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Published on 24 February 2009  by encod



Friday 13 March, 11.00 hs

Cafe Landtmann, Vienna.

All the versions of this article: [English] [Deutsch]

From 11 to 13 March, the High Level Segment of the UN Commision on Narcotic Drugs will take place in Vienna, with the purpose of
establishing new guidelines for international drug policies. The Summit will take place a year after the results of a ten year strategy adopted by the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs in New York in 1998 should have been evaluated. The goal of that strategy was to eliminate or significantly reduce illicit drug supply and demand by 2008.

The sad truth is that there has been no evaluation worthy of that name. The UN Office on Drug Control (UNODC) has written its own story, falsely claiming to have achieved control of the world drug problem. On the other hand, UNODC now acknowledges the serious harmful effects of drug prohibition. We welcome this important recognition, but we deplore the fact that it is immediately made worthless by unfounded predictions of less damaging results.

A more serious evaluation does exist, however, which was ordered by the European Commission, and conducted by a respected group of experts with more distance to the UN and national drug policies. Until the moment this statement is written this report is not open for public scrutiny. It seems evident that, to have a meaningful impact on the deliberations and outcome of the CND, this "counterevaluation" should be made public before and not after the actual start of the CND. We condemn the way publication of this important advice has been held up. This will further reduce the relevance of the outcome of this year’s CND.

Ten years have passed and the supply of cannabis, cocaine and heroin has increased. More people use illicit drugs than ever. The illegal
environment in which drugs are produced, distributed and consumed has generated corruption, violent conflicts, criminal profits and dangers to public health.

Independent analysts estimate the cost of drug prohibition in terms of expenses for police and justice operations at 70 billion euro year.
There is no evidence whatsoever that these operations have had any positive impact on drugs-related crime.

At the same time these policies have ruined the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the entire world, who have become a victim of
executions, military repression, eradication of crops, environmental damage, incarceration and torture, violation of economic, social and
cultural rights, marginalisation and stigmatization committed by authorities in the name of the war on drugs.

Meanwhile, the UN drug control bureaucracy continues to reject any possible alternative to the policies of repression and prohibition.
Also this year, the International Narcotics Control Board (consisting of 13 so-called drug experts in charge of monitoring the entire world drug
situation) criticizes countries for applying non repressive harm reduction strategies such as needle exchange, decriminalization of
cannabis use or even defending cultural traditions such as the use of the coca leaf in Bolivia, where this leaf has been a part of culture
since thousands of years.

How long will we have to see the UN dictating instructions to carry out policies that are deemed to fail? When will common sense take over the
debate on drugs?

This question is brought forward to the Ministerial Summit in Vienna by a coalition of citizens from the entire world. They will represent both
producers of illicit plants, consumers of drugs and other citizens who are directly affected by drug policies.

Among others they will maintain that the creation of legal markets for beneficial products that can be made of the coca leaf, cannabis and
opium, for consumers in the entire world, could create opportunities for developing a sustainable future for populations in marginalised areas
such as Afghanistan, Morocco or the Andean Region.

They will maintain that non-repressive drug policies, such as cannabis policy in the Netherlands or heroin policy in Switzerland, have better
results than repressive drug policies. The popularity of cannabis in the Netherlands, where it is legally available, is lower than in many other
European countries or the United States, where it is totally prohibited. Mr. Costa has no idea how to explain this. He simply wants to continue the war on cannabis even when the evidence on cannabis use in the Netherlands falsifies the theory of prohibition.

Representing citizens from all over the world they will insist that taking the drugs market out of the hands of criminal organisations will save and improve the lives of millions of people around the planet.

Each day that the United Nations postpone this decision, they make themselves responsible for policies that do not benefit anyone,
except the criminal organizations that dedicate themselves to drugs trafficking, as well as the bureaucracies working in the so-called drug control business, among others those who build prisons.

It is time to initiate new strategies in international drug policy. Current strategies cause more problems than solutions. Non-repressive
strategies are needed to deal with the drug issue, strategies that do not criminalise producers nor consumers, that are aimed at reducing
risks related to drugs within a legal framework in which human rights are respected.

We invite the representatives of the media to a press conference with the members of the delegation to the UN Summit on Friday 13 March,
11.00 hs onwards, in cafe Landtmann, Vienna.

Speakers will be:

If conditions allow: Chakib Alkhayari, president of the Human Rights Association for the
people of the Rif (North Morocco).

Representatives of coca producers from Bolivia.

Jude Byrne and Matthew Southwell, members of INPUD, the International
Network of People who Use Drugs.

Fredrick Polak, European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies
(ENCOD) , who since one year is trying to start
an open conversation with the UNODC Executive Director, Antonio Maria Costa
on the evidence that drug prohibition has no impact on drug
use levels.

