End the War on Drugs

Global Commission on Drug Policy calls for reform of international drug control

On June 2, 2011, the Global Commission on Drug Policy presented its report in New York, calling to break the taboo on debate and reform of international drug control policies. The high-profile panel calls the global war on drugs a failure and recommends a paradigm shift towards harm reduction, decriminalization and legal regulation of cannabis. TNI has been closely involved in the initiative and its Latin American predecessor in an advisory capacity. Martin Jelsma of TNI’s drugs policy programme wrote a background paper for the Commission’s meeting in Geneva earlier this year: The development of international drug control: lessons learned and strategic challenges for the future.

The 19-member Global Commission includes former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, two former UN High Commissioners and a former UN Special Rapporteur, the Executive Director of the Global Fund, former US official George Schultz, former US Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, former presidents of Mexico, Brazil, Colombia and Switzerland, authors Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, former EU High Representative Javier Solana, and George Papandreou, the current prime minister of Greece. Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil and one of the initiators and key promoters, will meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to discuss how the UN could help to achieve a breakthrough in the politicized stalemate that has plagued the search for alternative strategies for so long.

The Global Commission report supports many of the recommendations TNI has been promoting over the years, including a paradigm shift towards harm reduction and full respect for human rights in drug control, decriminalisation of users and small farmers, exploration of legal regulation models for the cannabis market, respect for indigenous cultures including a rescheduling of the coca leaf, and opening the debate about the future of the UN drug control conventions.

Global advocacy organization AVAAZ, with its nine million members worldwide, will present a public petition in support of the Global Commission’s recommendations that will be hand-delivered to the United Nations Secretary General tomorrow.

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