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  1. Image of UN Flag

    UNGASS review reaches critical stage

    03 November 2008
    Article

    The review of the objectives and action plans agreed at the 1998 UNGASS on Drugs has reached a critical stage. Following the thematic debate at the 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and the five expert working groups held in Vienna over the summer, the attention now moves to the political process of negotiating the text of a political declaration to be agreed at the high level meeting in March 2009.

  2. The need for increased transparency

    • David Bewley-Taylor
    29 October 2010

    The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) remains one of the least transparent and most secretive of UN bodies. It meets in secret, and while agendas can now be found on the INCB’s website, no minutes of its meetings are published, nor are the analyses by which it arrives at its positions on policy issues.

     

  3. UN needs to chew on its drug policy

    Tom Blickman
    07 March 2008
    Article

    In an article in the National Post from Canada, journalist Steve Edwards mocks the wisdom of the INCBs recent recommendation to 'abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea'.

  4. In drug war, failed old ideas never die

    Bernd Debusmann
    26 February 2010
    Article

    WASHINGTON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Here's a stern warning to the U.S. states of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. A United Nations body is displeased with your liberal medical marijuana laws. Very displeased.

  5. International Law and Drug Policy Reform

    16 July 2015

    Drug policy reform is currently higher on the international agenda than it has been in recent memory. With a United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs set for 19-21 April 2016, the prominence of this issue will further increase. Significant legal and policy reforms at the national level have taken place in recent years that pose considerable challenges to the international legal framework for drug control, and beg important questions regarding states’ international legal obligations.

  6. Treaty guardians in distress

    Martin Jelsma
    12 July 2011
    Article

    The guardian of the UN drug control treaties has proved unable to respond in a rational manner to the need for radical reform of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. 

  7. Blessing in disguise?

    Tom Blickman
    09 March 2008
    Article

    Yesterday, President Evo Morales of Bolivia sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon rejecting the recommendations of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) to "abolish or prohibit coca leaf chewing and the manufacture of coca tea." Morales qualified the attitude of the INCB as colonial and accused the Board members of lacking the necessary scientific background.

  8. Unique in International Relations?

    • Damon Barrett
    21 February 2008

    In a new report released in February 2008 by the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA), the INCB comes in for some heavy criticism for being overly secretive, closed to external dialogue with civil society, and out of kilter with similar agencies in other UN programmes. IHRA also debunks the INCB’s defence that it is ‘unique in international relations’. 

    Download the full report (PDF)

  9. Cannabis regulation in Uruguay: "Someone has to be first ..."

    John Walsh, Martin Jelsma
    17 July 2012
    Article

    Uruguay may be poised to become the first country to opt for a state controlled and legally regulated cannabis market for medical as well as recreational purposes, including cultivation and distribution. Announced on June 20, Uruguay’s brave proposal might indeed become the historical breakthrough in the drug policy stalemate that many around the world have been waiting and hoping for. As Uruguayan President José Mujica aptly put it, “someone has to be first.”

  10. Bolivia’s legal reconciliation with the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs

    11 July 2011
    Report

    On 29 June 2011, the Bolivian government denounced the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as amended by the 1972 Protocol, indicating its intention to re-accede with a reservation allowing for the traditional use of the coca leaf. This decision was triggered by Bolivia’s need to balance its obligations under the international drug control system with its constitutional and other international legal commitments. The move follows the rejection of Bolivia’s proposal to amend the Single Convention by deleting the obligation to abolish coca leaf chewing (Article 49) earlier this year.

     

  11. Scheduling in the international drug control system

    • David Bewley-Taylor, Martin Jelsma, Christopher Hallam
    16 June 2014
    Policy briefing

    Scheduling is mostly prioritised in its repressive pole, though present debates are increasingly highlighting the need to modify the balance of the system in order to affirm the importance of the principle of health.

  12. Call to United Nations to take immediate action on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines

    05 August 2016
    Press release

    Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.

  13. domino

    INCB vs Uruguay: the art of diplomacy

    Martin Jelsma
    17 December 2013
    Article

    International tensions over Uruguay’s decision to regulate the cannabis market reached new levels when Raymond Yans, president of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), accused Uruguay of negligence with regard to public health concerns, deliberately blocking dialogue attempts and having a "pirate attitude" towards the UN conventions. President Mujica reacted angrily, declaring that someone should "tell that guy to stop lying," while Milton Romani, ambassador to the Organisation of American States (OAS), said that Yans "should consider resigning because this is not how you treat sovereign states."

  14. Is the INCB dangerous to your health?

    Daniel Wolfe, director of the International Harm Reduction Development Program, director of Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program
    04 March 2013
    Article

    In what has become a chilling annual exercise, the UN's drug watchdog the International Narcotics Control Board released its annual report today. The INCB describes itself as a "quasi-judicial" group of experts charged with monitoring compliance with international drug control treaties, but the report's drug war bias and egregious omissions makes us wonder who is judging the judges.

  15. Argentina and Mexico clash with the INCB

    Tom Blickman
    31 March 2010
    Article

    The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in Vienna in March 2010 was a rather uneventful event. One of the most controversial issues were the comments of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) in its 2009 Annual Report on the trend to decriminalize possession for personal use in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. Both Argentina and Mexico voiced strong objections on the INCB remarks.

  16. INCB speaks out against death penalty

    Martin Jelsma
    05 March 2014
    Opinion

    UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) unprecedented condemnation of the use of death penalty for drug-related offences is welcome if long overdue. The bigger question is whether INCB’s consideration of human rights can be extended into a proper human rights and evidence-based examination of UN’s entire drug control regime.

  17. The UN International Narcotics Control Board Releases 2011 Annual Report

    28 February 2012
    Press release

    The UN’s International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), which monitors implementation of the global drug treaties, has trained its fire on Bolivia, this time accusing the country of threatening the integrity of the entire international drug control regime by defending traditional uses of the coca leaf.

     

  18. INCB hearing on the use of cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes

    David Bewley-Taylor
    14 May 2018
    Article

    TNI's Prof. Dave Bewley-Taylor recently delivered a statement on how states can reconcile treaty obligations with democratically mandated policy shifts at the national level to a legally regulated cannabis market, with due regard for international law, and what role the International Narcotics Control Board can play in this process.

  19. Towards revision of the UN drug control conventions

    • David Bewley-Taylor
    08 March 2012
    Policy briefing

    Recent years have seen a growing unwillingness among increasing numbers of States parties to fully adhere to a strictly prohibitionist reading of the UN drug control conventions; the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (as amended by the 1972 Protocol), the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances; and the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

     

  20. INCB Interferes with Countries' Sovereignty

    TNI/WOLA Drug Law Reform Project
    24 February 2010
    Article

    The UN's International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) 2009 annual report criticizes Argentina, Brazil and Mexico for moving to decriminalize the possession of drugs for personal consumption, cautioning that such moves may "send the wrong message." According to the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the criticisms overstep the INCB's mandate and constitute unwarranted intrusions into these countries' sovereign decision-making. 

    Download the press release (PDF)

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