presidency of the Pompidou Group of the Council of Europe, which is coming to an end, our focus was bringing human rights to the forefront of drug policies. Among several initiatives I wish to highlight the new and unique human rights. self-assessment tool presented yesterday by a representative of the Pompidou Group. This tool provides a practical framework to assess the human rights implications of drug laws, policies, and practices.
To conclude, let me underline the importance of putting human rights at the centre of drug policies, which will allow to achieve effective and long-lasting results, not only for people who use drugs, but also for their families and all society, by improving access to health and social care, while reducing the harms caused by drug use and reducing stigma. Working together, we will contribute to the implementation of the international commitments outlined in the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, putting the rights of human beings at the centre of our responses in addressing the world drug situation. Thank you for your attention.
Dr. Penny HILL, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia: Thank you Mr. Chair, excellencies and distinguished delegates. My name is Dr Penny Hill, and I am addressing you today on behalf of the Australian Civil Society Committee on UN Drug Policy – a committee that includes people who use drugs, clinicians, youth, academia and service providers. Today, I will outline some of the key issues raised in a recent submission we made to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for Australia’s current review regarding human rights obligations in relation to our local drug policies. We support the UN System Common Position on drug policy, and encourage CND delegations here today follow the recommendations of that Common Position. We also encourage delegations to follow the lead of the UN Human Rights Council and issue resolutions calling for greater attention to the human rights consequences of efforts to control drugs, and we hope to see a specific resolution on this topic introduced in upcoming CND sessions. In relation to ensuring human rights-based approaches, we make the following five recommendations:
We urge Member States to remove criminal sanctions and other forms of punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offences, as permitted within the UN drug conventions because criminalisation of drug possession is disproportionate, harmful and counterproductive to the protection of public health and human rights, and impedes access to services whilst increasing stigma and discrimination. For example, Member States must ensure that threshold quantities are designed so that they match the realities of drug use and where relevant, remove any inference of reverse onus of proof for people charged with drug trafficking. Reversals of onus of proof are unacceptable, and go against international legal principles of proportionality as discussed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and is also contrary to the basic principles of law and practice in a democracy
We urge Member States to address inequities experienced by First Nations communities in relation to drug policies, and recognise all the relevant rights, including to health and life, as acknowledged by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; for example, Member States should encourage the release of community profiling data by police forces, and ensure that the age of criminal responsibility in all jurisdictions is at least 15 years of age.
We urge Member States to recognise ongoing and substantial barriers to accessing essential medicines for particular groups that experience severe pain, including those in more remote or regional communities, those with a previous or current history of drug use who now require pain management, First Nations communities, those who reside in custodial settings, and those who are homeless or itinerant.
We urge Member States to ensure the availability of a full spectrum of harm reduction services, including supporting access to peer-led services, needle syringe programs, opioid agonist therapies, take-home naloxone, safe drug consumption facilities and drug checking services; Member States should act to ensure that these services are available to regional and remote communities alongside metropolitan communities, and to those in custodial settings
We urge Member States to invest in effective evidence-based prevention and demand reduction strategies that address social and structural factors that have a strong influence on drug related harm, and facilitate voluntary, evidence-based and equal access to drug treatment
When we made our recent submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, we were invited to present to the Committee virtually to provide further context to our submission. When the resulting List of Issues was posed to our government, the Committee included many of our suggestions in paragraph 24, and has requested Australia report on measures taken to achieve these. As Member States, in the context of protecting and not overriding human rights obligations, you must recognise that the purpose of the drug conventions is to protect individuals, families and communities from drug related harm. We urge you to review your drug policies and act to make changes to ensure that practices align with rights-based approaches. We specifically urge Australia, as a signatory to international human rights instruments on behalf of our states and territories, to take on our recommendations and ensure they are reviewed as part of the upcoming mid-term review of our National Drug Strategy. We also encourage Australia to lead a push for decriminalisation of possession of drugs for personal use across all Australian state and territory drug policy jurisdictions to ensure that human rights obligations are upheld in practice and policy. Our final recommendation is to urge all Member States to abolish the death penalty for drug offences, which is in violation of international human rights. For MS who are already abolitionist, we urge you to vocally oppose the use of the death penalty for drug offences – including naming countries which continue to execute individuals. Finally, we urge you to work with your respective civil society organisations to ensure that progress is made in ensuring that all drug policies conform with human rights obligations and align with the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy. Following this thematic intersessional, we expect discussions on human rights obligations to continue front and centre within CND66, through to the comprehensive stock-taking of progress in 2023, and through to the 2024 Mid-Term Review and beyond.
Chair: I would like to invite the panelists to talk some more about trainings and measures to achieve these goals.
Portugal: Yes, the key for the improvement of the situation in Portugal is the development of an integrated approach in the 90s – good quality of treatment complemented by public and private responses, serious work of reintegration, engaging NGOs, applying harm reduction reponses – meaning that even if someone is using drugs, they deserve our support to lead a full life. So we facilitate access, reduce stigma and have observed outstanding improvement regarding the problematic aspects of drug use.
Singapore: We have different community approaches, so we orient local governments and coordinate service deliveries. We have trainings for practitioners but we are expanding beyond the clinical setting at the moment.
Chair: (floor open for questions)
EU: I am interested in Portugals opinion – the difficulty with lacking data has been mentioned today and yesterday, so I am wondering when this paradigm shift happened, has this been accompanied with studies, data, facts?
Brazil: My question is to Dr. Penny Hill, can you elaborate on how NGOs and government collaborate in Australia? Does SSDP develop awareness or treatment programs?
Singapore: My question is also to dr. Penny. Any suggestions as to how to address the change in perception regarding risks of cannabis?
Portugal: We had the concern of evaluation from the benining, yes. I am happy to share our tools. I want to also mention the self-assesment tool that we developed within the Pompidou group.
SSDP / Dr. Hill: NGOs work towards a number of different goals. I am representing SSDP and I am also a harm reduction worker… I have worked in low thershold service provision such as syringe exchange programmes, peer-led interventions, etc. SSDP has been involved in setting up services, but do not operate the services. When we ran the first trial of drug checking, it was the first time I worked with injecting drug users and young people who havent had the oportunity to speak to their usual health care providers so they had no understanding of their individual risks about their behaviour so they were keen to make more informed decisions. It was quite a remarkabla experience for me to be involved in a service where young people have the chance for the first time in their lives to ask questions. I think estabilishing that line of dialogue is important… some young people learned new information and some have decided to not use drugs following their interaction with us.
Ecuador: We support efforts towards implementing the drug treaties (…)
Egypt: Egypt attaches importance to human rights obligations in addressing the world drug problem. We have developed programs that are based on motivational intervention, and group level engagement for a more suitable treatment and skills-building as well as sports and education. Our policies lay on two core human rights pillars which address multiple issues, promoting health and wellbeing.
Czechia: My country fully aligns itself with the EU’s statement, including the the unprecedented military aggression against Ukraine, the Czech Republic express its full support of the Ukrainaininan people. This conflict is expected to bring a number of serious problems, severe health, social and economic consequences,. We also we are very concerned that the war situation will bear problems with the illicit drug trade and spreading of the transactions is connected to the problem region. Therefore, we must record our strong commitment to the principles of the UNGASS outcomme docuent, the UN Common Position on human rights and drug policy while emphasizing that policies really have to take into account human rights and dignity, accessibility and Health and Social Services. Therefore, we must support proportionate sentencing of drug related offenses, alternatives to coercive sanctions to improve the social and health social situations who use drugs and cosiety as a whole. By reaffirming our strong commitment to protecting our rights, we fully support the suggestion by Switzerland to include the chapter. The Czech Republic also acknowledges its commitment to the EU drug strategy for the period 2021 2025 that puts an emphasis on the public health approach.We reassure our commitment to crafting effective and evidence based drug policy that are based on human rights and decriminalization of people who use drugs. We have the shades of evidence, the punitive drug policies have failed to eradicate drug use and addictions. The results of this are singing as in overcrowded prisons, inadequate and underfunded health and social support services, stigma and an increase of negative health consequences, including overdose deaths and high prevalence of viral hepatitis and tuberculosis. We have to collaborate with international organizations and NGOs and experts in the field and acknowledge the reform process. The harm reduction approach must become an important one – the provision of services as well as monitoring are done hand in hand with civil society.
