The excellent summary below is via Paul D:
The Human Rights Council recently requested that the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights prepare a study, in consultation with States, United Nations agencies and other relevant stakeholders, to be presented to the Council at its thirtieth session, on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights, including recommendations on respect for, and the protection and promotion of, universal human rights.
In the resulting report, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has recommended the decriminalisation of possession and use of all drugs, and noted that the “War on Drugs” model increases the incidence of drug-related harm, represses the human rights of marginalised groups throughout the world, and forms a significant barrier to the goals of equal access to health care and the right to health.
The report will inform UNHRC’s contribution to the upcoming UN general Assembly Special Session on drug (UNGASS).
The call for decriminalisation is just one of a number of key recommendations which are aimed to protect the right to health and the rights of children, women, prisoners, indigenous populations and other marginalised groups.
“In its resolution 69/201, the General Assembly reaffirmed that the world drug problem must be countered in full conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and with full respect for all human rights. By its resolution 51/12, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs called for the promotion of human rights in implementing international drug control treaties, and the International Narcotics Control Board has stated that human rights must be taken into account when interpreting international drug control treaties. The Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health has argued that when the international drug control regime and international human rights law conflict, human rights obligations should prevail (see A/65/255, para. 10)”…
…“28. WHO has recommended decriminalizing drug use, including injecting drug use, as doing so could play a critical role in the implementation of its recommendations on health sector interventions, including harm reduction and the treatment and care of people who use drugs. UNAIDS too has recommended decriminalizing drug use as a means to reduce the number of HIV infections and to treat AIDS.
- The Special Rapporteur has identified many ways in which criminalizing drug use and possession impedes the achievement of the right to health. He has called for the decriminalization of drug use and possession as an important step towards fulfilling the right to health. He has noted that decriminalizing drug use cannot be equated with legalizing it. Decriminalization means that drug use and possession remain legally prohibited but that criminal penalties, if they are applied at all, are minor and of a non-custodial nature. Legalization, by contrast, involves no prohibition of the relevant conduct (see A/65/255, para. 62).
- The Special Rapporteur has noted as positive the decriminalization experience in Portugal (see A/65/255, para. 64). In 2001, all drugs for personal use were decriminalized and drug use was characterized as an administrative offence. This was combined with an increased public health and social response to assist drug users. Portugal has not witnessed a material increase in drug use; in fact, indicators for certain groups show a decrease. Positive effects have included the destigmatization of drug users and the unburdening of the criminal justice system. The International Narcotics Control Board has indicated that the move to decriminalize drug use in Portugal was consistent with the 1988 Convention. In total, 22 States have adopted decriminalization measures of one kind or another, although not always on the grounds of promoting public health. The Special Rapporteur has indicated that decriminalization should be accompanied by an expansion in drug treatment programmes and drug education (see A/65/255, para. 67). On 26 June 2015, on the occasion of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, the Secretary-General stated that consideration should be given to alternatives to criminalization and incarceration of people who use drugs and that there should be an increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care, as well as on economic, social and cultural strategies. Decriminalization has been called for by a number of civil society organizations on the grounds that criminalization poses a major obstacle to public health responses to drug users and their right to health…”
Follow the link, and then scroll down to A/HRC/30/65 to download the entire report;