Impressions from the Encod delegation at the UN CND in Vienna
14 march 2012
Thanks to Frederik Polak for his first “report”, and I’ll try below to add more in continuity, without exhaustivity, as it is impossible to follow up on everything, being able to listen or participate in room meetings, side corridors discussions, and other obligations. I hope Boaz, Enrico, and who ever here present also in Vienna can add to my impressions.
Well, to sum up my feelings, I think that globally the “legalisation front have gained in power of credibility” as the very old receipes are too big too be taken seriously.
Officially no one dare to say it, but the Global Commission on Drug Policy report has made its effect, and the current dynamic in South and Central America give more power to the trend for reform at country or regional levels.
Like Drug Reporter (see link below) analysed it : after 100 years of US worldwide leadership, now the new imperialistic antidrug kingpin is Russia (remember that in 1961 at the shape of nuclear crisis US and USSR were totally friends with French and other to implement the current non-scientific drug narcotics schedule).
Today, the IDPC/TNI report was given in a full Mozart room closed in a side event, but I unfortunatelly can’t say much about it, just that I see French head delegation Etienne Apaire going into that direction and more delegates than on monday lunch I attended. That’s a good news. At the same time, I choose to live a special experience on that march 14th (Dalila’s birthday), to discover the new face of the prohibitionnist spearhead : I attended the lunch given for the presentation of CADCA, introduced by a former US army general. This meeting sounds like “le chant du Cygne”, in order to maintain the last lights of prohibitionnist views. And they clearly succeed in a way, because they’re basing their development strategy on building communities in shared socio-ecological responsabilities. In fact, there are embracing “protect the youth” with a kind of “risks reduction” approach… for alcohol, tabacoo and marijuana. And they gain support internationnally, mainly in South America and Africa.
I asked a diplomatic question which was no given any answer : ” now there is new addictions known like electronic games and gambling, which can have some consequences while peoples loose their life, sometimes dramatically even for children, so how do you work on this ?”
Also, let’s laugh about the “fair Anticoca-bananas” : I don’t have the details, but then in order to improve ressources for UNODC budget and to give a chance for products from alternative development programs, they want to give a special label to “Fair antiCoca-bananas” in order to get a better price on global market… Here is the WTO put in the storm of the “protected market” which is not known as its source of concern.
What is amazing is in the rotonde (main entrance and cross-building area) were special boothes are organised around aletrnative projects and counter drug traficking actions in Turkey, Thailand, Russia, Pakistan and Colombia… So much materials that have few interest for those who are not professionnally concerned, but here are big communication budgets that could have easily be used for a best prupose. At the Pakistan table, one responsible for the drug eradication in his country, civil servant of UNDOC confessed me that he was trying to convinced his authorities to use methadone treatments, but then authorities still think that it will encourage addiction… I described him the Poppy for medecine plan, argued about iboga treatment, and the use of cannabis to facilitate heroin withdrawal.
I get directly to one high level civil servant of WHO about Medical cannabis, after striking Yuri Fedotov on this matter during monday’s press conference, and a strong fellow exchange with Michael Krawitz and several attempts made by Boaz Wechtel.
He confirmed that THC “dronabinol” has already been recommanded to be removed from its current classification, and than until now CND refuse or ignore it. He told me that again it is possible for WHO to take concern about the whole therapeutic role of the plant, and that’s only if one member state or the CND ask for this.
It is the point on which we clearly have to act asap : build a coalition of EU countries that have legal cannabis prescriptions to push for that, yet informally some delegates from Israel, Germany, and Spain were matched for this.
From what I’ve achieved actually, I mostly give hand to hand our 4 pages statement form, and succeed on tuesday to finally get it available on civil society table booth (after being polite by presenting it to the CND secretariat and accepted a full refusal because it is “attacking member states” on monday, I put few ones on the civil society table on tuesday, as one report from India government was on because there was no place elsewhere for it. After a strong chat, I stated that this censorship cannot be supported while so many propagandist items are collected by peoples who look for information. And so I clearly give my statement : if you want to censor me, you’ll be obliged to follow me everywhere because I’ll spread it everywhere from toilets to the bar, corridors, rooms, restaurant… Finally, 30 minutes after, the guy came to me to say that he shared my view, asked again at the secretariat and succeeded to get a positive response for ENCOD statement to be on the table.