India: Demand reduction and social re-integration are at the heart of our considerations setting up the addiction centers which provide common services of counseling, medical treatments – under one roof to promote awareness tot he public on the risks of psychotropic substance. The drug-free India campaign launched in 2018 with all kinds of interventions for various populations. Substance abuse is a serious problem, we take our commitments seriously to achieve a drug-free India.
Chief Executive Officer of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation under Royal Patronage, Thailand:My name is Dispanadda Diskul, Chief Executive Officer of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. I am very honoured to be here today to speak at the CND Thematic discussion on human rights obligations and to be able to share with you the work of the foundation. Our work is based on the experience of implementing our programs on the ground, where we encounter local issues regarding drug production, trafficking and selling. Some of it can be traced and linked to the issue of human rights such as stigmatisation, discrimination, limited access to resources and basic needs, and in some cases extrajudicial killing. I want to start off by mentioning our flagship project, the Doi Tung Development Project, based in the northern part of Thailand which we start implementing our programme in 1988. We inherited a lot of multi-dimensional problems and issues such as the presence of militia groups, human and arms trafficking, addiction and health problems, lack of basic structure, environmental degradation, and lack of citizenship. We recognise that the root cause of the problem is lack of opportunity and poverty. Therefore, our approach is to address these two main issues. We begin a journey down the path of long-term and sustainable development. We identify that the problem was only the symptoms and we need to tackle the vicious cycle of poverty, sickness and ignorance. We did that by believing in human potential. We listen to their needs; we involve them in the design and implementation and evaluation of programs. We help them to be able to help themselves and we see our role as a facilitator of changes. We need to build sustainability to capacity building and interaction with the community. We can see that alternative development is not just about the reduction or elimination of drugs but also about improving the quality of life and livelihoods of the people. We use business as the main tool for change to provide people with better opportunities and give them the chance to live their lives more equally. The profit of our operation contributes to social, economic and environmental aspects. We are able to increase the income for people 17 folds and also provide more social support which now we are focusing on education including scholarships and formal and informal training programs for people within the community. Environmentally, we were able to revive the forest from 28% in 1992 to over 86%. The entire project area is now covered in greeneries in 2021. Through our alternative development programme, we are able to address a lot of human rights issues by designing our programs to incorporate a human rights agenda. Some examples of the basic indicators from our project. We focus on gender equality.We have 1,350 employees and 53% of them are female and 47% are male. We can see that over half the management positions are females. For the local employment rate, about 77% of our employees are locally hired. One of the main issues that we think is the salient point when you talk about human rights issues in relation to drugs is social stigmatisation. In Doi Tung, we run a programme called “Volunteer to do good”. It is the platform for people with problems of drug additions to come and get help on a voluntary basis. We work with them, and government officials, proving needed health care. We also provide basic skill training. We work with communities and their leaders to welcome them back after they have graduated from the program and this helped differently to reduce stigmatisation. Equally important is to provide these graduates with meaningful jobs. Training programmes that you provided for them then go towards employment opportunities locally. We employ a lot of people who join our programme. The relapse rate in Doi Tung was 13% and for our new project next door to Doi Tung, the relapse rate is about 20%. In conclusion, when you talk about development and issues in relation to human rights, it is important to look at it from the people-centric approach. It’s important to create conditions where the community can thrive. The development programme is simply a tool to nudge the people towards a better path and the human rights agenda must be built into the program implementation and its KPI must also be reflected. We asked often ask ourselves a very simple question, what do the people get from the money we spent? It needs to be proven economically, socially and environmentally. I do hope that with the limited time I have, I can share with you some of the issues the Foundation has done. I would like to express that the Mae Fah Luang Foundation and Thailand stand ready to share our experiences with you all.
Dr. NONTHASOOT, Member, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, OHCHR: Thank you. My intervention will focus on four key points. First, drug related policies must be considered in the context of human rights – crucially, safeguarding human dignity and sustainability as these are integral obligations of all UN member states. When we are talking about drugs related policy, language matters (…) My second point is reiterating the call for a coordinated, balanced and comprehensive approach with the integration of human rights and development in drug related policies in line with the 2016 UNGASS outcome document. Of course, we need to be on the same page and work together. So my point number three is about cooperation between MS and human rights systems (treaty bodies, eg CESCR + special procedures) with regular interface between CND & human rights systems. We also call for a development of new general commitments on human rights and drug policies. Parties with convention-obligations will know that general human rights commitments naturally intersect with drug policies which have been recognized in clear calls for a more comprehensive approach in this respect. My last point regards sustainability, dignity and more concretely, alarming trends we’ve recorded in detention facilities – we are on the view that the revision and review of the guiding documents is necessary so that implementation at national levels are sufficiently flexible and allow for the integration of human rights perspectives. We support studies to consider possible review and reform of the drug control system with emphasis on the right to life, employment, freedom and health as well as fostering scientific innovation and improve justice systems with special attention to women and children. My organization stands ready to cooperate. Thank you very much. Presentation
President of International Narcotics Control Board: I am pleased to contribute the International Narcotics Control Board’s perspective to this discussion on the three international drug control conventions and
human rights. The Board has stated on several occasions and in various fora that full respect for internationally recognized human rights norms is a condition for compliance with the three international drug control conventions. The stated goals of the conventions – to further and protect the health and welfare of humanity – are based on the recognition of human rights which are universal and inalienable. These fundamental rights include the right to life, the right to health, and the right to protection against unlawful searches, arrest and detention and extrajudicial acts under the guise of drug control. The Board has taken a strong and unequivocal stance in condemning violations of human rights in the name of drug control and will continue to do so resolutely. The Board has also underscored the provisions of the conventions allowing the
imposition of alternative measures for drug-related offences for persons who use drugs, the need to base criminal justice responses on the fundamental principle of proportionality and the need to further the objectives of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration. On the death penalty, while the Board has recognized that the determination of sanctions remains the exclusive prerogative of State Parties to the conventions, it has nonetheless invited them to take note of the international legal developments for the abolition of capital punishment for drug-related crimes. The provision of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services, as required by the conventions, can be seen as a key element of the right to health as a human right, as is the need to ensure availability of controlled substances for medical purposes. The Board has repeatedly called on State Parties to ensure the provision of evidence-based prevention, treatment and rehabilitation services that are accessible and free from stigma. The need for these services, particularly among young people, women and older persons, has been the focus of several thematic chapter of the Board’s annual reports. Inadequate access to controlled medicines contradicts the notion of article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right to medical care, which also encompasses palliative care. INCB is supporting Member States in improving the availability of controlled substances for licit purposes. Our Standing Committee on Estimates closely reviews estimates of licit requirements to ensure a balance between actual medical needs & preventing diversion & misuse. INCB Learning is addressing the barriers to adequate availability of indispensable narcotic and psychotropic substances required for medical
treatments, particularly by raising awareness and providing training. And in early 2023 we will be launching a special report on the progress towards improved availability of narcotic drugs & psychotropic substances. Some progress has been made but there is a great deal of work that needs to be done by the international community in this regard. The Board is engaged in ongoing dialogue with State Parties with the aim of improving the implementation of the conventions, including on some of the issues related to human rights that I have just mentioned. We look forward to continuing cooperation with Member States on these critical
issues in the context of implementation of the international drug control conventions and efforts to achieve the health and wellbeing objectives of the conventions and related Sustainable Development Goals. Thank you
Mr. BALOTTA, Coordinator for Institutional Affairs at European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA): Human rights are rights we have simply because we exist as human beings (…). They range from the most fundamental – the right to life – to those that make life worth living, such as the rights to food, education, work, health, and liberty. The European Union has exclusive competences on trade/goods, currency, freedom of movement – people, agriculture, fishery but not a united drug policy so there are differences across our MS (see chart: tPQCSWJ.png ) The EU’s Policy on drugs is always evolving, we had 13 drugs plans since 1990 and are striving towards an increasingly consolidated EU approach (see timeline: hyPQMBk.png ). The EU Strategy on Drugs 2021-2025 takes an evidence-based, integrated, balanced and multidisciplinary approach to the drugs phenomenon while also incorporating a gender equality and health equity perspective. The Strategy aims to protect and improve the well-being of society and of the individual, to protect and promote public health, to offer a high level of security and well-being for the general public and to increase health literacy. We also found that the way we speak about issues matters a lot and we have made efforts to shift our language towards a less judgemental framwork – for example, instead of the “global drugs problem” we say “Drugs Phenomenon” or instead of “Drug addicts/drugs users” we say “People who use drugs” or instead of “Anti drugs strategy” we named our strategy “The EU drugs strategy” etc. We have also analyzed the way we mention key concepts and the phrases “human rights” and “harm reduction” have been mentioned, on average, 15 times more in papers. The evolution of the EU Drugs Policy (through its Strategies and Action Plans) show how the EU approach to drugs (evidence-based, integrated, balanced and multidisciplinary) is fully promoting the protection and promotion human rights and dignity. thank you.
