Did the United Nations Just Call for the Decriminalization of All Drugs?

Did the United Nations Just Call for the Decriminalization of All DrugsNews circulated Monday morning that the United Nations had officially called for the decriminalization of all drugs in a brief, two-page report.

Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin, hinted on Sunday that the announcement would be made, but by Monday morning, the U.N. announced it had no such intention and that the document merely reflected the author’s opinion.

Even so, the BBC and Branson himself suggest the document was withdrawn following resistance from at least one country.

As Richard Branson wrote in a blog post before the official release of the report:

In an as-yet unreleased statement circulated to the BBC, myself and others, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which has shaped much of global drug policy for decades, call on governments around the world to decriminalise drug use and possession for personal consumption for all drugs.”

The report was to be released at an international harm reduction conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Branson continued:

It’s exciting that the UNODC has now unequivocally stated that criminalisation is harmful, unnecessary and disproportionate, echoing concerns about the immense human and economic costs of current drug policies voiced earlier by UNAIDS, the World Health Organisation, UNDP, The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Women, Kofi Annan and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.”

However, Branson, a long-time opponent of the Drug War, wrote that as he drafted his blog post, the briefing had already drawn harsh opposition. “But as I’m writing this,” he said, “I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC.”

World-Leaders-Propose-to-Legalize-All-Drugs

See also: World Leaders Propose to Legalize All Drugs

He concluded:

“Let us hope the UNODC, a global organisation that is part of the UN and supposed to do what is right for the people of the world, does not do a remarkable volte-face at the last possible moment and bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move.”

By Monday, the U.N. had disputed Branson’s announcement of the document. “The briefing paper on decriminalisation mentioned in many of today’s media reports, and intended for dissemination and discussion at a conference in Kuala Lumpur, is neither a final nor formal document … and cannot be read as a statement of UNODC policy,” a spokesperson announced.

As the Guardian summarized:

United Nations sources stressed that the briefing paper did not mark a major change in UN policy. They pointed out that such a historic shift would not have been announced at another organisation’s conference and would have had to gone through its policymaking process first.”

Regardless, the disputed two-page document was penned by Dr. Monica Beg, who chairs the HIV/AIDs section of the UNODC. She noted multiple consequences of the continued War on Drugs, including excessive imprisonment. “[W]orldwide, millions of people are imprisoned for minor, non-violent drug offences,” she wrote, suggesting that “arrest and incarceration are disproportionate measures.

While the document acknowledges that governments have a duty under international law to reduce the supply and trade of drugs, it also affirms that these governments are responsible for adhering to human rights’ obligations. The document concludes that the U.N. will not force member states to criminalize drug possession and use on a personal scale. Rather, it suggests that “Member states should consider the implementation of measures to promote the right to health and to reduce prison overcrowding, including by decriminalizing drug use and possession for personal use.

This type of policy has seen success in Portugal, where drugs were decriminalized in 2001 and rates of use decreased. At least one town in Massachusetts has opted to treat addiction to heroin rather than prosecute it.

The paper suggests several strategies like these, including investing in drug-prevention programs and treatment for drug dependency. It makes clear that it advocates decriminalization, in part, “as a key element of the HIV response among people who use drugs.

In spite of the groundbreaking implications of the two-page document, the U.N. maintains the document was meant only as a suggestion (the BBC notes that the UNODC has been under increased pressure to take a stance). The language of the conclusion implies the document was a suggestion, considering it urges that member countries “should consider” decriminalization.

However, the text of the document, printed on official agency stationery, also says the report “clarifies the position of UNODC to inform country responses to promote a health and human rights approach to drug policy,” making the UNODC’s true intentions difficult to decipher.

Denials from the U.N. were swift and vehement. Official statements also denied Branson’s claims that at least one member nation pushed back against the recommendations:

[The document] remains under review and UNODC regrets that, on this occasion, there has been an unfortunate misunderstanding about the nature and intent of this briefing paper. UNODC emphatically denies reports that there has been pressure on UNODC to withdraw the document. But it is not possible to withdraw what is not yet ready,” an official U.N. response said.

Regardless of whether or not the document was intended to be one person’s suggestion or an officially proposed policy — or whether countries are exerting undue pressure on the U.N. following its release — the mere suggestion of decriminalizing drugs, in and of itself, reflects the changing landscape of drug prohibition.

Find us here

Get news from the CSGLOBE in your inbox each weekday morning

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors/source and do not necessarily reflect the position of CSGLOBE or its staff.

Paid content

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

What's New Today

Georgia House Votes To Allow Citizens To Abolish Police Departments In The State

The Georgia House backed an effort on Friday to dissolve the Glynn County Police Department and any...

Leaked CDC document contradicts Pence claim that U.S. coronavirus cases ‘have stabilized’

Even as Vice President Mike Pence wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Tuesday that coronavirus...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Don’t Listen to Fox. Here’s What’s Really Going On in Seattle’s Protest Zone.

It seems I live in a city undergoing a “totalitarian takeover” that will lead to “fascist outcomes”...

MOST READ

Complete List of BANKS Owned/Controlled by the Rothschild Family

What’s the significance of having a central bank within a country and why should you concern yourself, your family and colleagues? Central banks are illegally...

What Is Agenda 21? Depopulation of 95% of the World By 2030

Most people are unaware that one of the greatest threats to their freedom may be a United Nations program which plans to depopulate 95%...

China Is Turning The Rainforest Into Cheap Furniture For The U.S.

Driven by American demand for cheap furniture, China has become the greatest importer of illegal timber. The...

Five bombshells about Trump from Bolton ‘s book

Excerpts from former national security adviser John Bolton ’s book about his time in the Trump administration...

Move aside tobacco, Kentucky farmers are making the switch to hemp

Hemp is from a variety of Cannabis that has no THC (psychoactive component in Marijuana), so hemp is not a recreational drug. Real Farmacy explains...

US, Japan to take ‘specific action’ after N. Korea missile hit Japanese economic zone

Tokyo will take “specific action” and join forces with the US to deter Pyongyang, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said after a North Korean...

France To Implement Palm Oil Tax To Protect The Rainforests And Orangutans In Indonesia

Once again, France is everybody’s favorite country. Not only did the progressive nation make it illegalfor stores to purposefully waste food last year, it...

Tesla self-driving car to hit the road next year

Elon Musk says next year's Tesla cars will be able to self-drive 90 percent of the time In an excerpt from a CNNMoney interview, Tesla...

5 Most Powerful Families That ‘Secretly’ Control The World

From Rothschild to Bush, meet the 5 most powerful families that control America and the world in 2015. Conspiracy theorists say they are the puppet...

Julian Assange Just Destroyed the FBI, CIA & Fake News in an Epic Tweetstorm

Arguably, he’s the world’s most wanted man. Hated by governments, loved by the common man, Julian Assange seems determined not to go down without a...

Monsanto Asks World Health Organization to ‘Retract’ Cancer Link

Just days after the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer released a report publicly declaring the well-known link between Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide...