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 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”.

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  • 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?

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  • 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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  • Letter to the International Narcotics Control Board on Capital Punishment for Drug Offences

    Harm Reduction International
    March 15, 2012

    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. This struck many as odd. As a quasi-judicial entity, one would have expected the INCB to know that the death penalty for drug offences is not permitted in international law. Or that the UN Human Rights Committee, another UN quasi-judicial mechanism which oversees the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, had already called for its abolition in Thailand. Apparently not. In response to emails and letters of concern, the INCB said that criminal sanctions are the 'exclusive prerogative' of States.

    Letter to the International Narcotics Control Board on Capital Punishment for Drug Offences

  • Commanding general confidence?

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

    comandingThis 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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  • Towards revision of the UN drug control conventions

    The logic and dilemmas of Like-Minded Groups
    Dave Bewley-Taylor
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 19
    March 2012

    dlr19Recent years have seen a growing unwillingness among increasing numbers of States parties to fully adhere to a strictly prohibitionist reading of the UN drug control conventions; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

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  • The Limits of Latitude

    The UN drug control conventions
    Dave Bewley-Taylor Martin Jelsma
    Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr. 18
    March 2012

    Faced with a complex range of drug related problems, a growing number of nations are exploring the development of nationally appropriate policies that shift away from the prohibition-oriented approach that has long dominated the field but is losing more and more legitimacy. In so doing, such countries must pay close attention to the UN based global drug control framework of which practically all nations are a part.

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  • The UN International Narcotics Control Board Releases 2011 Annual Report

    Accuses Bolivia of Threatening Integrity of the Global Drug Control System by Reserving the Right to Use Coca Leaf
    TNI/WOLA Press release
    February 28, 2012

    tni_wola2The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which monitors implementation of the global drug treaties, has trained its fire on Bolivia, this time accusing the country of threatening the integrity of the entire international drug control regime by defending traditional uses of the coca leaf.

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