EU: It is an honour to take part in this session and to speak on behalf of the European Union and its Member States. The following countries align themselves with this statement: North Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Albania*, Ukraine*, the Republic of Moldova*, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Georgia, Iceland+, Norway+, Andorra and San Marino. The EU and its Member States continue to strongly support the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document with a human rights-centred approach and a commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals, as well as the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies. The EU and its Member States strongly and unequivocally oppose the use of the death penalty under all circumstances, including for drug-related offences. The EU and its Member States also underline the importance of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policies and of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, and underscore that the multifaceted nature of the world drug situation requires a comprehensive approach that includes law enforcement efforts designed and implemented in a way that ensure people’s security and efforts promoting health, human rights, including equality and non-discrimination, and sustainable development. In line with the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document, the EU and its Member States support a particular focus on women, children, young people and vulnerable groups in drug-related policies and programmes. These policies should focus on promoting and protecting health, improving access to health and social care, safety and well-being, including reducing stigma and ensuring a non-discriminatory approach. The various aspects of the world drug phenomenon differently affect women who use drugs, who face particular issues over and above those experienced by men. The EU and its Member States have committed themselves through the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025 to incorporate a gender equality and health equity perspective, identify and reduce barriers to treatment and other services for women who use drugs, and ensure that drug-related services respond to the needs of women, including childcare support. We are also committed to launching outreach efforts to women who use drugs and raise awareness of available women-centred treatment. The EU and its Member States underline the importance of tackling gender-based violence towards women who use drugs and aim to ensure that women who are victims of violence and use drugs have access both to drug prevention and to support and treatment. We attach great importance and encourage all UN Member States to implement the commitments set out in the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document to integrate a gender and age perspective in drug-related policies and programmes while ensuring the involvement of women in all stages of their development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. As regards children and youth, the EU and its Member States continue to underline the importance of taking effective and practical prevention measures that protect in particular children and young people and therefore strongly welcome CND resolution 65/4 on early prevention, supported by the EU. We reiterate the need to provide appropriate resources to and put greater emphasis on scientific evidence-based early prevention as well as to facilitate access to demand and risk and harm reduction services and related measures to young people, including those in the nightlife, and to vulnerable members of society. The EU and its Member States also stress the importance of the UN Common Position on Drugs and of the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy in relation to particularly marginalised or vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples and persons deprived of their liberty. The latter are more likely to be exposed to or vulnerable to the use of drugs compared with the general population and engage in risky forms of use, such as injecting. Therefore, the EU Drugs Strategy and Action Plan 2021-2025 promote ensuring equivalence and continuity of healthcare provision in prison settings and implementing evidence-based preventive, risk and harm reduction and therapeutic measures to prevent and reduce drug use and its health consequences. Harm reduction measures are a direct consequence of pursuing a human rights-based approach to drug policy. In accordance with the EU Drugs Strategy, the diversity evident among people who use drugs should be recognised and measures undertaken in order to develop services that can address this diversity whilst reflecting the needs of different groups in relation to drug use. We must provide equal and effective protection against discrimination, ensuring that particularly marginalised or vulnerable groups can effectively exercise and realise their human rights. Effective engagement with these groups also requires models of care that recognise the need for cross-service partnerships between healthcare, youth and social care providers, and patients and carers groups. To conclude, let me underline once again the importance of the human rights-centred approach towards drug policies. It allows to achieve positive results in reducing the harms caused by drug use and in the prevention of risk and thus contributes to the implementation of international commitments outlined in the 2016 UNGASS Outcome Document. With the 2024 mid-term review of progress in implementing all our international drug policy commitments in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs approaching, full commitment of all Member States to human rights-based drug policies should remain the cornerstone of our efforts to successfully address the world drug situation.
Canada: …action must be taken to ensure that our laws respect the dignity and human rights of all and ensure access to treatment and services without discrimination. It’s very heat-warming to hear the voices raised over the last two days supportive of this position. In 2018, Canada was proud to lead along with our partners from Uruguay and Bolivia, a resolution to address for the first time, the issue of stigma against people who use drugs. We thank all our co-sponsors and note the progress in its implementation. We look forward to further discussions on how to address this inescapable issue. As we look forward towards CND 66, we take the lessons we learned from these discussions and apply them to future action and into international collaboration to continue progress and moving towards a more effective and humane approach to drug policy. To that end, we fully support the call made by previous leaders to include inclusion of a dedicated chapter of an upcoming edition of the WDR on the links between human rights and drug policy. Canada remains steadfast in our commitment to work together with the international community to continue to improve global health, safety and security, including in the context of efforts to addressing the world wide issue. We do so with the highest regards the dignity of humanity, and respect for human rights. We expect all our partners in this effort to do the same.
Sri Lanka: The government of Sri Lanka affirms the commitment to litigate the drug problem and its devastating adverse consequences and to establish a society free of drug abuse. Sri Lanka is engaged in strengthening responses in close collaboration with the UNODC and bilateral partners in line with the international drug control instruments. The international policy documents, including the 2019 Ministerial Declaration and the relevant resolutions, have been adopted to Sri Lanka and we sought technical assistance of UNODC in designing and improving systems to monitor and assess the qualitative and quantitative impact. Sri Lanka furthers the national action plan for implementation of national policy and mainly, drug demand reduction and supply control. Our legislations on treatment and rehabilitation are being amended, promoting community based treatment from therapeutic approaches, as well as effective and efficient medical treatment and rehabilitation programs in residential settings and in community based treatment programs with partnership of the local governments and community empowerment programs. The amendments also include provisions on proportionality is sentencing measures have also been taken to implement scientific evidence based strategies for drug abuse, rehabilitation, preventive education and training according to the international standards of UNODC. We call for an integrated and balanced approach in the prevention and control of drug use.
Iran: One of the main purposes of international drug control is to ensure the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for all individuals and national policies should be crafted following the guidance of the three international conventions. Our main concerns are related to the spread of addiction, particularly among teenagers and young people which jeopardizes their physical health. The Republic of Iran is addressing the drug problem with a wide range of interventions aimed at demand reduction, prevention, treatments, harm reduction, rehabilitation, social support, and vocational training. We have paid attention to communities growth in the field of harm reduction. We are proud to announce the establishment of special treatment and rehabilitation centers for women and providing their special needs and caring for children, boosting the participation of the youth in preventing and addressing illicit drug use. In conclusion, once again I want to express our firm resolve to actively promote a society free of drug use in order to ensure that all people can live in health and dignity and peace, security and prosperity. Finally, regarding the proposal of the delegation of Switzerland, regarding having this special chapter on human rights in the next report, human rights aspects of drug related policies have been well reflected by several organs, bodies and receivers, for example in New York, hence having a special section on human rights in the WDR is nothing more than a duplication of efforts that are pursued in other relevant UN bodies. Preserving the consensus, especially on drug issues, and CND is a precious asset of the international community in our view.
