Side event: Global and local perspectives for reparations to the war on drugs

Watch the video recording here.

Organized by Dejusticia with the support of the Drug Policy Alliance, Elementa DDHH and the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Well, we´re going to start. Good morning everyone, thank you for joining us today so early to this Side Event. My name is Adriana Muro, I’m the Executive Director of  Elementa, both in Colombia and Mexico, that works to show the impact of the War on Drugs in human rights, and makes investigation and advocacy to promote true justice and reparation policies in favor of victims of this failed war. So I´m very excited that in an scenario like the CND, where we normally only talk about drugs, we can have a conversation around reparations in the context of the War on Drugs, and listen to these amazing women talking about global and local experiences around this issue. Before we listen to them, I think is important to focus in what we´re understanding as a reparation. Usually, we think about reparation and we think about compensation, about money, but there are other ways that we can repair a person that has a human right violation and also we can repair the society around these violations. The International Human Rights Law, the Universal System of the UN, and the Interamerican System, recognize other types of reparations: restitution, that thinks is possible to restore the victim to the situation present prior to the violation of human rights, in drug policy we can talk about alternative measures from jail, for example; guarantees of non-repetition are measures aim to prevent serious human right violations, that’s why we talk about regulation of the drug markets as a guarantee of non-repetition measure. Also the rehabilitation and the satisfaction measures that include public apologies and memory policies about what happened around the violation of human rights. This issue of reparation in drug policy as an emergent debate has at least two levels: the moralities of reparation within the prevalent prohibition and the morals (puede ser models) of reparation within a regulated market. These panelists will cover both of these areas and will also expand the legal standards for effective remedies that stem from International Human Rights Law. For this, they will present specific gazes of different jurisdictions, in Colombia and U.S.A, that showcase the possibility and tensions of reparations within and outside the prohibitions of drugs. We´re going to start with Rebecca Schiffer from the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy at Essex University, she will tell us about the general standards of reparation in drug policy. So we have a video, because Rebeca couldn’t  join us today, but she will talk to us about these general standards. 

Rebecca Schiffer: International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy: The global War on Drugs has caused widespread and serious harm throughout the world. Aggressive law enforcement practices targeting people who use drugs have created obstacles to life-saving harm reduction interventions, contributing to preventable disease and premature death by HIV and overdose. Forced eradication of coca and opium puppy has destroyed the livelihoods and harmed the health and environments of poor farmers and the families and communities where they live. Criminalization of drugs and related law enforcement practices have fueled the rise in incarceration and stripped tens of thousands of people of fundamental right to education, welfare and family life among others. These attacks are racialized affecting black and indigenous people and ethnic minorities as well as people living in conditions of poverty in disproportionate numbers. This damage cannot be undone. International Law provides a framework to address these harms. International Law requires states to provide an adequate, accessible and effective remedy and reparations to victims of human rights violations. Reparations are not only financial compensation, they also include restitution, which requires the state to reestablish the situation that existed before the wrongful act was committed; rehabilitation to address legal, medical, psychological, educational, employment and other needs; changes in law and practices which guarantees non-repetition by bringing perpetrators of human right violation to justice. They can also include other measures, like public apologies and public memorials. There is no formula for what reparations should look like, as the specific circumstances of the case must be taken into account when determining what kinds of reparations are appropriate, but there are some things to keep in mind. First, reparations should begin with stopping the violations and guaranteeing that they won’t happen again. Second, victims of human right violations linked to the drug war should be the ones driving the process, they have a fundamental right to be consulted about and to meaningful participation in the design, implementation, evaluation and monitoring of reparations policies and programs. State should ensure and facilitate victims as well as civil society organizations and victims organizations to exercise this right. Victims are experts in the harms that they’ve suffer, which likely will differ among and between individuals and groups, ensuring their broad consultation and participation will make it more likely that reparations measures will capture more complete information about the different harms that people endure and their consequences and what people consider to be effective address and therefore to shape reparations accordingly. Ensuring the right to participation isn’t simple, reparation efforts need to take into account that people may face multiple compounding, financial, social, political and or legal obstacles to participation that limit their capacity to participate. This means it’s essential to create and support a range of ways to ensure meaningful participation virtually (i.e. by Zoom or social media) and in person, this may include the following: funding for internet access for virtual participation, transportation, accommodation and childcare, translation and measures to ensure privacy and safety. This may be specially important for particular people, such as those who fear retaliation for political reasons and for survivors of sexual violence. Third, who pays for reparations? A few points to consider: most  domestic reparations programs are woefully underfunded. This means that states may have the primary obligation to pay for reparations for harms that they caused, but they may not have the financial means to do so. In many contexts, other states and non-state actors including arm groups, international organizations and business are also responsible for human rights abuses and should be required to contribute to reparations. There’s precedent for this: the German Compensation Program for Forced Labour established a fund of 5.2 billion euro, funded in equal shares by German companies and the German State for those subjected into forced or enslaved labor in concentration camps, ghettos or private companies in Nazi Germany and its occupied territories. It’s worth noting that this program was only set up in the year 2000, some 55 years after the end of World War II. Governments and international organizations also have contributed to domestic reparations programs in cases where states have limited financial resources. I want to note a final issue that may be an elephant in the room: many states have received significant funding for drug control efforts in their countries. What should be done about the donor governments responsibility to remedy harms caused by their support for drug control efforts in another country? Thank you. 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you to Rebecca for giving us this general panoram for reparations. Now we’re going to the specific cases, we’re going to Colombia first. I want to ask Paula Aguirre, the director of Elementa in Colombia, if we can talk about the True Commission and the Recommendations and how to link it with reparation in the Transitional Justice process that Colombia has been in the last years. 

