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  1. INCB Report: mixed thoughts

    Martin Jelsma
    02 March 2011
    Other news

    Today the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) released its annual report. I’ve been following the Board for many, many years now, have often criticized its narrow interpretation of the treaties, have questioned the validity of its usually negative comments about any policy changes in the direction of harm reduction or decriminalization, and have warned repeatedly about its tendency to overstep its clearly defined mandate.

  2. Objections and support for Bolivia's coca amendment

    01 March 2011
    Other news

    After the closure of the January 31, 2011, deadline to file objections to the Bolivian amendment to remove the ban on coca leaf chewing in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 18 objections were submitted. Although not required, four countries explicitly submitted their support: Spain, Ecuador, Venezuela and Costa Rica. Egypt, Macedonia and Colombia withdrew their objections.

  3. The development of international drug control

    • Martin Jelsma
    15 February 2011
    Policy briefing

    The emergence of more pragmatic and less punitive approaches to the drugs issue may represent the beginning of change in the current global drug control regime.

  4. Seventeen objections to abolishing the ban on coca chewing

    Tom Blickman
    07 February 2011
    In the media

    The final count after closure of the January 31 deadline to file objections to the Bolivian amendment to remove the ban on coca leaf chewing in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, comes to 17 objections: the US, UK, Sweden, Canada, Denmark, Germany, the Russian Federation, Japan, Singapore, Slovakia, Estonia, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Latvia, Malaysia and Mexico. That means that only 17 of the 184 countries that are Party to the treaty (as amended by the 1972 Protocol) have filed an objection. We call on them to still reconsider and withdraw their objection before the issue appears on the UN agenda for a decision.

  5. D-Day for Bolivia’s coca chewing amendment

    Martin Jelsma
    03 February 2011
    Article

    Bolivias proposed amendment to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961) lays bare U.S. hypocrisy and the European divide.

  6. D-Day for Bolivia’s coca chewing amendment

    Martin Jelsma
    31 January 2011
    Other news

    Today is the deadline for countries to submit objections to Bolivia’s proposed amendment to remove the ban on coca leaf chewing in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. As far as we know, six countries have formally notified the UN that they reject Bolivia’s amendment: the United States (January 19), Sweden (Jan 20), the United Kingdom (Jan 21), Canada (Jan 26), Denmark (Jan 28) and Germany (Jan 28). Some other European countries may add their objections today.

  7. Bolivia fights objections to coca-leaf chewing

    28 January 2011
    Article

    Bolivia will ask the United Nations to organize a conference on coca leaf-chewing if the U.S., Britain and Sweden don't withdraw their objections to the country's efforts to drop the ban on the age-old practice in an international treaty, Bolivia's U.N. ambassador said Friday.

  8. The U.S. Can Still Correct its Position on Bolivia's UN Coca Chewing Amendment

    28 January 2011
    Press release

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Andean Information Network (AIN), and more than 200 other concerned organizations and individuals yesterday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, calling for the Obama administration to immediately withdraw its objection to Bolivia’s proposed amendment to the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.

  9. Press Conference by Bolivia on Amendment to Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    28 January 2011
    Other news

    Bolivia would continue its campaign to remove from a United Nations convention a ban on coca leaf chewing and take its case to the Economic and Social Council, if necessary, Pablo Solón, the country’s Permanent Representative said today at a Headquarters press conference.

  10. Coca-chewing Bolivians press for end to UN ban

    26 January 2011
    Other news

    Bolivians chewed coca leaves in demonstrations around the country Wednesday to push for a change in a 1961 UN convention to remove a ban on a practice that has been part of indigenous cultures here for millennia. Protesters gathered outside the US embassy in La Paz to chew the leaf as part of a day of demonstrations around the country celebrating the coca plant and demanding that the UN Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs be amended.

  11. Time to push the reset button on the drug war

    26 January 2011
    Other news

    Most Americans believe that their country’s forty-year “war on drugs” has failed. Yet, despite the costs and growing opposition to US antinarcotics strategy across Latin America, the US debate on drug policy remains muted. It is time now to end the silent tolerance of ineffective, socially harmful laws, institutions, and policies, and usher in a serious national discussion of how to reform US drug control strategies.