Türkiye: The topic of our discussions is the responses not in conformity with international drug control conventions, and not in conformity with the applicable human rights obligations. We tank the Secretariat for the preparation of the background flows for this meeting, however, we regret that there is no mentioning of the problem of the increasing misperceptions regarding risks especially among youth and children, and its effects on fundamental human rights. We believe the biggest challenge in these terms today is the legalization of cannabis in several countries. This is unfortunately due to the policies of some countries that are conflicting treaty obligations. This is in reality, a result of the growing influence and investments of large corporations in the cannabis industry as stated in the road track records. We must not forget that cannabis is still the most widely abused drug in the world. Today, any possible production of cannabis and its effects on the cultivation of essential staple crops must be carefully evaluated with a global perspective. Sir, living in a secure and healthy environment is among the basic human rights as mentioned in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights when we are discussing the Human Rights aspects of drug policies, we should not ignore its processes of normalization. We are not in a situation to accept the proposal of an additional chapter to the WDR as mentioned by some delegations right now and we need to consult our capital on this issue. Therefore, we ask the secretary to carefully elaborate this matter and consult our delegation before taking any steps
Chile: We have a significant challenge in our high levels of substance use. We are particularly concerned about increasing consumption in the school population between 13 and 18 years of age, and in higher education as well. We have taken several steps in order to decrease drug and alcohol use with the help of communities, families, schools, public sector, and civil society among private groups. For example, you to COVID pandemic center our national institution adjusted their prevention programs 2022 It has made available to both secondary education establishments in the country of visual material that promote healthy lifestyles, in order to avoid substance use. Today, more than 100,000 students have worked with this platform which includes content in indigenous languages. In 2018, the Icelandic model was implemented in six districts – a prevention program that seeks to reduce drug use among kids and teenagers in the local community – family and school peer groups. We would like to ask the panelists which are very experienced and more successful strategies in order to address the low perceptions of risks among over youth regarding substance use.
Malta: Malta aligns itself with statements delivered by the European Union on behalf of its member states during these thematic discussions, including our unwavering solidarity with the Ukrainian people, and then condemnation of the Russian Federation1s unprovoked and unjustified military aggression against Ukraine. I would like to make some additional remarks in my national capacity. As emphasized during our intervention yesterday, Malta’s long standing position has consistently advocated for a human rights centered approach to our national drug policy, guided by evidence based conclusions and decision making. Our efforts, including the recently introduced act to establish the authority on responsible use of cannabis, seek to acknowledge and address realities on the ground transparently and pragmatically. The Act has mandated a newly introduced authority to strengthen risk and harm reduction efforts by regulating through proper licensing and monitoring … which will serve to strengthen our national drug control framework and which will be shared with the wider international community aa a testament to our commitment to international cooperation. Thank you for your attention.
Singapore: We need to be balanced and we need to be comprehensive in responding to the world drug problem. Hearing what has been said in this room does not appear to always be the case. To those who call for the abolition of capital punishment, we have to say there is no international consensus for or against the use of capital punishment when it is applied according to the due process of law. And we have to do it. There’s also no national consensus from what the most serious crimes are explicitly defined under international human rights law. As elaborated by experts from Singapore yesterday, Singapore adopts a three prong approach to dealing with drug problems. Prevention, law enforcement and evidence. Singapore is one of the few countries in the world that has successfully managed the drug problem. Our control policies are robust and underpinned by evidence and research. The death penalty for trafficking is imposed because there’s clear evidence that it is a serious deterrent to potential crimes. There’s evidence that despite increasing drug supply in the region, the number of arrests of drug traffickers dropped off after the capital punishment was introduced. Chair, we need to do more to protect our society, especially the most vulnerable. Drug trafficking imposes severe costs to society, we need to consider the human rights of everyone, not just the individual who misuse or abuse drugs. We have several delegations calling for the inclusion of domestic human rights in the future editions of the world drug report. We agree with those who say that this idea requires careful consideration, as it may detract the CND from what it should focus on which is anticipating and addressing threats for the world drug problems.
Chair: Thank you clleagues. We meet again at 3pm.
Chair: Welcome back
Mexico on behalf of GRULAC: First, from the point of view of Mexico, it is key to recognize that the evolution of international drug commitments has been neither simple nor menial. The 1961 single convention on Narcotic Drugs assumes a balance between substance control and guaranteeing availability and access to those substances for different purposes. As we know, international efforts gradually became more effective to drug control, even with the adoption of some metrics, and lack of commitments on guaranteeing access and availability and the possible metrics related to changing dynamics an. And nowadays, we assume some commitments on the principles of common and shared responsibility resulted from the recognition of the evolving nature but we face the possibility to better up our international drug control routine. We think this special session offers an opportunity for balance and more action oriented policies regarding human rights for the future of international drug policy. The human rights approach and strengthening international cooperation is key – And also recognizing those elements, not only the words of the convention, but actually all in documents in a more comprehensive manner. I also invite you to look at our region’s platforms, where human rights is now a solid cross cutting element to our strategy. We do that because the recognition of the evolution of human rights in Mexico, by the Supreme Court a couple of years ago, have reached good results to prevent and to convert illicit financial flows in connection with drugs and firearms. Finally, it is also important to recognize the obstacles even when we are committed to advance this human rights approach. So right now we are trying to work very carefully to manage the many faucets of this issue, including the social aspects such as access to appropriate care and reducing stigma.
Chair: Thank you. May I ask you a question? You mentioned regional and international cooperation – what are the possibilities to maybe strengthen that? What are the best practices and who will benefit from this regional cooperation? I am referring to what you said about a member system …
Mexico: Yes, we have been able to see the strengthening links between the work of the CND and the concrete work and preparation efforts coming from other agencies. It is important to look at these experiences – we adopted an industry-like strategy, where human rights is a key element for cross cultural point of views. This will also relate and translate into an evaluation processes at the multilateral level. So, I will say cooperation efforts, the human rights perspective at the center of all the decisions will make our achievements better.
WHO (Mr. Poznyak): Priority for the World Health Organization is to protect people from harm due to drug use, and transcend health system responses using facilities despite strong mandate for strengthening prevention and treatment for substance use disorders worldwide. The progress in this area is endless. And according to the latest WHO estimates around 583,000 deaths were directly and indirectly attributable to drug use. 2% of deaths attributable to opioids. It’s important to mention that estimated 14,000 deaths in that year were caused by (cannabis) use. Globally, use disorders with stimulants is very low but have a large impact on population health. Effective population based prevention approaches and harm reduction services are important pillars of societal responses to the drug problem. Despite well documented effectiveness of agonist maintenance treatment for opioid dependence, the treatment coverage with this treatment modality is low outside high income countries. Naloxone and medicine that is remarkably effective in reversing and preventing overdose deaths is largely unavailable for first responders outside health services in many countries as it is out of reach for public health services in low and middle income countries, so they have a potential to extend treatment coverage and prevention of overdose deaths. There is an urgent need to increase affordability and availability of effective and ethical treatment for drug use disorders. The update of WHO normative guidance in this area is one of WHO commitments, particularly urgent is a need to update guidelines for community management and psychosocial assistance for dependence. Global collaborative and coordinated efforts are needed more than ever to accelerate progress. With the attainment of SDG health targets 3.5 on strengthening prevention and treatment for substance use disorders. For this purpose, UNODC facilitated development and colleagues within the agency working group on prevention of drug use and drug use disorders also collaborate on dissemination and implementation of jointly developed international standards for the treatment of drug use disorders. Healthcare alternatives to incarceration are increasingly important in the integration of treatment or initiation of treatment for communities. But that continues to be a challenge in all jurisdictions.What is the most promising and feasible ways to increase access to prevention and treatment for people who use drugs is to expand service provision in healthcare settings, not specialized in treatment of drug use disorders, like primary health care facilities, community based mental health services, or services for infectious diseases. Development of community based Correctional Services and billing issues with medical providers is another important pathway to increase access to encourage effective and ethical treatment interventions. And finally, like for mental health conditions, stigma and discrimination, often associated with diagnosis and treatment of substance use disorders continues to be among the key markers of health seeking behavior and treatment. In May this year, World Health Assembly adopted the decision requesting WHO Director General to continue to report to the Health Assembly every second year on WHO activities to address the public health dimensions of the world drug problem. WHO is committed to collaborate with partners on implementation of commitments made in line with the SDG 2030 agenda and recommendations of the UNGASS document of 2016.Thank you, Mr. Chair.