Paula Aguirre, Elementa, DDHH Colombia: Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us for this early Side Event, for me it is an honor to be accompanied by such a powerful women. I especially want to thank Dejusticia for inviting us to participate. As Lorena said, I’m from Elementa, a Colombian-Mexican organization that works in drug policy with a human rights and social justice approach. Also in Colombia we’re part of APC -Acciones Para el Cambio in Spanish- a civil society coalition that has been working for seven years to change prohibitionist drug policy through collaborative actions. This year more than any other, we have constantly heard that the War on Drugs is lost and the importance of this Side Event is focused on the thought that, in addition to the urgent need to change a completely failed strategy, it’s important to think about how we will repair the victims of the damages caused by this war. For me, as a young Colombian woman, it is of great value to be able to talk about the Colombian experience and specifically about the experience of the Truth Commission, an institution that was created thanks to the Peace Agreement and that had a three years mandate to identify the causes that gave rise to the armed conflict in Colombia and, at the same time, designs a series of recommendations focused on preventing the same mistakes form being repeated. The final report of the Truth Commission included among its findings a chapter dedicated to drug trafficking as a protagonist of the armed conflict in Colombia. But  beyond this specific chapter and recognition, throughout the report it mentions on several occasions the impacts of prohibitionist drug policy on human rights. And beyond the current discussions regarding reparation and its scope, taking into account that we continue playing under the prohibition scenario, I believe that the True Commission report it’s a reparation measure in itself. A reparation measure that from memory, seeks to recognize that Colombia has paid a very high price and that the prohibition has cost us human lives and, as Laura Gil said at the beginning of this week, Colombia is tired of counting the dead people in this war. Now, speaking specifically of the Recommendations of the Final Report, which can be read in the key of reparations, I will like to mention a few to invite addressing some important challenges and questions. First, the market regulation: the Truth Commission proposes moving towards responsible regulation as a measure of non-repetition and, in this recommendation, it includes the need for immediate measures based on a focus on human rights, sustainable development and harm reduction. All of these will make it possible to face structural problems such as root inequality, the agrarian problem and mitigate violence associated with drug trafficking and the policy implemented to face it. In addition, it’s important to mention the role that the Commission gives to the communities affected by the prohibitionist policy, whom must be a fundamental part of the dialogue to move toward responsible regulation. To stop the impact of drug policy, the Truth Commission calls for the application of alternative measures to the deprivation of liberty and promote the release and other measures for social and productive inclusion and psico-social care for people who committed drug related offenses. Also, in relation to the policy of fumigation with glyphosate, the Final Report recommends de-militarizing the State’s response against coca crops and definitely renouncing aerial spray with glyphosate, also known as Roundup. And, as a last mention, I would like to refer to one of the most important and challenging recommendations due to its impact, not only on the national level but also in the international one, regarding the extradition of people to the U.S.A. and other countries. The Final Report recommends that the Colombian Government prioritizes investigations in Colombia if the person can truthfully contribute to the reparation of victims of serious human rights violations and, in economic terms, that people’s assets are used to repair them as well. Now, understanding the challenges of implementing the recommendations across different barriers so that they truly comply with the remedial purpose, I would like to close by mentioning a couple of dilemmas or questions that may arise. First, it’s the challenge of the current narrative that also it has advanced still does not understand that the War on Drugs, like any other war, has left a high number of victims that must be differentiated from each other based on different particularities: there are the victims from the aerial fumigation with glyphostate, there are victims who consume drugs and who due to a lack of regulation have had high impacts on their lives due to a lack of a responsible market, there are victims oh the militarization generated by the prohibition, there are victims of human rights violations, etc. Second, the how of the differentiated reparations taking into account even the specific population group: consumers, cultivators, afro descendent, indigenous people, women. And third, the economic cause of the reparation, which also not always financial, as Rebecca and Adriana said before, is a factor to consider when it’s the case. And well, although the challenges may continue, how important it is that we’re thinking and talking about these important and necessary steps to be able to talk about drug policies with true approaches to social justice. 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you Paula, I think that the Truth Commission in Colombia invites us to see the regulation market and a new drug policy like a non-repetition measure and, I think that if we understand this human rights approach we can advance more quickly to a new drug policy. Now we’re going to listen to Isabel Pereira, Isabel is the Senior Coordinator for Drug Policy theme at Dejusticia, a social-legal think tank based in Bogotá, Colombia, and she will talk to us about specific cases that are in litigation right now in the Interamerican system of Human Rights and in the Council of State in Colombia. 

