UN officials’ attempt to decriminilise drugs foiled

UNODC said the document was never sanctioned by the organisation as policy

News Desk October 21, 2015
UNODC said the document was never sanctioned by the organisation as policy. PHOTO: AFP

An attempt by United Nations officials to get countries to decriminalise the possession and use of all drugs has been foiled, reported the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

The BBC said a paper from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was withdrawn after pressure from at least one country. It said the document, which was leaked, recommended that UN members consider “decriminalising drug and possession for personal consumption”.

It argued “arrest and incarceration are disproportionate measures”.

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The document was drawn up by Dr Monica Beg, chief of the HIV/AIDs section of the UNODC in Vienna. It was prepared for an international harm reduction conference currently being held in Kuala Lumpur. The UNODC oversees international drugs conventions and offers guidance on compliance.

Sources within the UNODC have told the BBC the document was never sanctioned by the organisation as policy. One senior figure within the agency described Dr Beg as ‘a middle-ranking official’ who was offering a professional viewpoint.

The document, on headed agency notepaper, claims it “clarifies the position of UNODC to inform country responses to promote a health and human-rights approach to drug policy”.

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“Treating drug use for non-medical purposes and possession for personal consumption as criminal offences has contributed to public health problems and induced negative consequences for safety, security, and human rights,” the document states.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 21st, 2015.


Valerie Kaul | 5 years ago | Reply It has to happen because that will be progress. True, drug-taking isn't a good thing for one's health but then when have humans ever done anything healthy? (!) Governments are in place to keep order in society, to dispense justice when needed and keep the economy on an even balance so that we all have a decent standard of living, (Well, that's what they are meant to do)but act as our moral compass? Definitely not. We are never going to be perfect so why not take the crime aspect out of drug taking and let the chips fall where they may? A trial in England some years ago allowed heroin takers to have their regular dose through their GP (General Practioner {doctor})enabling those people to hold down jobs and take on their responsibilities without resorting to crime to fuel their habits or be at risk from tainted drugs or dirty needles. Prohibition in America did not work. Governments that ban substances that give people enjoyment are never going to win, all that happens is a huge black market created and a parallel economy which is not for the benefit of society. Better to spend money on treating addicts rather than lining the pockets of criminals...
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