OHCHR (Mr. Bulkan): I wish to thank the Commission of Narcotic Drugs for inviting me to speak at today’s
thematic discussion. In the thirtieth special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in 2016 (UNGASS2016), all Member States of the United Nations reiterated their commitment to respecting, protecting and promoting all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies. This was also reaffirmed in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on the implementation of joint commitments to address and counter the world drug problem. Critically, in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, all member States acknowledged that responses not in conformity, inter alia, with applicable international human rights obligations pose a challenge to the implementation of joint commitments based on the principle of common and shared responsibility. From our (Human Rights Committee’s) perspective, this acknowledgement is important since efforts to respond to the drug problem may have a direct impact on the respect, protection, promotion and exercise of human rights. In its deliberations, the Human Rights Committee has frequently addressed the human rights dimensions of measures taken to address drug problem reminding States of the need to adopt a rights-based approach in response. 2 The Committee has also called for “a focus on appropriate health care, psychological support services and rehabilitation for drug users, including drug dependence treatment such as opioid substitution therapy and harm reduction programmes.” 3 The Committee has also stressed the value of adhering to the principle of proportionality in national criminalisation and sentencing policies, which would ensure greater effectiveness of outcome while respecting at the same time considerations of equity and fairness. I am pleased to observe the progress made in some countries. They have transitioned, or took initiatives for such transitions, from a punitive approach towards human rights and public health-based drug policy. In its General Comment 36, the Human Rights Committee has explained that the ‘right to life is a right which should not be interpreted narrowly’ and that governments ‘should take appropriate measures to address the general conditions in society that may give rise to direct threats to life or prevent individuals from enjoying their right to life with dignity’, including ‘substance abuse’ and ‘the prevalence of life-threatening diseases, such as AIDS’. According to the recent report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, people who inject drugs have a 35 per cent higher risk of acquiring HIV than the general population. They are criminalized, marginalized and stigmatized in most countries – resulting in significant barriers to access to health services (including those for HIV) and in other human rights violations. Some progress made in addressing this challenge. One estimate indicates that more than 30 countries and 50 jurisdictions have adopted some form of decriminalization of drug possession for personal use. However, challenges persist. Some 65 countries still criminalize possession of drugs. 8 A recent Study by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention illustrates how criminalization contributes to arbitrary detention, prison overcrowding, and hinders access to treatment.
Undoubtedly, such punitive approaches undermine the primary goal of the international drug control efforts i.e. the protection of the health and welfare of humankind (as prescribed in the preamble of the 1961 drug convention). The use of the death penalty for drug related offences in over thirty countries remains a challenge in the exercise of the right to life. Under the international human rights law, States that have not yet abolished the death penalty, may only impose this punishment for “most serious crimes”. The term “most serious crimes” must be read restrictively and appertain only to crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing. 10 The drug related offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”. I urge States to abolish the death sentence for all crimes, including for drug-related offences. Jurisprudence of the Human Rights Committee helped to shape various drug policy documents at national, regional and international levels, such as the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy. These guidelines provide a comprehensive set of international legal standards for placing human dignity and sustainable development at the center of State responses to the drug problem. Dissemination and use of these Guidelines could be a useful tool for the implementation of the relevant recommendations of the Human Rights Committee. Finally, we cannot forget that the rule of law is critical for successfully addressing all societal challenges, such as the drug problem. There are persistent challenges and gaps in securing access to justice for all which undermine the rule of law. Moreover, many public decision-making processes lack transparency and are non-participatory, hindering people’s ability to demand and secure accountability. Consequently, more must be done to ensure that the rule of law is respected and strengthened, especially in countries implementing measures to combat drug problem. Protecting and promoting human rights, including gender equality and non-discrimination principles, is not an operational or strategic impediment. It is a requirement for successfully addressing drug related concerns and building public confidence in such efforts.Thank you.
UNAIDS (Mr. MURPHY, Deputy Executive Director): tba
UNODC Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Section:I am very honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to this important discussion. I have listened carefully to previous speakers and would like to focus my intervention on three key points. First let me remind us all that equal access to justice for all is a key target of Goal 16 under the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, but also an enabler for reaching most of the goals and targets set by Member States. Equal access to justice for all requires centering those populations and individuals that have historically and structurally been excluded, discriminated against and faced disproportionate responses by the criminal justice system. The principle of non-discrimination which is at the core of international human rights law and reflected all through the SDGs requires not only that laws and policies do not create discrimination in law, but creates a positive obligation on States to ensure that the implementation of such laws, policies or practices does not have a disparate or discriminatory impact on certain communities or individuals. This is particularly relevant to the implementation of drug control policies as highlighted for instance by the High Commissioner on Human Rights in her report on the Promotion and protection of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement officers released in July 2021. In the analysis of information received concerning over 190 incidents of deaths of Africans and people of African descent in contact with law enforcement officials, OHCHR suggests that three key contexts underlie over 85 per cent of police-related fatalities: first is the policing of minor offences, traffic stops and stops-and-searches; second is the intervention of law enforcement officials as first responders in mental health crises; and third is the conduct of special police operations, many of which have been characterized as actions taken in the context of the so-called war on drugs or as gang-related operations. The high commissioner further notes that in these three contexts, racial bias, stereotypes and profiling appear to play recurrent roles and that erroneous and stereotypical portrayals or perceptions of what or who is dangerous continue to drive inferences made in the context of law enforcement. The report also contains important recommendations to Member States and the international community which we are striving to integrate in our work in ensuring equal access to justice for all. Second, police and other law enforcement are often the first responders to crime, and the treatment and experience of suspects, victims and witnesses at that initial contact will not only affect their perceptions of the police and the criminal justice system, but also have an impact on their families, friends and communities, potentially undermining trust in the criminal justice system as a whole. The COVID pandemic has highlighted the key role played by police services in many countries around the world in responding to health crisis, whether collective or individual, and they must be equipped with the tools to respond appropriately to persons with drug abuse disorders and in mental health crisis. My team works on assisting Member States in implementing their obligations under international law, such as the protection of the right to life and the prohibition of torture, and in using and applying UN standards and norms like the Code of Conduct for Law enforcement Officials and the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, which establish that the police play a key role in serving the community and protecting human rights. In doing so we support the review of legislation and regulations, provide support to strengthen evidence- and human-rights based gendersensitive and representative police institutions and strengthening police oversight and accountability mechanisms. We have also recently launched a series of elearning modules on investigative interviewing, an evidence-based approach to effective investigations and interviews of suspects, victims and witnesses which contributes to better quality investigations while reducing the reliance on confession and the risk for torture and inhuman treatment. Third,to ensure equal access to justice for all and protection of human rights, and in line with the commitment in the 2016 UNGASS outcome document to ensure legal guarantees and due process safeguards pertaining to criminal justice proceedings, it is essential to ensure access to effective and quality legal aid in line with the UN Principles and Guidelines on Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice systems.
Principle 10 provides for Equity in access to legal aid through the adoption of Special measures to ensure meaningful access to legal aid for – amongst others – drug users. Early access to legal aid is particularly important to reduce the risks of human rights abuses and discriminatory practices. UNODC supports Member States in ensuring the provision of legal aid. For instance, in Nigeria, the Office provided support to the Legal Advocacy Response to Drugs Initiative (LARDI), which comprises a network of 127 lawyers and legal practitioners and provided pro-bono legal services to people arrested on drug charges, drug users and their families. In 2021, LARDI members defended 73 indigent drug arrestees and concluded 116 cases.