  12. Bolivia energises campaign to legalise coca leaf

    Rory Carroll
    21 January 2011
    In the media

    Bolivia and the US are set for more battles over the coca leaf as Evo Morales attempts to overturn the legality of the indigenous plant.

  13. Bolivia launches coca leaf diplomatic offensive

    21 January 2011
    Other news

    Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca is on a European tour in a bid to drum up support for taking coca off a UN treaty on banned drugs. Spanish foreign minister Trinidad Jimenez told Mr Choquehuanca in Madrid that she "understood" Bolivia's demand and would try to mediate with other European countries thought to be considering an objection. Spain has already given its support to the Bolivian campaign. The US sent a letter to the United Nations saying it was opposed to the move.

  14. Let them chew coca

    Icaria Editorial
    20 January 2011
    Other news

    The constraint on fresh thinking was on shameful display this week. A UN convention, reaffirmed in 2009, imposes a blanket prohibition on drugs. This includes even the traditional use of coca leaves by Andean Indians for chewing and tea. This ban has never been enforced and in 2009 Bolivia asked the UN to lift it—though not restrictions on coca cultivation for cocaine. With a deadline of the end of this month, America has lodged an objection and Britain looks poised to follow (see article). Traditional uses of coca are not addictive and are as much part of Andean culture as a cuppa is in Britain or beer in Texas. One reason for objecting seems to be that approval might open up a wider debate about legalising drugs.

  15. The coca leaf: Storm in an Andean teacup

    20 January 2011
    Other news

    The United States’ State Department’s website recommends coca tea for altitude sickness, and its La Paz embassy has been known to serve it to visitors. The UN’s declaration on indigenous peoples, which the United States endorsed last month, guarantees the protection of “cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions”.

  16. US objects to Bolivia bid for licit coca-chewing

    Frank Bajak
    20 January 2011
    In the media

    The United States will file a formal objection to Bolivia's proposal to end the ban on coca leaf-chewing specified by a half-century-old U.N. treaty.

  17. Bolivia energises campaign to legalise coca leaf

    Rory Carroll, Latin America correspondent
    19 January 2011
    Other news

    Bolivia and the US set for more battles over the coca leaf as Evo Morales attempts to overturn legality of the indigenous plant. US diplomats are due to file a formal objection to Bolivia's attempt to amend a half-century-old UN ban, claiming it would promote the raw ingredient for cocaine and undermine the "war on drugs".

  18. US objects to Bolivia bid for licit coca-chewing

    Frank Bajak from Bogota
    18 January 2011
    Article

    The United States will file a formal objection Wednesday to Bolivia's proposal to end the ban on coca leaf-chewing specified by a half-century-old U.N. treaty, according to a senior U.S. government official. "We hope that a number of other countries will file as well," the official told The Associated Press on Tuesday. He spoke on condition he not be further identified, citing the topic's political sensitivity.

  19. Spain will not object to the Bolivian proposal to remove coca chewing from UN convention on drugs

    18 January 2011
    Other news

    Spain will not put forward any objection to the Bolivian proposal to remove the obligation to abolish coca chewing from the 1961 UN Single Convention on drugs. Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez said that “Spain has from the very beginning shown its understanding for Bolivia's position” and has “demonstrated this in various fora at European and international level.” Other European countries, such as France, the UK, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Denmark, are considering submitting formal objections. Because Spain will not object and several other EU countries tend more to the Spanish position, a common European Union position will not be possible. Read the press release of Bolivian embassy in Madrid.

  20. The U.S. Moves to Block Bolivia’s Request to Eliminate U.N. Ban on Coca Leaf Chewing

    18 January 2011
    Press release

    The Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Transnational Institute (TNI) have learned that the United States is moving to oppose, as soon as this week, Bolivia’s formal request to remove the obligation to ban the chewing of coca leaves— an indigenous practice dating back more than 2,000 years. TNI and WOLA strongly encourage countries to support Bolivia’s proposal, which is a legitimate request based on scientific evidence and respect for cultural and indigenous rights.  

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