Debate on alternatives to the war on drugs, which TNI has promoted for years, is finally received unprecedented attention as several Latin America presidents put it on the agenda of the highest level intergovernmental meeting in the hemisphere.
The Chinese Government's opium substitution programmes in northern Burma and Laos have prompted a booming rubber industry, but the beneficiaries have been a small few with many others losing their lands as a result.
This report summarises the lessons of TNI's 10 years of work in the field of international drug policy, emphasising drug controls that respect human rights: the rights of farmers caught in the illicit economy to a life in dignity; decriminalisation of drug use; and the promotion of harm reduction approaches where they are proven to save lives.
The 2008 UN World Drug Report tries to hide the failures of drug control policy behind a bad history lesson. Instead of a clear acknowledgement that the UN’s own 10-year targets have not been met, it offers a narrative of 100 years of success, fabricating a comparison with Chinese opium production and use at the turn of the 20th century.
The United States is putting strong pressure on the Afghan government to officially adopt the strategy of eradicating the opium poppy through aerial spraying of the crops with the herbicide glyphosate.
Despite 2006 witnessing the most intensive use of fumigation in the country’s history, some 157,200 hectares of cultivation areas were detected, 13,200 hectares more than in 2005. Is the fumigation strategy failing?
The INCB, rather than making harsh judgements based on a selective choice of outdated treaty articles, should use its mandate more constructively and help draw attention to the inherent contradictions in the current treaty system with regard to how plants, plant-based raw materials and traditional uses are treated.
The insistence on fumigation, despite its undeniable failure in practice, is a sign that fumigation involves interests that go beyond antinarcotics and represent what are essentially political interests, to justify the US military and law enforcement presence in such a sensitive region.
Re-establishing fumigation is not going to legitimise or win acceptance of the State's activities in the territory of the Park. It is not going to protect the Park from the environmental deterioration generated by the critical interventions of social and military actors in the war. It is also not going to really affect the FARC's "bankroll". What it will do is create well-fertilised territory for the prolonging of the armed conflict.
In its 2006 World Drug Report, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) struggles to construct success stories to convince the world that the global drug control regime has been an effective instrument.
The increasing number of injecting drug users (IDUs) and the growing HIV/AIDS epidemic in Burma presents one of the most serious health threats to the population in the country, and also to the region at large. Infection rates among IDUs in Burma are among the highest in the world. The international community needs to make a firm commitment to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Burma and should ensure sufficient and long-term financial support for HIV/AIDS and harm reduction programmes.