UNODC HIV/AIDS Section: Drug policy intersects with many development priorities of the 2030 agenda and the SDGs about the health and wellbeing of people, gender equality, and access to decent work, reducing inequalities and promoting peaceful and inclusive societies. UNDP the United Nations Development Programme is a member of the UN Common Position. We are there to support Member to devise drug laws and policies. Some countries are decriminalizing possession for personal use and adopting innovative approaches based on public health. However more needs to happen. The most recent global data shows that people who inject drugs are 36 times more likely to acquire HIV compared to 22 times in 2017. Today, 75% of the new HIV add up to 40% of the HepC infections globally are among people who use drugs – this is a worrying statistics. It is clear that we cannot end AIDS as public health threat and criminalization of people who use drugs results in stigma, discrimination, violence, social exclusion and other human rights violations. A recent research of the O’Neill Institute and UNAIDS shows that in countries where drug use is decriminalized, the portion of people living with HIV status, and viral suppression rates were 40% lower. On the other hand, in countries with laws advancing nondiscrimination, human rights institutions and gender equity, HIV service indicators were significantly looking better. We have been supporting 90 countries to follow up with the recommendations of the Global Action on HIV and the law to create the enabling legal and policy. We haves also been partnering in developing guidance and tools. For example, that international guidelines on human rights and drug policy as already mentioned, developed together with the University of Essex and endorsed by OHCHR, WHO have been cited in at least two high court decisions in Colombia. They were welcomed by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the rights, economic, social and cultural rights, the Human Rights Committee, the working group on discrimination against women, the Special Rapporteur. In 2021, the Council of Europe launched a national assessment tool on human rights policy, using the guidelines as its foundation. The UN Common Position on Drugs supports the development and implementation of policies that put people at the center and my office stands ready to work with the UN and other partners to support member states in implementing such actions. This is also in line with the commitments in the 2021 political declaration on HIV.
African Union (Dr. Basutu): I’m very honored to have the opportunity to contribute today. First, let me remind you that equal access to justice is a target goal of the 2030 agenda but also an enabler for reaching most of the other goals set by Member States. Equal access to justice for all requires centering those populations and individuals that are currently being excluded, discriminated against unhealthy responses by criminal justice systems.The principle of nondiscrimination, which is at the core of international human rights law, reflected all through the SDGs requires not only laws and policies to not create discrimination in law, but creates a positive obligation for states to ensure that they implement such laws, policies or practices does not have a distinct or discriminatory effect on certain communities or for individual. This is particularly relevant to the implementation of drug control policies, as highlighted for instance, by the National Human Rights report on the promotion and protection of the human rights and on the Ffreedoms of Africans and of people of African descent against excessive use of force and other human rights violations by law enforcement also released in July 2021. In the analysis of information received soaring over 190 incidents of people of African descent in contact with law enforcement officials, shows over 85% of deaths as police related fatalities. The underlying factors are (1) policing of minor offenses, traffic stops and stops. (2) intervention of law enforcement officials and respondents in mental health crisis.(3) conduct of special police declarations, many of which have been characterized as taken in the context of the so called war on drugs or related operations. The High Commissioner further notes that racial bias, stereotypes and profiling appear to play a role in the conflicts with law enforcement. Police and other law enforcement are often the first responders in the treatment and experience of suspects victims and witnesses at the local contact will not only affect their perceptions of the police in the system, but also have an impact on their families, friends and community, potentially undermining trust in the criminal justice system. The COVID pandemic has highlighted the key role played by many countries around the world in responding to health crises, their collective or individual roles and so they must be equipped with the tools to respond to persons with drug use disorders, and mental health issues. My office works on assisting member states and implementing their obligations of international law, such as the protection of the rights line from the prohibition of torture, using and applying the UN standards and norms for law enforcement. By doing so, we support legislation and regulations to strengthen rights, gender sensitivity and better quality investigations while reducing the reliance on confession and to ensure equal access to justice for all, and protection of human rights. It is essential to ensure access to effective and quality legal aid through the adoption of special measures as per the UN principles and guidelines on access to legal aid and the criminal justice system. UNODC supports members ensuring the provision of quality legal aid. For instance, in Nigeria we have provided support to the legal advocacy response to drugs and Lardy which comprises a network of 127 lawyers, the practitioners and provided pro bono legal services if people arrested on drug charges, drug users and their families
VNGOC / International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): Thank you for giving me the opportunity to address this audience on behalf of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.Our mission is to prevent or mitigate human suffering, and, substance abuse remains a major cause of suffering across theworld.Among those most impactedare drugusers themselves, with their needs remaining unmet.We welcome theachievements in addressing and countering the world drug problemin the last years.Nevertheless, there are still disparitiesin progressamong and within countries, taking a serious toll on human dignity and the respect of basic human rights.We must ensure that all people who use drugs have access to lifesaving health services, free of stigma, transforming commitment into tangible action, strengthening effective, comprehensive, scientific evidence-based demand reduction initiatives in a continuum of care.It is in the interest of each country and of each of us to accept and extend a supportive hand towards people using drugs instead of rejecting them. The International Drug Control System recognizes the need of individuals for adequate treatment, in due respect of human dignity and basic human rights. Alsotreatment offered as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions, must be in line with ethical standards set up by the international community. A health-centered and rights-based approach, focusing on achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is the best way forward. UHC describes the right of all people to accessible, available, quality health services.Yet, despite all progress,many vulnerable groups, such as drug users, still lack the accesstohealth.UHC is a priorityareaof work for the IFRC Network. We are closely collaborating with the Civil Society Engagement Mechanism for UHC2030 (CSEM),to capture progress made towards UHC and raise community voices. This year, Villa Maraini Foundation, National Agency for Addictions of the Italian Red Cross and Training Centre of the IFRC, organized a country consultation in Italy, engaging drug users,community members and civil society organizations to share their views on challenges and barriers to accessing basic healthand social services for people who use drugs. Participants in the consultation identified several barriers to accessing healthcare, including long waiting list, bureaucracy, lack of an adequate number of health providers,stigma and discrimination and mandatory referrals. Women who use drugs reported even more difficulties in accessing healthcare. Participants pointed theneed to advocate for a better collaboration between public health services and civil society organizations.The positive role of peers like former drug users was also underlined.Mister Chair,IFRC Network, led by the RCRC Partnership on Substance Abuse, the mover and shaker of the Manifesto Rome Consensus for a Humanitarian Drug Policy, developed initiativesto respond to the health disaster caused by drug use and drug addiction. RCRC staff and volunteersare best placed to reach those most hard to reach andfinallyensure that no one is left behind, working to bridge the gap that stillexistsbetween formal health institutions and the most vulnerable, but this cannot be possible without Member States commitment on the ground. Thank you.
VNGOC Asia Ad Hoc Working Group (The VNGOC Asia Ad Hoc Working Group was created to capture a consensus among civil society organizations from across the Asia-Pacific region, reflecting the need for placing human rights, health, and evidence at the centre of all drug policies) A common position document was first drafted in late 2020, since then, the document has been through three rounds of consultations. The final version was formally launched and presented at a side event during the 65th session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in March 2022, with 84 organisations signing on. Civil society organisations in the region play an important role in ensuring the health, human rights, and wellbeing of communities, including women, children, and young people, LGBTQI+ individuals and people in prison and other places of detention.Despite the efforts of Member States in the region, we still observe drug policies that serve to criminalise and punish people who use drugs and continuously large amounts of drugs being produced and trafficked in Asia-Pacific.In relation to ensuring a human rights centred approach to drug policy we call to: Recognise all the relevant rights, including to health and life, and those acknowledged by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to take all appropriate measures to protect children and all other affected populations within drug policies, respecting and ensuring their rights. Implement women-specific responses in terms of drug prevention, treatment, and harm reduction, alongside responses to address gender-based violence and responses for pregnant women. Facilitate access to comprehensive drug policy responses for people impacted by social marginalisation, including LGBTQI+ individuals.Ensure the availability of voluntary and evidence-based, prevention, treatment, and harm reduction services for people with substance use disorders. Ensure access to essential medicines in every country and every healthcare system. Remove criminal sanctions and other forms of punishment for low-level, non-violent drug offences, as recommended the UN drug control conventions. End the use of the death penalty in accordance with international human rights obligations. We, the undersigned Asia-Pacific civil society organisations whose work relates to narcotic drugs, commit to working with ASEAN, Member States from the region, and multilateral bodies to ensure the voice of civil society is heard in the creation of evidenced-based laws, policies, and interventions in line with regional and international treaties and declarations. We will strive to continue to overcome challenges and continue to build on our achievements to place human rights, health, and evidence at the centre of all drug policies.