Rodriguez Salazar
, independent researcher from Colombia, specialised in
the impact of the war on drugs on society and environment in Colombia.

Terry Nelson, of
Law Enforcement
Against Prohibition, United States, an association of mainly (ex-)
policemen and judges opposed to the war on drugs.

Lennice Werth, Michael Krawitz - Virginians Against Drug Violence, USA

Mikki Norris, Chris Conrad, Human Rights and the Drug War, USA

Human Rights and the Drug War is a multi-media project that puts a
human face on the destructive nature of US Drug Policy, which uses
incarceration as a first response to drug issues.

Kris Krane, Executive Director, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, USA

Representative of Legalizace.cz - civil association for effective cannabis
policy, Czech Republic

Balázs Dénes, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union

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Comment on this article

2 Forum posts
    i wish that peaople would stop classing cannabis as a drug and refering it to the proper phraze as in every book, artical and even in government issued peoples polocies as a HERB the same as alot more powerfull and uncontrolable herbs that are legal but many times have people said this kind of thing never to be herd!!!

    repondre message

  • CITIZENS AFFECTED BY WORLD DRUG POLICIES QUESTION THE UN 9 March 2009 00:10, by Dr Drew, MD, consultant integrated psychiatrist
    The live, down to earth, honest accounts of various traditional healers, and medicine men/women across the globe and their descriptions of working with their sacred medicines aka teacher plants and allies, most of them designated by orthodoxy as drugs of abuse, that are their spiritual and healing partners, reveal a very beautiful, gentle, lyrical and spirited approach to life and world at large. A very different picture begins to emerge from these true accounts than the bombarded images and propaganda one’s get from so-called modern scientific reserach and ’revelations’, newspaper reports, TV documentaries, various vented parties etc., which leads one to belive that these various natural medicine substances are downright bad, evil, addictive, and need to be strictly regulated and instantaneously banned. Entheogens that grow (since the time immemorial) naturally, broadly, and plenteously upon this beautiful blue planet mother earth, entheogens when used skillfully, ethically and responsibly that open one’s eyes up, help one make to realize how one is been bodged every day of one’s life (among many other things), those are against the law? Wow! Coincidence? I really dont think so...its not war on so-called drugs, its a war on personal freedom! The governments of the Western world (and the others who follow them) want to ban them, (and indeed have already done so!) and prosecute those who use them. But what is really being controlled? Not the so-called drugs of abuse but one’s very freedom and one’s mind. The obvious pernicious msg behind such prohibition is; One is not allowed to expand one’s consciousness beyond the conventional, orthodox norm of socially-politically correct prescribed reality or to see and ultimately live the possibilties in the world that do not come from the orthodoxy. Furthermore, one is not allowed to be fully sentient being, to use one’s mind to experience the various dimensions of reality for what it is. Orthodoxy thus withholds the sacred from one. But one’s mind is one’s own. Surely one has every right to explore it as one wishes and needs,as long as one is not causing real suffering and pain to oneself and others. Making these wonderful medicines illegal, is like saying that mother nature made a mistake. She gives them unconditionally to us. Where is the logic and ethics in saying it should be owned and controlled by the few? Endlessly argue or reason as one might, one in the West is facing a multilayed situations of increase dreadful repression of one’s freedom to experience the sacred, and to truly heal in every sense of the word. One is losing one’s connection to the spirit of the world, to the beauty, complexity, diversity and sacredness of various life forms, because of the power of the goverment and others to control one’s access to them. How long this will be the case? This supression is not for one’s safety-to stop one form ’getting high’ and jumping off buildings-but to keep one locked into a Cartesian materialistic HomoSapien-centricitic mindset. Any transformational experience that shows one the interconnectedness and sacredness and beauty of all things under the sun and beyond , and one’s true part in earthly and cosmic consciousness, runs completly contrary to this noble objective. But it is obvious how self-defeating this monstrous objective ultimately is when one looks around at where such Cartesian materialistic HomoSapien-centricitic mindset has got one. Everything one does to a blue planet mother earth in the name of so-called ;progress’, development and modern science, one also does to oneself and vice versa. As one loses the power to dream, so one’s dreams die and one creates a world and reality based on fear, greed, arrogance, ignorance, illusion and confict of various kinds-for very things for which the West (and others who follow them) has become known, and a very far cry from the beautiful ethical world of the various traditional healers, and medicine men/women across the globe. The time has come more than ever to remedy this heartbreaking crippling existential disease.

    repondre message

The European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies, is a pan-European network of currently 160 NGO’s and individual experts involved in the drug issue on a daily base. We are the European section of an International Coalition, which consists of more than 400 NGOs from around the world that have adhered to a Manifesto for Just and Effective Drug Policies (established in 1998). Among our members are organisations of cannabis and other drug users, of health workers, researchers, grassroot activists as well as companies.

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