Isabel Pereira-Arana, Dejusticia: Good morning everyone and thank you everyone for being here, I know it is late in the week and we’re all getting a bit tired… (I’m trying to share the screen here, can you try to share the screen?) So, what I’m going to present today is, expanding on what Paula has presented, the specific cases that we are trying to explore and assess how reparations would look like in the case of applying transitional justice mechanisms to the War on Drugs. This is an emergen debate, so most of the things that I’ll be presenting today are rather questions and not conclusions. We’re trying to think how the transitional justice mechanisms can be useful to think about mechanisms to repair the harms of the War on Drugs? But also what would be the limitations of transitional justice mechanisms to think about reparations. Then also are human rights mechanisms another way that we can explore reparations for harms on the War on Drugs? There’s also a tension between the availability of resources and reparations because, as my colleagues have mention, this idea that reparations are solely economic compensations goes to question how do we assess harm in cases that are very technical, as the ones that I’ll present, and how do we assess the harms that have been made, how do we present victims and their process in a multilayer way and not only in terms of economic laws. So these are just some of the questions we’ve been asking within our work. The cases that I’ll be presenting are both on glyphosate spraying, so here’s a bit of a context of what this program was in Colombia. Glyphosate or Roundup, is a substance that is a carcinogenic, it was declared a probably carcinogenic substance in 2015 by the World Health Organization, but this substance was used in public policy to reduce coca crops in Colombia for over 15 years -from 1992 to 2015- and it’s estimated that around 2 million hectares were sprayed in Colombia with glyphosate. This operation was carried out in the areas where coca is grown that are mostly very strategic ecosystems, most of them amazonian ecosystems, and this program was carried out in places where there is a very large unequal access to health services. So you can imagine if there is harm and you don’t even have public health service, there’s no access when you get some type of harm. And, as Paula mentioned, this was included in the Truth Commission report, and one of recommendations around glyphosate in particular was to generate dialogues with the communities to assess harms and to define mechanisms through which people can feel repaired. But the thing is that people have been seeking reparations for glyphosate way before the Truth Commission even began its work. The program itself had a complaints mechanism that was highly ineffective basically due to the fact that the police, which was the institution carrying out the program, was the institution evaluating the complaints and claims, so most of them were dismissed. The second problem with the complaint mechanism was that the complaints presented could only be about loss of livelihoods, loss of crops. But then, the response will usually be “well, you had coca, so you are subject to anything”. And then, there’s this issue that I was mentioning before, that the populations that were being sprayed -it’s an awful term-, but the populations that were being sprayed are populations that live in the rural area in a country where the socioeconomic divide between rural and urban is very significant. So access to basic services was not the case and when you have a population that is already disenfranchised and disadvantaged and then you put on top of this a public policy that puts them further behind. So the degree of harms as we see it is wider than just the loss of the income that they have through coca, is the psychological harms of the anxiety of losing your income, the anxiety of losing your household, the fear of being prosecuted, the fear of being criminalized, and what this causes to families in terms of being able to sending their children to school, to live a life basically. So the specific cases. There are two cases that are very prominent, this is the most known one, but is a case that has