Australia: Australia welcomes this important discussion, and the opportunity to hear from member states and stakeholders. We all agree that preventing and minimising the harms associated with illicit drugs on individuals, families and communities is critical. In Australia, this is being pursued through the implementation of scientific evidence-based demand, supply and harm reduction strategies that deliver a balanced approach between health and law enforcement and are aligned with Australia’s National Drug Strategy. Australia reaffirms its commitment to the international drug control conventions, which must be implemented in consistency with our human rights obligations. Australia notes the recommendations by Dr Penny Hill from the NGO Students for Sensible Drug Policy during the morning session, including those that were specifically directed to Australia. And we appreciate the interest shown by member states [Brazil] in their questions on the role of NGOs in Australia in addressing drug matters. Australia welcomes engagement and collaboration with civil society and acknowledges the critical role they play in addressing domestic and international drug policy issues. During this intersessional meeting, many member states have called for the abolition of the death penalty. Australia adds its voice to theirs. Australia opposes the death penalty in all circumstances, for all people, including for drug-related offences. We strongly call for the universal abolition of the death penalty. We urge all countries that carry out capital punishment to cease executions and establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. At the very least, we call for countries to reduce the scope or incidence of the application of the death penalty, including for drug related offences. Imposing the death penalty for drug-related offences does not meet the threshold of ‘most serious crimes’ stipulated by Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). As we have already heard from the Human Rights Office, the Human Rights Committee defines ‘most serious crimes’ as crimes of extreme gravity involving intentional killing. The Committee has found that crimes not resulting directly and intentionally in death, such as drug offences, can never serve as the basis for the imposition of the death penalty. Should a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights impose the death penalty for drug offences, it would not conform with its human rights obligations. Further, the death penalty is unfair and used disproportionately used against the poor. Many of those who engage in low-level drug crimes are
economically marginalised. Their economic prospects are often so limited that engaging in drug offence presents a worthwhile risk, even if it carries the risk of death. This year, Australia and Costa Rica will facilitate the Third Committee resolution ‘Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty’, on behalf of the Inter-Regional Task Force (IRTF) of 44 countries at the UN General Assembly [October/November]. We want to see increased or maintained support for the resolution this year, to signify the continued global trend away from the death penalty. Including from countries that have made moves to abolish or impose a moratorium on the death penalty in the last two years [for example, Sierra Leone, Papua New Guinea, Zambia, Central African Republic]. We hope for your support. Imposing the death penalty is irreversible and is never justified.
Venezuela: Grateful for these sessions. CND has a very specific mandate clearly contained within the conventions. Impacts of drugs on our societies is clear with a harmful connection to health and crime. The CND shall keep us working on drug related topics only – we have still many things to learn and improve.
Peru: We have an entitiy responsible for improving natinal drug policy stategies in a comprehensive approach with inclusion to our indigenous populations. We agree that a chapter on human rights should very well be included in our annual report. It should also be taken into consideration that illicit drug trafficking persist becuase there is a pertaining demand… it is the task of our governments to address economic relationships between the global demand and supply. We should apply joint strategies to reverse the increasing trends in illicit trafficking worldwide. We believe (1) we need to reduce and contain the international demand, year by year; (2) we need to increase technical assistance to foster alternative crop cultivation. An agreement between our government and coca farmers has been reached within our projects of Alternative Develeopment (AD). Our AD program is undergoing a critical review with emphasis on sustainability and common and shared responsibilities. We will only attain significant progress if we all take this shared responsibility seriously.
Russia: Human rights and fundamental freedoms consist the backbone of our efforts to counter the world drug problem. Prevention of drug abuse and related crime is an essential element to build healthy and safe communities free of drug abuse. We can a particular attention to prevent young people from starting to take drugs. Recent propaganda advertising illicit drugs has forced its way into our country. Our federal agency for youth coordinates a warning campaign targeted at teenagers. We commend the UNODC youth initiative and are proud to provide funding. In 2020 our government adopted a 5 year roadmap to improve our palliative treatment which includes removing obstacles especially in rural areas such as enhancing supply chains and training health personnel. Despite our efforts, challenges remain. We welcome INCB’s efforts. Human rights are a persisting value and that is why it should not become a subject of political speculation and an excuse to meddle in member state’s sovereignty. There is no one-size-fits-all model and so there should be no place at CND for (finger pointing). We are surprised to see the number of the proponents of the so called harm reduction that pose this as a silver bullet. Our national counter-narcotic strategy deals with administrative and criminal sanctions in various locations but at the same time, drug use is not considered an offence – addicted persons can opt for treatment instead of incarceration. The initiative of some countries to legalize Cannabis despite the commitments is shocking to us so I would like to underline the concerns of my government and we urge the UNODC to look into this issue. We understand there are pockets of society that are more vulnerable however, we should be careful with promoting the rights of certain populations over others. We feel that the notes from our last debate did not truly reflected the views expressed in this meeting and we hope the final version will be truer to the discussion.
Chair: A delegation approached us to raise an agenda point. I was listening to the statements in this room so I was not able to review the specific sections in the Rules of Conduct. I am in a bit of a quandary… I have been saying this is a discussion between experts and MS… If we revert to official meeting rules, we would have interpretation and the reporting indeed should fall under scrutiny. I have chaired 11 extended bureau meetings and the question that was just raised have not been brought before me so far. I want to allow the freedom of expression to MS to raise concerns, but if I allow a formal point of order, I am undermining my own authority and the understanding of the room. I can not put this to the room to decide because we are not officially in session…I see no other possibility though… So if there is an intervention that is not in conformity with the rules, I will have to request the participant to stop their speech. Please respect what I have just shared. I do not want to give precedent to any expression that can be interpreted as moving this meeting towards a formal session.
Türkiye: My mistake, I was not aware of this issue. It is our concern that in the Chair’s summary, the issue of cannabis legalization was not mentioned. It was discussed here for long hours. Of course we are not expecting you to reflect all MS’s side of it reflected, but at least include the topic.
Chair: Well, again, the summary was in informal, rather organic conclusion. The formal summary should be a conference room paper. I and the Secretary are experienced diplomats, we are not deaf, we are well aware of the priority issues and the delicacy of this excersise. What will be produced in the end will be under my supervision as a conference room paper. I think we dont want to discuss the formalities of a conference room paper – it is not a summary, a formal agreed summary of a discussion. If it was, we would have to ask every expert and NGO whether they can agree to the views that will be reflected. This is not our objective. I have listened very carefully to your statements. Everybody should have known what is going to happen here during our session. I will continue listening very carefully. Now it is time for NGO statements.
