“The ‘war on drugs’ is an unmitigated disaster.”
That’s the resounding judgement of three former Latin American heads of state who write in an op-ed published Friday in the Los Angeles Times that the best way to approach the problem is one that puts health and human rights first.
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria, former president of Colombia, and Ernesto Zedillo, former president of Mexico, describe how an upcoming special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS) on global drug policy already appears to be a missed, historic opportunity.
A draft declaration crafted to be adopted by UNGA members at the April 19 meet ignores the “comprehensive failure of the current drug control system to reduce supply or demand” and “perpetuates the criminalization of producers and consumers.”
Further, the group behind the declaration, the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs, refused input during the negotiation process from stakeholders and experts including civil society groups, the three men charge, rendering negotiations “neither transparent nor inclusive.”
A better solution for member states to pursue, they write, is one “that actually promotes the health and welfare of humanity,” stops “the criminalization and incarceration of drug users,” and ends the “medieval practice” of death penalty for drug-related crimes.
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