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Published on 31 December 2011  by encod

DRUG PEACE FESTIVAL

With the slogan ’Drug Peace Festival 2012’ the critics of current drug policies based on three UN Conventions will unite during the forthcoming annual meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.



All the versions of this article: [English] [italiano] [slovenčina]





Fifty years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, the global war
on drugs has failed, and has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide.
Use of the major controlled drugs has risen, and supply is cheaper, purer and more available than
ever before. The UN conservatively estimates that there are now 250 million drug users worldwide.

Illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world, after food and oil, estimated to be
worth $450 billion a year, all in the control of criminals.
Fighting the war on drugs costs the world’s taxpayers incalculable billions each year. An estimated
10 million people are in prison worldwide for drug-related offences, mostly “little fish” – personal
users and small-time dealers.
Corruption amongst law-enforcers and politicians, especially in producer and transit countries, has
spread as never before, endangering democracy and civil society.
Stability, security and development are threatened by the fallout from the war on drugs, as are
human rights. Tens of thousands of people die in the drug war each year.

The drug-free world so confidently predicted by supporters of the war on drugs is further than ever
from attainment. The policies of prohibition create more harms than they prevent. We must
seriously consider shifting resources away from criminalising tens of millions of otherwise law
abiding citizens, and move towards an approach based on health, harm-reduction, cost-effectiveness
and respect for human rights. Evidence consistently shows that these health-based approaches
deliver better results than criminalisation.

Improving our drug policies is one of the key policy challenges of our time.

It is time for world leaders to fundamentally review their strategies in response to the drug
phenomenon. That is what the Global Commission on Drug Policy, led by four former Presidents,
by Kofi Annan and by other world leaders, has bravely done with its ground-breaking Report, first
presented in New York in June, and also at the House of Lords on 17th November 2011.

At the root of current policies lies the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is time to
re-examine this treaty. A document entitled ‘Rewriting the UN Drug Conventions’ has recently been
commissioned in order to show how amendments to the conventions could be made which would
allow individual countries the freedom to explore drug policies that best suit their domestic needs,
rather than seeking to impose the current “one-size-fits-all” solution.
As we cannot eradicate the production, demand or use of drugs, we must find new ways to
minimise harms. We should give support to our Governments to explore new policies based on
scientific evidence.

With this aim we will attend the upcoming UNODC Meeting, wich will take place between
March 12th – March 16th 2012 in Vienna, Austria.

CONTACT:

ENCOD Austria: Dave Rosse - Phone: 00436507758899 - mail: dave at rosse.at - skype: smilingdavi

European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD)
- Secretariat: Ploegstraat 27 – 2018 Antwerpen - Belgium
- Tel: +32 (0)495 122 644
- E-mail: office at encod.org





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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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