We always have idiots in this country who like to claim that if we only got tougher(!) on drugs, we’d end the drug problem.
Of course, all you need to do is point to countries like China who regularly execute drug traffickers, and yet still never seem to run out of traffickers to execute.
Unfortunately, tomorrow is the U.N.’s annual International Day Against Drug Abuse and Trafficking, known as Anti-Drug Day. It’s a day to dread, because just about every year, China likes to “celebrate” it by shooting a whole bunch more of their citizens in the head.
And how is that get as tough as it’s possible to be policy working?
China says drug cases shot up 16 percent last year from 2008 with courts convicting more than 56,000 people.
Chinese courts handled more than 50,000 drug trafficking cases in 2009 and about 17,000 people received severe sentences – from five years in prison to a death sentence – up almost 9 percent from the year before, the Supreme People’s Court said Thursday.
Police seized nearly 28 tons of drugs last year, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Friday.
Drug prohibition, even at its most extreme, does not work. And the U.N. has been criminally culpable by not focusing on human rights abuse while it encourages and even pushes countries to get tougher on drugs.
With the UNODC’s director Antonio Maria Costa’s term expiring in July, there’s an opportunity, but also a danger…
New UN drugs tsar must be a leader on human rights by Damon Barrett in the Guardian
Unfortunately, the current frontrunner for the role of UN drug tsar is the candidate being pushed by the Russian government.
The candidate is Yuri Fedotov, current ambassador to the UK. But this is not about the individual except to the extent that he is a career diplomat of over 40 years’ service. It is about Russia’s disastrous drug policies, its appalling human rights record and despite this, a government official nonetheless taking a high-profile position of strategic importance to both issues.
Russia is no supporter of human rights scrutiny in drug control, and works to block any such progress in international political fora such as the UN commission on narcotic drugs. There are nearly 2 million people who inject drugs in Russia, and the government has abandoned them to HIV and abusive “treatments” such as “flogging therapy”. Moreover, the government regularly seeks to block political progress on public health interventions such as opioid substitution therapy and needle and syringe exchange intended to fulfil their human rights. It is now estimated that 37% of people who inject drugs in Russia are HIV positive and as many as 80% of all new HIV infections in the country are due to unsafe injecting practices.
A UNODC director from Russia would likely be a disaster.
The new director will soon be appointed by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
My condolences to the families of those who will likely be shot to death by the Chinese government tomorrow.