Also, the chairwoman of the CND give me her personnal opinion on the “smashing question” I raised at Press conference to Yuri Fedotov. I made a little provocative introduction that I’ll sum up awith my last memory : “The war on drugs is lost, drug prohibitionnist system has spread epidemies, violence and mass human rights violations, drugs are more available than ever before for anyone anywhere, organised crime is more powerful and undermining state rule of law. We also have some proofs that cannabis can have medical purposes, while painkillers actually available are lacking in large part of the world… But there the CND, UNODC, those in power to decide have to face this reality and take their responsabilities : there must be a drug against war ? Would you mind to think about it, there must be a drug against war ? ” Fedotov answered “that was more an activist statement than a question from a journalist”, I declared quickly “Do you really want me to put bluntly my question ? So I’ll do it : there is no other solution than thinking about alternatives. When will you consider to put it on the agenda, to open a room for dialogue about regulation ?” (I hope Drug Reporter could make the footages of this and make it available for ENCOD use…)
Another question was asked behind my intervention by a “genuine” journalist : Actually 16 states in USA have implemented laws allowing medical cannabis to be prescribed, do you think that this is in contradiction with the current international conventions ?” Fedotov just reply “Yes, It is breaking the spirit of the drug control system”.
They ended after 33 minutes the press conference that was supposed to be one hour. But then, the facilitator beforem and after me repeated “do we have questions from journalists not activists ?” As if he looked for designed questions… Read more on Peter Sarosi’s article “A shared illusion of the drug free world”.
After the press, CND Chairperson told me that she was personnally right with my commitment, but it is not the good place to make it as it is up to member state to decide inside the CND… But then I told her : “At national level, nothing dare to change because of the UN conventions, at UN level nothing can change because of old fashionned standards can’t be remove as no place for debate is on the agenda, so where and when can there be changes ?”
She was not opposed but then again told me that we have to change policies on drugs at national or regional levels.
This was also part of my intervention, just after in Room3 during the informal hearing of the CND chairperson invited by the Vienna NGO committee, where Boaz and I put some deadly questions advocating for urgent reforms in order heal the peoples.
Around this I’m trying to lobby all latine america delegates about the guatemala initiative om March 24th (see below Ethan Nadelmann article in Huffington Post).
Last but not least, I met one delegate from Tunisia and offered him the book of Francis Caballero “Legalize it!”, I edited in french last february and put him this dedicated message ” I hope it will help your people to recover full independance”…
In many ways, it is clear that the “activists” are now better trained to support this massive dose of hypocrisy, paternalistic easy going, unrealistic level of “criminal negligence” especially when health and human rights are supposed to be a major source of concern.
In reality, those who got the memory of the discussions are not the countries delegates which turn over is impressive, it is much more the Civil society representatives. By being able to get a foot on the streets of the daily life, and the other one deeply dived in the bocal like a turtle among hundred of red or yellow fishes, ENCOD and many other networks are clearly struggling an Insanity… That sooner or later will fall as the Hemperialistic solutions will appear in reality.
FARId Ghehioueche, ENCOD SC member
PS : I could have say more about our press conference that was bright but unattended by big media coverage, but soon an audio report will be released because its content is very powerful. Also about the demonstration, but then pictures and videos are already available, but then here below an audio report of the demonstration in Vienna.
Much more have to be said also on the google_debate on tuesday “Prohibition Vs Legalisation”… And next march 24th meeting in Central america, 420 “antiWeed pass” on which also ENCOD should take a statement…
Two articles of Drug Reporter about the CND internal lions’ cave
A Shared Illusion of the Drug Free World, Game of Thrones at the CND
One masterpiece article that should lead to… What about Legalisation ?
Legalization Debate Takes Off in Latin America
Another interesting audio report for a global overview
Commission on Narcotic Drugs Meeting 2012: A Preview