International Community is getting a move on. Throughout this week, the UN headquarters in New York are hosting an assembly in which 193 States are involved. The objective? To change the legal approach and policies on drugs, prioritizing public health and human rights.
Why is it so important this summit? Participants are debating on whether it’s appropriate to quit the fight against drugs, which much violence and conflict has generated in many areas all over the globe. The second UNGASS meeting, held in 2008, ended with a general agreement and the signing of an Action Plan to eradicate trafficking and drug consumption worldwide. 10 years later, governments of Mexico, Guatemala and Colombia dwell on a new path, convinced that it is more than evident that hard-line policies and drug use criminalization has brought along direct negative effects on their populations.
Corruption, violence and insecurity, a difficult triad to manage territories flagged by the conflict in the illegal drug trade.
According to the data handled by Human Rights Watch, more than 60,000 people were killed in Mexico and more than 26,000 disappeared between 2006 and 2012 as a consequence of the war on drugs. A human cost that civil society can no longer ignore and it needs a global response, backed by international cooperation.
Decriminalise and regulate drugs seems to be the safest and urgent way in which many countries are starting their own path. See the case of Uruguay, Chile and the United States, where legally access to medical marijuana is already legally allowed, and in some cases, to the recreational one too.
During his intervention at UNGASS, Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico, has made clear the direction the new drug policy should take: "The aim is to review the current international strategy and, above all, define the best solutions, from a human rights perspective, prevention and public health, to focus it on people’s welfare."
We hope that the experience of countries marked by conflict will raise awareness at the UN and work towards safer ways of consumption, access and production.
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