Transform Drug Policy Foundation has a good follow-up report on the recently concluded UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna.
The CND is basically a tightly controlled international pro-drug-war event. Country representatives dutifully report that they are enthusiastically carrying out world drug laws and nobody suggests that they might not be the best thing for the world.
But, as Transform notes, there were some cracks in that facade this year.
Yet, for the jaded NGO veterans of this event there was also something new and highly significant: the first tentative challenges to the global prohibitionist regime appeared in the CND. Some merely called for a debate, Argentina being a notable example, its delegate stating in the plenary session that:
“Argentina adequately meets all its obligations arising from treaties that structure what we usually call the “institutional / legal system of drug control and the fight against drug trafficking”. Regarding this issue, we should perhaps analyse if, after decades and considering the results achieved so far, time has not arrived to start an open debate on the consistency and effectiveness of some of the provisions contained in those treaties.”
This statement was particularly heretical as it openly questioned the effectiveness and consistency of the treaties.
Even stronger was the statement from the Czech Republic delegation. Here are some excerpts:
…Nevertheless on behalf of the Czech Republic I would like to take the opportunity and draw attention to the recently released Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, signed by important figures in the world politics, which stated that some important aspects of our countries as well as international efforts of drug policies failed.
Therefore we would like to express that the findings of this Report seem to mark what many of us would like to state but from many reasons are hesitant to state.
Czech Prime minister Necas personally supported the Report of the Global Commission on Drug policy considering the report to be an important challenge by the heads of state and politicians who have signed it.
He said: “above all, anti-drug policy should be based on effective and economically efficient preventative and treatment measures, not on criminalisation of people who suffer from drug addiction but often are not causing harm to others. Czech anti-drug policy is basically going in the right direction, but we must not be afraid to promote additional effective solutions and to be inspired by other states as well” [...]
The attitude of the Czech Republic is based on pragmatic drug policy, which leads the way towards the decriminalization of those addicted to drugs, support for preventative programmes and the minimisation of risks connected with drug use of course not undermining rehabilitation as the best and ultimate goal.
We are convinced that changes in current legal regulations are necessary in certain segments of the countries and the world drug policies. We are ready to cooperate in this field with everybody who feels dedicated to those important changes. We feel that the globalised world does not allow us anymore to continue with the expensive experiment of the War on Drugs without a serious international debates especially on why there is after all so many people dying of HIV?AIDS and other known reasons in connection with the drugs problem and look even more closely on the evidence and take the brave steps towards better decisions that improve significantly the world drugs situation
Transform concludes from all this:
It may come to be seen as something of a watershed year – and with the rapidly unfolding debate on alternatives to the war on drugs in Latin America it seems safe to say that CND may never be the same again. Next year it may actually be quite interesting.
I look forward to interesting.