VNGOC / HRI (Ms. Larasati): My name is Ajeng Larasati. On behalf of Harm Reduction International, I will speak about opportunities and challenges in upholding human rights in the context of drug policy, with a focus on the right to life. Despite some progress, UN agencies, human rights mechanisms and experts, and communities and civil society, continue reporting widespread violations of the right to life committed or enabled in the context of punitive drug policies. Today, I would like to drive our attention to three topics:
First, extrajudicial and arbitrary killings in the context of repressive, often militarised anti-drug campaigns have
led to hundreds, if not thousands of people suspected of engaging in the drug market being arbitrarily deprived of life every year, often at the hands of law enforcement, with perpetrators almost invariably enjoying absolute impunity. Individuals living in poverty, or belonging to racially discriminated communities, are disproportionately impacted. Second, Harm Reduction International’s Global Overview on the Death Penalty for Drug Offences confirmed at least 4,500 executions for drug offences in the past decade, while at least 3000 people remain on death row for drug offences today. Due to lack of transparency in many countries, these figures are an underestimation of this barbaric phenomenon. This use of the death penalty is committed on prohibited grounds as drug offences are not ‘most serious crimes’ to which the death penalty must be restricted to pursuant to international standards. Until now, no clear stance in this regard has yet been taken by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs. Third, overly punitive approaches and the criminalisation of drug use drives people who use drugs away from the health care they need – eventually affecting their right to life. Particularly problematic is the unreasonable refusal by some governments to implement life-saving harm reduction services, despite ever-growing evidence supporting such measures. Our Global State of Harm Reduction showed that as of 2021, only 87 countries provided needle and syringe programmes, and only 81 countries provided opioid agonist therapy. Only a fraction of these countries provides such services in prison.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Fully aligning drug policies with human rights remains a challenge, but it can be achieved with political will, leading to effective and sustainable drug control strategies. To this end, States must review and reform punitive drug policies in which context violations are committed, putting health and human rights at the centre, and with the meaningful engagement of people who use drugs. States must investigate all suspected cases of extrajudicial killings to hold perpetrators accountable, and take measures to protect the health and life of people who use drugs both in detention settings and in the community; including by providing accessible and quality harm reduction services. Lastly, retentionist countries must halt all executions for drug offences and abolish the death penalty; while abolitionist countries must strongly advocate for abolition of the death penalty in all available fora, including CND, and refrain from providing assistance to retentionist countries that may lead to a death sentence being imposed. I thank you for the opportunity to speak.
VNGOC / YouthRISE (Ms. Vass) : Your Excellencies, distinguished delegates, colleagues, I´m speaking today on behalf of Youth RISE, a global network composed of, and led by, young people who use drugs. While the international drug control conventions aim to protect the health and welfare of humankind, with much emphasis placed on protecting children and youth, young people are among the most affected by severe, systemic human rights violations as a consequence of overly punitive interpretations of these conventions. Young people who use drugs are routinely subjected to the traumas of arbitrary detention, extortion, police violence, torture and ill-treatment in the name of drug control. These measures violate international juvenile justice standards, contained in, among others, the Beijing and Havana Rules, which stipulate the primary goal of juvenile justice should be to divert youth from the criminal justice system. The consequences of a criminal record for young people range from discrimination and stigmatization to diminished access to education, reduced prospects for employment, limited access to housing and financial instability. Criminalization and incarceration isolates young people from their families and communities. While young people who use drugs can receive life-altering criminal sentences for their drug use, our ability to exercise our right to independent and informed decision-making on our health, free of coercion, violence and discrimination is limited by age of consent laws and the context of punitivie drug measures. Young people are often forced or coerced into treatment services they do not actually need, Harm reduction services tailored to the needs of the young people are severely lacking and access to up-to-date scientific information, evidence-based and human rights compliant education on substances and substance use is very limited. The Convention on the Rights of the Child creates an obligation to take all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and educational measures, to protect children. Appropriate measures, in coherence with international law. As interpreted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, appropriate measures must be rights-compliant, and effective, and include the development of accessible and child-sensitive harm reduction services and drug dependence treatment, information for children about drugs that is accurate and objective, as well as refraining from criminalizing children because of their drug use or possession of drugs for personal use. Drug prevention based on creating fear, random drug checking in school settings, and expulsion from education for drug use are measures against the International Standards of Drug Prevention, and both the rights of the child and broader human rights standards. As noted in this session, the number of women incarcerated for drug offences is increasing, while women access drug services at a very low rate. It´s also important to highlight how
young women who use drugs, including young trans women and gender non-conforming people, people of colour and members of ethnic and religious minorities, sex workers, and people experiencing homelessness are especially vulnerable in contexts where their identities are criminalized, oppressed and/or discriminated against. In order to create a safer environment for all, intersectional factors related to gender, age, drug use and socioeconomic status, as well as racial, ethnic and religious identities should all be protected, and addressed through holistic and comprehensive harm reduction and health care service design, and accessible, age-appropriate, and evidence-based information alongside sexual and reproductive health services, including access to safe, affordable, timely and respectful abortion care. Drug policies made in the name of the interest of young people need to be informed by those directly affected by these policies. To forge an international drug policy approach which is effective in reducing drug-related harms and ensuring the health and well-being of young people in line with human rights obligations, it is critical that international bodies and Member States consult with and act on the input of youth. We welcome commitments made to provide for the meaningful participation of youth in the development, implementation and evaluation of drug policies and programmes in the UNGASS 2016 Outcome Document, the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, and the UN System Common Position. We invite all member states who value their young people to include a youth member on any delegation to future sessions, meetings, and events regarding drug policy and look forward to opportunities for dialogue such as the upcoming Youth Consultation with UNODC. We wish for a drug policy approach which seeks a better tomorrow not just FOR but with the world’s youth. Thank you for your attention.
Denmark: Fully aligned with the EU statement. Our policies at all times should respect fundamental freedms and human rights. Therefore, we support the Swiss suggestion from yesterday.
Chile (?): We think it is not appropriate to make a decision on this matter at this meeting. Our delegation can not support attempts to politicize this forum by adding a fully political chapter to the evidence base of our work. To address social implications of the world drug problem is somethin we are open to but there is an entire UN body dedicated to deal with human rights issues.
Pakistan: Global nacotics strategy should have multiple streams. We are committed to counter the wolrd drug problem in conformity with all our international commitments. We recognize the need to promote rights of victims and offerenders alike. We have take affirmative steps to rehabilitate victims. since 2001 we are designated a poppy-free country by UNODC. We are seriously concerned by the legalization trend. It is in violation of the conventions. Nonmedical and nonscientific use spurs increase in demand which puts a strain on producing and trafficking regions. We believe that mainstreaming any issues that dont enjoy intergovernmental support is detrimental to our work thus far. We are committed to making the world drug free.
Ecuador: Regarding the proper disposal of medicine, we agree with previous speakers – this is essential to ensure lawful use. Proper availability of medicines prevents illegal markets. We are working in social development initiatives. Cooperation with agencies to support local and regional collaboration is key.
Egypt: Just a clarification – thank you for your explanation and your hard work. Regarding the summary, we know you are well aware of the main topics of discussion. Yesterday, when we finished our meeting, we were concerned about the observations on cannabis legalization – this is something important to my country so we are keen to see it reflected. Regarding the issue of the WDR, it is something we are not supposed to discuss here, we agree – yet, we saw it included in the summary. We appreciate all you do.
Iran: We agree with Turkey and Egypt’s point.
Russia: I want to remind the room that the intersessional meeting today, even though it might not be an official meeting of the commission, it is part of a series of intersessional meetings and in our preparation for the midterm review. And this is why the summary of the meeting is a very important contribution to our work. Best practices and challenges include challenges in compliance with the international drug control conventions as well as human rights obligations. Of course, CND entrusted chairs of the commission throughout the years to put on paper what the discussion was about. We have never put any pressure on any chair or the secretariat about summaries. We would like to pose this question to the room: does it make sense to have a summary that is not balanced? That doesnt reflect all MS input?
Latvia: The intersessional discussions have heard how important respect to human rights users are, archapter of human rights in the wdr seems appropriate. Thank you.
Netherlands: I would like to say that the executive director of UNODC asked for an open debate at the beginning of this session. And that’s what we have. We have many opinions, many experts, many experiences from the fields of various UN organizations. And we had perspectives from victims, people that use drugs, and are suffering from certain situations … various appeals were given here on this floor. I thought it was a rich and open debate as the executive director also made very clear on which conditions is supposed to be and you made it clear at the beginning and during the debate on several occasions. I fully support you to go ahead, and I have full trust both in you as chair and in the secretariat to summarize what was said. This is the way we should take things forward. I do not like to reopen this topic at the very end because it’s five to six pm and this is not what we do in an intercession is not what we do.
Chair: As I just said, I will, on my authority look at the summaries and look at every single national statement and also statements by experts and will then issue the summary, as is customary, under my authority.
– Closing Remarks –
Chair: Thank you. See you on October 10th. Stay safe, stay healthy.