The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was established in 1968 as the monitoring body for the implementation of the United Nations international drug control conventions. Tensions have arisen about the way the INCB performs its duties and about its legal interpretation of the conventions which many feel goes beyond its mandate.

  • INCB vs Uruguay: the art of diplomacy

    INCB President Yans disqualified himself and should consider stepping down
    Martin Jelsma
    Tuesday, December 17, 2013

    dominoInternational tensions over Uruguay’s decision to regulate the cannabis market reached new levels when Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), accused Uruguay of negligence with regard to public health concerns, deliberately blocking dialogue attempts and having a "pirate attitude" towards the UN conventions. President Mujica reacted angrily, declaring that someone should "tell that guy to stop lying," while Milton Romani, ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), said that Yans "should consider resigning because this is not how you treat sovereign states."

  • 'Stop lying': Uruguay president chides UN official over marijuana law

    Because he sits in a comfortable international platform, he believes he can say whatever nonsense
    RT Novosty (Russia)
    Saturday, December 14, 2013

    Uruguay’s president has accused the head of the UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, of lying and double standards, after the official claimed the country did not consult the anti-drug body before legalizing marijuana. Earlier this week, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize both the sale and production of marijuana. Yans has accused Uruguay of "pirate attitudes" for knowingly violating the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which the South American country is part of.

  • Uruguay's Prez rips into UN official over marijuana law: 'Stop lying'

    The Huffington Post (US web)
    Friday, December 13, 2013

    mujica2Uruguay's President Mujica shot back at the president of the International Narcotics Control Board, a U.N. agency, for saying that his administration refused to meet with the agency’s officials before legalizing marijuana. Mujica batted down the criticism, insisting that his administration is open to discussing the law and accusing the INCB President Raymond Yans of applying a double standard by criticizing Uruguay, even as U.S. states pass laws to legalize recreational marijuana consumption. "Tell this old guy not to lie," Mujica said.

  • IDPC response to the 2012 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board

    International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC)
    August 2013

    idpc-incb-2012Despite its unprecedented nature within the history of the international drug control regime, and regardless of warnings to the contrary, the Plurinational State of Bolivia’s withdrawal from the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs on 1 January 2012 did not result in a collapse of the United Nations (UN) based control system. That said, there is a strong case that, although marking the centenary of the regime, 2012 will be seen as the beginning of the end of the treaty system in its present form and the re-structuring of a policy world apparently so cherished by many members of the International Narcotics Control Board.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

  • Is the INCB dangerous to your health?

    Five ways the UN's drug watchdog fails on health and human rights
    Daniel Wolfe, director of the International Harm Reduction Development Program, Open Society Foundations
    Tuesday, March 5, 2013

    raymond-yans2In what has become a chilling annual exercise, the UN's drug watchdog the International Narcotics Control Board released its annual report today. The INCB describes itself as a "quasi-judicial" group of experts charged with monitoring compliance with international drug control treaties, but the report's drug war bias and egregious omissions makes us wonder who is judging the judges.

  • INCB President voices concern

    About the outcome of recent referenda about non-medical use of cannabis in the United States in a number of states
    UN Information Service
    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    raymond-yansThe President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), Raymond Yans, has voiced grave concern about the outcome of recent referenda in the United States of America that would allow the non-medical use of cannabis by adults in the states of Colorado and Washington, and in some cities in the states of Michigan and Vermont. Mr. Yans stated that “these developments are in violation of the international drug control treaties, and pose a great threat to public health and the well-being of society far beyond those states”.

  • Governing The Global Drug Wars

    LSE Ideas
    October, 2012

    lse-ideasSince 1909 the international community has worked to eradicate the abuse of narcotics. A century on, the efforts are widely acknowledged to have failed, and worse, have spurred black market violence and human rights abuses. How did this drug control system arise, why has it proven so durable in the face of failure, and is there hope for reform?

  • IDPC Response to the 2011 Annual Report of the International Narcotics Control Board

    International Drug Policy Consortium Briefing
    July 2012

    idpc-incb-2011The response to the Board’s Annual Report for 2011 is organised under 5 inter-related headings: issues surrounding the Board’s homage to the Hague Opium Convention; the flaws within its thematic chapter on ‘social cohesion, social disorganization and illegal drugs’; the INCB’s hostility towards the endeavours of Bolivia to adjust its position towards the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and coca; the continuation of mission creep and a proclivity of the Board to operate beyond its mandate and the reoccurrence of selective reticence, specifically the lack of comment on issues relating to human rights and harm reduction.

    application-pdfDownload the report (PDF)

  • When the UN Won't Condemn Torture You Know Something's Very Wrong

    Damon Barrett (Deputy Director at Harm Reduction International)
    The Huffington Post (US)
    Wednesday, April 4, 2012

    When the UN's drugs watchdog, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), was asked recently about its official position on torture carried out in the name of drug enforcement, one would have expected an unequivocal denunciation. Instead, what was given was an unequivocal refusal to do so. In the light of documented cases of torture to extract information from suspects and to punish drug users and those convicted of drug offences, this refusal to condemn the most egregious of human rights abuses is cause for serious concern and highlights clear tensions between the UN human rights and drug control regimes.

  • Narcotics watchdog turns blind eye to rights abuses

    Patrick Gallahue
    Inter Press Service (IPS)
    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    hamid-ghodseIn a world where drug offences are punishable with the death penalty, torture or arbitrary detention, we must ask how far States can go to enforce the global prohibition on drugs. According to the so-called ‘guardian’ of the international drug control treaties – as far as they want. On several recent occasions, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has refused to offer an opinion on sanctions that violate international law – even if those sanctions are imposed in order to comply with the drug control treaties.


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