I have just done a brief interview with Channel 4 lunchtime news, which, like the rest of the UK media, is covering the INCB's comments on celebrity drug use. I tried to push some of what I saw as more pressing issues but the editorial decision had been made. Quite aside from the fact that this issue (celebrity punishment) is not even remotely the remit of INCB (and they have no evidence that celebrities are treated any differently to anyone else - I actually asked the INCB's Hamed Ghodse at the studio), there are evidently far more important issues for the INCB to be concerned with.
This excellent Aljazeera report, posted on YouTube, covers Thailand's 2004 drug crackdown in which over 2000 people were executed by police, and the threatened revival of this murderous policy by the new PM, Samak Sundarave.
Q: Are you worried about the innocent victims?
PM: ...what do you mean by innocent victim?
The evidence of these horrors is not disputed, but the INCB, despite some welcome rhetoric about human rights and proportionality in the new report, has notably remained almost completely silent on this outrage over the past 4 years, making any talk of human rights ring hollow. In its press pack for the new annual report Thailand is only mentioned once, and that is a passing reference to cannabis cultivation. Celebrity drug use gets top billing in the opening proportionality discussion and press releases and the death penalty is not mentioned. Unsurprisingly, media headlines have been dominated by this completely irrelevant non-story, more the realm of Heat magazine than the UN.
So Kate Moss or 1000s of extra-judical police murders. Which do you think is more important?
Drugscope press release response to the INCB report "UN drug experts must condemn human rights abuses"
IDPC response to the INCB report
IHRA blog on the INCB report "HIV? Human rights abuses? ...the INCB has more pressing concerns"