reached the Interamerican system, the name of the woman was Yaneth Valderrama. I believe she was 26 years old when she was washing her laundry in the river side by her house and an airplane flew by and completely washed her over. She was four months pregnant, she had a miscarriage after that and then she had septic damage and then she passed away a few weeks after the incident. The two images that you are seeing here, one is from a chronicle that was presented in a news outlet in Colombia, it’s called Morir tras una lluvia de glifosato, To die after being rained on with glyphosate. The second one, Una lucha por la vida, it’s actually available also in English, is a graphic novel that was developed by our colleagues in the Center for Reproductive Rights, because the case is being litigated on the basis of glyphosate and the policy being harmful to sexual and reproductive rights of women. That’s how the case is being built, which is quite a novelty because most of the cases on glyphosate, of course as you imagine, is right to health, but in this case under the right to health is the sexual and reproductive rights of women. The case has reached the Interamerican Commission, the family has been very persistent in getting a response, this has been like 18 years in the making. So it’s important that we follow this case to see what the Interamerican Court decides, and how this agrees with the Colombian State on what repartitions should be done. The second case is a collective case, this is a newer one and in this case, with our colleagues from Elementa, we presented an amicus curiae to the Council of State. The name of the organization is called Azocazul, Asociación de Campesinos del Sur de Bolívar, Association of Peasants of Southern Bolivar, which is a region in northern Colombia. This case is quite interesting, they were a group of peasants who previously had coca, but they decided to stop growing coca and substitute with cacao, and they were sprayed. The cacao crops were sprayed with glyphosate. This case reached the Council of State seeking for reparations on a collective basis. And also the interesting thing about this case is that it really delves into more models of reparations that could be used, for example if the Truth Commission develops these dialogues that it was set out to do. So for example, assessing psychological damage, how to invest in this land, so that the damage that was caused to the soil is repaired through technical assistance and more investment to this region. And of course measures of non-repetition, that for now we have the measures of non-repetition, aerial spraying has been suspended but it’s not completely tied legally so there is this need to to tie it legally so it’s not performed again. Then lastly, I really like this image here that I don’t know why it isn’t showing… There!  … It has a delay. And speaking of one of the questions that Becca left in her final remarks about what is the role of the countries that have supported these policies in the country, of course glyphosate spraying was supported by the US government in Colombia. So I really like this illustration that shows this gringo diplomat pulling the strings of an airplane. It’s not even in his land, it’s someone else’s land. And he’s and he’s spraying us all over. What should be the role of these governments in repairing the harms that have been caused through State led and State funded policy and international cooperation? That is quite the apparatus in the case of the War on Drugs. That is a question that I leave to the debate if anyone has any thoughts on this. Lastly, and before I finish, I wanted to mention that most of the information that I have presented is available in this report that was written by my colleague here, Luis Felipe Cruz. This was a report that we presented to the Truth Commission trying to assess the harms of glyphosate beyond just the economic idea of the loss of income, but through a territorial lens of how community life was harmed through this policy. So here are some copies for anyone who wants one, and there are some links for everyone, but I really hope that we can continue this conversation and I’m very happy to share this panel with wonderful women.  

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you, Isabel. I think the case of Colombia, it’s really interesting and powerful to share in other countries because the victims and the human rights movement understand this link between drug policy and true justice and reparation. And I invite you to follow these cases because it will help you in other countries to understand this link. Now we are going to the United States, what happened about reparation outside the prohibition? We have a regulated market. How can the regulated market repair the harms of drug policy or War on Drugs in the case of the U.S.A. where a lot of people are in jail because of drug offenses? For that we have the amazing Kassandra Frederique. She is the Director of Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit organization in the U.S.A. that works to end the War on Drugs and build alternatives grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. Kassandra is online today, so she will talk with us by Zoom. Kassandra, you are there? 

Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance: Yes, I am. Can you hear me?  

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Yes. 

Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance: Awesome. So thank you so much to everyone on the panel I appreciate, y’all for letting me be able to Zoom in today. The conversation around reparations in the States is multilayered. So much of the conversation in the States have focused on the reparations of chattel slavery in the US, and that has set the frame for how people talk about reparations in the United States. More recently, folks in the United States have been looking at issues outside of chattel slavery and expanding the concept of what are the kinds of things that we can get reparations for. The people in the Carolinas who had a greenborough truth reconciliation commission. But the most successful reparations campaign in the US was that of the Chicago Police torture trials, where police Sergeant Burge had a site that was unmarked and he was torturing people, he was arresting or just capturing off the streets of Chicago and was doing it for decades. You know, the Chicago police Burge trials really set a framework for how to bring human rights and the conversation of human rights and the UN and genocide into the conversation. They actually testified at the UN about the Burge trials, and they were one of the most successful, they’re probably the first successful reparations movement in the US, including a memorial, including supports for the people that have been tortured, acknowledgement from the city, I think they they’re also working to get an apology, which goes back to all the different things that can sum up into reparations. But as we have the conversation around drug policy, one of the things that has been part of the conversation around cannabis, is what does reparations look like for the drug war? What does it mean for us to have a conversation about how the mass criminalization of people in the US and the exorbitant amount of harms that come with the arrest of folks in the US or the criminalization of them, what does it look like? You know, drugs are the number four reason why folks are deported and separated from their family, it’s one of the number one reasons why people are losing access to their kids, people aren’t able to go to university, which drastically impacts their ability to earn. In the US, people are getting kicked out of their housing, which is really forcing drug policy reformers to really ask the question, what does repair look like? And how do we build a conversation and a campaign around reparations that actually is as comprehensive as the damage that’s been done. In the context of regulation, one of the things that has been very difficult for us in the States is that multiple things were happening. We regulated cannabis. The cannabis industry was not representative of the people that have been criminalized for cannabis in the decades and people started associating their ability to be in the cannabis industry without reparations. And so you heard people in the US really having conversations like: “a cannabis license is reparations”, you know, “my ability to make money off of cannabis is my given right due to criminalization”. And it was a really difficult set of years for us in the States because it was one of those conversations where compensation, capitalism and reparations were conflated and there wasn’t a discipline or a rigor as to how to have a conversation around reparations and the Drug War in the context of a capitalized regulatory model. And so part of the conversation that was necessary for us in the drug policy movement, was actually to go to folks in the States that were actually doing reparations work, right, that were working on chattel slavery, that were working on the police Burge trial and really grounded and ground the work in that of reparations as opposed to the capitalism that comes with a regulatory market. And here is where we started having a deeper level conversation, because the harms of what cannabis prohibition and enforcement did, really forced the conversation about actually what are we trying to restore to? Like what is this conversation you’re seeing different versions of in the States. In New York, for example, making sure that people who have cannabis convictions have the first entry into the regulatory market, but still we wouldn’t say those things are necessarily reparations, right? The conversation for us is how do we end the Drug War, but it’s also like how do we have a broader conversation of what the Drug War is. Frankly in the US, I don’t think anyone in the room would be confused about how self focused we are. And so, because the US conversation has largely not been run or anchored or resourced, and people of color have not been as resourced to lead the movement. But as more people of color have been coming into places of power and building and deepening the racial analysis around it, you’re seeing this move for us to have conversations about reparations in the Drug War, what does that actually look like? And understanding that our decriminalization campaigns have to be broader than the substance, they have to be about decriminalizing communities and figuring out what are the past ways to repair and restoration. But this is the limit of the US conversation. The limit of the US conversation is that so much of our repertory reparative conversation is based in US history, that is devoid of the US impact globally. And so three years ago when I’m talking in a space and my board member, who’s Mexican, is like Kassandra, I hear you on reparations in the United States, but what is the reparations that the US owes Mexico? We were like we haven’t thought about that, right, because that is part of working with Latinamericans. But also, part of the conversation is that so much of the root of our conversation around reparations in the US is based in chattel slavery. And because that’s where our conversation of reparations is coming from, the role of the US in exporting its drug policies has often been downplayed and not connected. And so part of the work that’s necessary in the global conversation of war reparations is that of really explicitly laying out, as my colleagues have done, what are the things that US has done, and how do we build collaboration between the folks that are looking for reparations in the States and the folks that are looking for reparations from the US, to build campaigns that have solidarity but also share tactics and strategy and also build a global conversation around reparations as opposed to one that is nation based.  

