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.
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 MÃ©xico and CÃ©sar 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?