Human rights apply to everyone. Drug users, traffickers and growers do not forfeit their human rights, and must be able to enjoy the right to the highest attainable standard of health, as well as to social services, employment, education, freedom from arbitrary detention and so on. The trend has been to toughen drug laws and sentencing guidelines, setting mandatory minimums, disproportionate prison sentences and even death penalties in several countries. Consideration of human rights are becoming essential elements in a growing number of countries’ application of drug legislation.

  • Cross-regional statement on Drugs and Human Rights General Debate

    Monday, September 22nd, 2014

    This is the first member states' crossregional statement on drugs and human rights in the human rights council. Download the Statement.

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  • Promoting Human Rights - Based Drug Policies in Latin America

    Presented at: “Drug Policy from a Public Health and Human Rights Perspective,” Side Event, 54th, Ordinary Session of CICAD, Bogota, Colombia December 10, 2013

    "Latin American countries can take the lead in ensuring that national, regional, and ultimately international drug control policies are carried out in accordance with respect for the human rights of people who use drugs and affected communities more broadly." Coletta Youngers

    Read the full document Promoting Human Rights - Based Drug Policies in Latin America

  • Human rights and drug control: an irreconcilable contradiction?

    Ernestien Jensema
    Tuesday, October 15, 2013

    This week both the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna and the UN General Assembly 3rd Committee in New York discuss new drug control resolutions related to upcoming reviews of global drug policy. The high-level CND review in March 2014 and the Special Session of the General Assembly (UNGASS) on drugs in 2016 provide opportunities to change course and to ensure drug policy fully respects human rights.

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  • Mexico's disappeared

    The enduring cost of a crisis ignored
    Human Rights Watch
    February 20, 2013

    This 176-page report documents nearly 250 “disappearances” during the administration of former President Felipe Calderón, from December 2006 to December 2012. In 149 of those cases, Human Rights Watch found compelling evidence of enforced disappearances, involving the participation of state agents.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

  • The Death Penalty for Drug Offences

    Tipping the Scales for Abolition
    Patrick Gallahue, Ricky Gunawan, Fifa Rahman, Karim El Mufti, Najam U Din & Rita Felten
    Harm Reduction International (HRI)
    November 2012

    Executions for drug offences have escalated in countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia against a trend towards abolition globally, reveals a new Harm Reduction International (HRI) report The Death Penalty for Drug Offences, Global Overview 2012: Tipping the Scales for Abolition. The report reveals that over 540 people were executed for drug offences in Iran in 2011, a trend that continues in 2012 and represents a five-fold increase since 2008. At least 16 people were executed for drugs in Saudi Arabia in the first six months of 2012, compared with one person in 2011.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

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  • Partners in Crime

    International Funding for Drug Control and Gross Violations of Human Rights
    P. Gallahue, R.Saucier & D. Barrett
    Harm Reduction International (HRI)
    June 2012

    Millions of dollars in international aid for drug enforcement is spent in countries with extremely poor human rights records and with little or no accountability for the resulting abuses, according to a this investigative report  carried out by the UK-based drugs and human rights organisation, Harm Reduction International. The report tracks drug enforcement funding from donor states, often via the United Nations, to countries where executions, arbitrary detention, physical abuse and slave labour are weapons in the war on drugs.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

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  • Commanding general confidence?

    Human Rights, International Law and the INCB Annual Report for 2011
    Harm Reduction International (HRI)
    March 2012

    This note provides an overview of human rights and international law concerns raised by the 2011 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board. These include questionable legal reasoning by the Board; the absence of broader human rights norms; problematic statements on specific issues; unqualified comments and support for policies despite human rights risks; and stigmatising language unbecoming a UN entity. These are patterns that are evident in previous Annual Reports.

    application-pdfDownload the briefing (PDF - outside link)

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  • The Human Rights Costs of the War on Drugs

    Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU)
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), together with Transform Drug Policy Foundation, were among the NGOs launching the Count the Costs campaign to urge governments to evaluate the impacts of the 50 years old UN drug control system. This campaign movie highlights one of the most compelling issue, the human rights impacts of the global war on drugs (read Transform's report on the human rights costs).

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  • Human Rights and Drug Policy

    An overview
    Open Society Foundations, the International Harm Reduction Association, Human Rights Watch & the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
    December 2010

    In many countries around the world, drug control efforts result in serious human rights abuses: torture and ill treatment by police, mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, denial of essential medicines and basic health services. Drug control policies, and accompanying enforcement practices, often entrench and exacerbate systematic discrimination against people who use drugs, and impede access to controlled essential medicines for those who need them for therapeutic purposes.

    Download the overview (PDF)

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  • Thematic Briefings on Human Rights and Drug Policy

    International Harm Reduction Association
    October 2010

    In many countries around the world, drug control efforts result in serious human rights abuses: torture and ill treatment by police, mass incarceration, extrajudicial killings, arbitrary detention, denial of essential medicines and basic health services. Drug control policies, and accompanying enforcement practices, often entrench and exacerbate systematic discrimination against people who use drugs, and impede access to controlled essential medicines for those who need them for therapeutic purposes. Local communities in drug-producing countries also face violations of their human rights as a result of campaigns to eradicate illicit crops, including environmental damage, displacement and damage to health from chemical spraying.

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