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you Kassandra. I listen to you and I think that in Latin America we need a more democratic process to regulate cannabis or the coca leaf market. I think that in our countries the reparations should be a priority in this conversation and sometimes I think that we are in a hurry to regulate and to advance and we forget the reparation issue. So thank you so much for the US experience and, as a Mexican, I hope someday the US reparates all the harms of the war on drugs in Mexico and Colombia. Thank you so much. So we  opened the floors for some questions to our panelists. 

Catherine Pettis: Thanks for a great panel. I’m Catherine Pettis, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care. What have you thought about possibly reparations for families who’ve lost loved ones who died in terrible pain? It’s not really reparations so much as what’s called damages in American law. And there are some precedents. There are some cases in California where families have received damages for family members who died in pain. There’s quite a few cases actually and because we’re looking for legal remedies in countries, such as as you know Isabel, countries where access to controlled medicines is really suboptimal or nonexistent, whether it’s at the Interamerican Court of Justice or because of the the Convention on the Rights of Older Persons. So now there’s a legal instrument which gives a right to access to medicines, which is another, as you know, collateral damage of the War on Drugs. So I just wondered if that could be folded into some kind of case for reparations. 

Isabel Pereira-Arana, Dejusticia: So my initial reaction is that I think that in the case of Latin America, the Drug War as we imagine it has taken so much energy from us that usually, as we’ve spoken, these issues around access to medicine are really downplayed in our national conversation about damages. Usually, when we talk in Latin America, both in Mexico, in Colombia, in other countries, we talk about the War on Drugs and the harms, and very rarely we talk about families who lost loved ones in great deals of pain because of these unequal access to barriers. So that is part of the response to say I don’t know of any cases, at least in our context, where this has been carried out. But thinking about what Becca shared with us and how to think of other models, part of it is acknowledging. I think that public officials and the ones in charge of administering drug policy to present availability of substances could come forward and say “we have not done our job sufficiently to provide access to everyone who needs it and through that we have caused a great deal of harm to that person who died in great pain that was avoidable, and to the family who had to witness that pain”. But again, because we are so immersed and trapped into the drug trafficking and the drug war and then articles and the crops, the prominence of that conversation within our context it’s not that great and I think that I would love to hear you speak of the cases that you know from the US. Perfecto, gracias. 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you. Diego. 

