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AIDS 2010, and Three Former Presidents sign Vienna Declaration

This Sunday is the beginning of the AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, and a critical part of that conference is going to be some powerful discussions about the drug war.

Former Presidents Denounce Drug War Ahead of AIDS Meet

No, sadly it’s not Carter, Clinton, and Bush. It’s the former Presidents of more enlightened countries…

The failed “war on drugs” has not only badly damaged countries where it is waged, it is responsible for driving up HIV infection rates in some countries, says an official declaration endorsed Wednesday by three former Latin American presidents in advance of the XVIII International AIDS Conference that begins Jul. 18 in Vienna. […]

“The war on drugs has failed…Instead of sticking to failed policies with disastrous consequences, we must direct our efforts to the reduction of consumption and the reduction of the harm caused by drugs to people and society,” said former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso.

“Repressive policies are firmly rooted in prejudices, fears and ideological visions. The way forward to safeguard human rights, security and health is a strategy of peace not war,” said Cardoso.

Cardoso, along with former presidents Ernesto Zedillo of México and César Gaviria of Colombia, have endorsed the Vienna Declaration that lists a range of harms stemming from the war on drugs, and notes that the criminalisation of people who use drugs has resulted in record high incarceration rates, placing a massive burden on taxpayers.

The declaration calls on countries to undertake a transparent review of the effectiveness of current drug policies and reform those policies on the basis of science- based evidence and public health objectives.

An estimated 20,000 conference participants will be in Vienna for the international AIDS Conference, and organisers are encouraging them to sign on to the declaration and join the growing call for evidence-based drug policies. […]

In Russia, the number of HIV-infected people increased tenfold from an estimated 100,000 to one million mainly amongst the injecting drug using population. That’s largely the result of policies that reject harm reduction policies such as the use of methadone and needle exchanges.

Interestingly, according to Transform, new UNODC director Fedotov (whose home country of Russia has such a horrendous problem) has refused an invite to the AIDS 2010 conference, despite major UNODC co-sponsorship. Hmm… irrelevant before he even starts?

If you haven’t signed it yet, please consider signing the Vienna Declaration. You can also read some of the statements by others who are supporting the Declaration.

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5 comments to AIDS 2010, and Three Former Presidents sign Vienna Declaration

  • Paul

    Wow. Brazil, Columbia, and Mexico.

    What gets me is why they can leave office and say these things, but nobody in office dares.

  • Jared

    It’s a damn shame Fedotov is against any progress that could spare so many the anguish of AIDS, even in his own country. The War on Drugs is truly a game without frontiers.

  • claygooding

    Greed is the cause and rooted evil that started this exercise in futility being acted out not only on our country but all over the world. I find it so hard to believe that men did this to man. For a fist full of dollars the industrial magnates of the era started this cruel unjust war on the poor and the industrial magnates of today continue it,for a few dollars more.
    And even in it’s death throes,because I believe truth will win out,the country is gearing up to prohibit yet another substance,K-2. After a trillion dollars thrown into a bottomless pit,state after state is prohibiting yet another substance so the cartels and criminals will have another way to make money.
    I truly believe the learning curve of man must look like the horizon.

  • high plains grifter

    Hell Yea Clay way to express it. I’m going to dig out those old westerns and watch them tonight! Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More, classics! I always imagine ol’ Clint smokin’ a purple durple, OG kush, banana boat blunt instead of a cigar.