"Argentina adequately meets all its obligations arising from treaties that structure what we usually call the "institutional / legal system of drug control and the fight against drug trafficking". Regarding this issue, we should perhaps analyse if, after decades and considering the results achieved so far, time has not arrived to start an open debate on the consistency and effectiveness of some of the provisions contained in those treaties."This statement was particularly heretical as it openly questioned the effectiveness and consistency of the treaties. Uruguay - perhaps less surprisingly given recent events - made a bolder call for 'alternative regimes' to be considered. There were also calls for decriminalisation (specifically of problematic users and harm reduction services) from the Red Cross / Red Crescent and UNAIDS.
|CND plenary session (Photo credit Steve Rolles/Transform)|
Most striking however, was the statement from the Czech Republic delegation delivered by their national drugs coordinator Jindřich Vobořil. This statement not only strongly supported harm reduction and decriminalisation, but included a Prime Ministerial endorsement of the Global Commission on Drug Policy report, concluding with a clear call that:
"We are convinced that changes in current legal regulations are necessary in certain segments of the countries and the world drug policies. We are ready to cooperate in this field with everybody who feels dedicated to those important changes", and that; "We feel that the globalised world does not allow us anymore to continue with the expensive experiment of the War on Drugs without a serious international debate."
Perhaps not the most earth shattering statement, but in the context of the CND, where no one has ever said this kind of thing previously it was positively seismic. It was certainly the first CND mention of the Global Commission report - with a sitting head of state endorsement no less - which amongst its many sensible recommendations includes a call for governments to experiment with models of legalisation and regulation. It may come to be seen as something of a watershed year - and with the rapidly unfolding debate on alternatives to the war on drugs in Latin America it seems safe to say that CND may never be the same again. Next year it may actually be quite interesting.
The full Czech statement is copied below:*
Firstly I would like to thank the secretariat of the UNODC on the hard work in preparing this CND meeting
We are fully in line with the Dutch statement on behalf of the European Union
Nevertheless on behalf of the Czech Republic I would like to take the opportunity and draw attention to the recently released Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, signed by important figures in the world politics, which stated that some important aspects of our countries as well as international efforts of drug policies failed.
Therefore we would like to express that the findings of this Report seem to mark what many of us would like to state but from many reasons are hesitant to state
Czech Prime minister Necas personally supported the Report of the Global Commission on Drug policy considering the report to be an important challenge by the heads of state and politicians who have signed it.
He said: “above all, anti-drug policy should be based on effective and economically efficient preventative and treatment measures, not on criminalisation of people who suffer from drug addiction but often are not causing harm to others. Czech anti-drug policy is basically going in the right direction, but we must not be afraid to promote additional effective solutions and to be inspired by other states as well” (end of quotation)
The Czech Republic advocates balanced approach based on Evidence-Based Drug policy with a strong dedication of regards to human life and therefore we continue advocating for strategies such as Harm Reduction which in our opinion should be having indisputable place in our every day practical measures as well as official policies
The Czech Republic has included harm reduction measures as one of the four pillars of the Czech drug policy since 1999. Its main objective was to reduce the potential risks of all types of drugs and the economic, health and social impacts of their use on individuals and society as a whole. As a result this decision led to success of keeping HIV prevalence among IV [intravenous} users under 1%, reduce Hep C from around 50% to 30% and reduced the average age of engagement of IV users from 28 to 22 years old which led to stabilising the number of problematic drug use with relatively low prevalence.
The attitude of the Czech Republic is based on pragmatic drug policy, which leads the way towards the decriminalization of those addicted to drugs, support for preventative programmes and the minimisation of risks connected with drug use of course not undermining rehabilitation as the best and ultimate goal.
We are convinced that changes in current legal regulations are necessary in certain segments of the countries and the world drug policies. We are ready to cooperate in this field with everybody who feels dedicated to those important changes. We feel that the globalised world does not allow us anymore to continue with the expensive experiment of the War on Drugs without a serious international debates especially on why there is after all so many people dying of HIV?AIDS and other known reasons in connection with the drugs problem and look even more closely on the evidence and take the brave steps towards better decisions that improve significantly the world drugs situation
Thank you, Madame Chairperson
See also: An evidence based experiment in the criminalisation of drug use - Czech it out
*note - this is the transcription of the notes that Vobořil read from, rather than a transcript of his speech