Diego García: Good morning everyone, Diego García from Open Society Colombia. Thank you for the panel and the insights. Listening to Kassandra, one starts to think about what will be the litigation routes to pressure the US government to start offering us compensation or reparations, not only for glyphosate but other types of support that they have given to the War on Drugs. There is this case in a different scenario where a US court fined the Chiquita Food Company in 2001 on $25 million for supporting the right wing paramilitaries. Chiquita Brand agreed to the fine, but that money went to the US government. So is there an inroad to litigate against those type of practices? You don’t have to answer that. 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Kassandra. I don’t know if you want to.  

Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance: I didn’t know. I don’t have to answer that. I mean, I think part of the conversation is, like that’s why I think there’s a need for regional solidarity in how we build the reparations conversation. So, how are folks in the US building their legal cases? How are we also globalizing the conversation? Because the thing is that the one time people got reparations in the States for cattle slavery, I mean chattel slavery, they gave the money to the people that owned enslaved Africans. So the same thing happened in the US. The people that got paid for chattel slavery were the people that owned enslaved people. So I think there’s a deep necessity for us to have the conversation around reparations across regions because as we’re building our strategic litigation process, how are we building out with others the litigation process? So figuring out what are the pathways for people to get compensation from the US. And then the other thing I would offer is that I truly believe that there will be some form of reparations for the Drug War in the States before there’s reparations for chattel slavery in the States. This is because of the recentness of the issue, because of the questions that cannabis regulation has raised around the ways that chronic pain patients, as well as folks that have lost their children to opioids, have been using the courts. But there again, a lot of the opioid settlement money did not go to the families, they actually went to the States. So I think there’s a deep need, as we’re on the ground floor around building reparations, to figure out what are our shared legal strategies. Because I think if we make our legal strategies in a vacuum, American advocates can potentially close off avenues if we’re not intentionally building across. I don’t know if that answers your question, but yeah, 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you Kassandra. I think Isabela wanted to answer also. 

Isabel Pereira-Arana, Dejusticia: Not it’s not an answer. It’s like the anti answer because it is the difficulty of doing that, of taking the US for reparations. And I remember specifically part of the work that we did for the Truth Commission, and advising the Truth Commission with regards to drug trafficking, we were looking at the NSA files, the National Security Archive files, but most of the perpetrators were members of private service companies. And they have some sort of immunity, which means that even if we would take the case, I don’t know what the route would be if we would take the case within the US. But even then, would they have immunity? And that’s the wall that we kept facing when we were doing this work for the Truth Commission, how to take up to the US? There’s always this way, they’ve been blocked and they’ve been isolated and protected from any type of litigation to happen. But I would love to have this conversation and continue it with Kassandra and Diego, to think about if there are avenues because with the Truth Commission there was no result on that end. 

 Kassandra Frederique, Drug Policy Alliance: Yeah. And there’s more interesting legal strategies that are coming out as we’re delving deeper and deeper into reparations. And so I think there’s an opportunity here to kind of figure out, if it’s not Colombia that can sue these private individuals, is it someone in America that can sue these private individuals? That’s what I’m saying. Like what is the lever that they need and can we just build the strategy regionally as opposed to nation focus? 

Adriania Muro-Polo, Elementa, DDHH: Thank you. Thank you so much Kassandra for this space. Thank you Dejusticia, Isabel it’s a pleasure always to work together, and thank you to everyone for joining us in this Side Event. We have to go to another one. So thank you so much. 

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