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25 items
  1. 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.

  2. Technical Report on Alternatives to Incarceration for Drug-Related Offenses

    22 April 2015
    Report

    Convinced that responses to the drug problem should be comprehensive, centering on public health and human rights perspectives, the Government of Colombia, with the support of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), is committed to encouraging the debate on alternatives which allow for a focus on the individual, moving beyond approaches solely based on repression.

  3. Towards a Healthier Legal Environment

    • Ernestien Jensema, Martin Jelsma, Tom Kramer, Nang Pann Ei Kham, Gloria Lai, Tripti Tandon
    16 February 2015
    Report

    The decision of the Myanmar Government to review drug laws is not only timely, but also offers a prospect to improve the drugs legislation and to ensure that the laws address drug-related problems in the country more effectively.

  4. The United States rethinks draconian drug sentencing policies

    • Elizabeth Lincoln
    27 January 2015

    Across the Americas, an unprecedented debate on drug policy reform is underway. While a regional consensus on what form those reforms should take remains elusive, there are at least two issues where consensus is growing: the need to address drug use as a public health, rather than criminal, issue and the need to promote alternatives to incarceration for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders and ensure proportionality in sentencing for drug-related crimes. Draconian drug laws were often adopted in Latin American countries with the encouragement – if not outright diplomatic, political and economic pressure – from the U.S. government.

  5. Drugs and violence in the Northern Triangle

    Pien Metaal, Liza ten Velde
    08 July 2014
    Article

    The upsurge in violence in Central America’s Northern Triangle is often named in one breath with the drugs market. While violence clearly thrives from an illegal trade met with exclusively repressive state responses, assumptions on cause and effect are frequently flawed or blurred.

  6. Addicted to punishment

    • Jorge Parra Norato, Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, Diana Esther Guzmán
    21 January 2013
    Paper

    This report reveals the average maximum sentence for a drug offense rose from 34 years in prison in 1950 to 141 years today and in three countries surveyed, drug trafficking was subject to longer maximum and minimum penalties than murder.

  7. Addicted to punishment

    • Rodrigo Uprimny Yepes, Diana Esther Guzmán, Jorge Parra Norato
    31 December 2012

    In Latin America, trafficking cocaine so it can be sold to someone who wants to use it is more serious than raping a woman or deliberately killing your neighbor. While it may seem incredible, that is the conclusion of a rigorous study of the evolution of criminal legislation in the region, which shows that countries’ judicial systems mete out harsher penalties for trafficking even modest amounts of drugs than for acts as heinous as sexual assault or murder.

     

  8. human-rights-day

    Drugs, crime and punishment

    • Gloria Lai
    20 June 2012
    Policy briefing

    Proportionality is one of the key principles of the rule of law aiming to protect people from cruel or inhumane treatment. The principle has been established in interna­tional and regional human rights agree­ments and many countries have adopted reflections of it in their constitution or penal code. Its applica­tion to drug-related offences is firstly the responsibility of the legislators, in defining the level of penalisa­tion of certain behaviours.

  9. women-prisons

    Cause for Alarm

    • Eka Iakobishvili
    04 April 2012

    The new report is the first to calculate the total number of females in prisons on drug offences in Europe and Central Asia. It provides an analysis of developments related to women drug offending and the criminal justice system in Europe and Central Asia, and also largely focuses on numbers of women convicted for drug offending (violation of drug laws) that are in prisons.

     

  10. Improving community health and safety in Canada through evidence-based policies on illegal drugs

    • Evan Wood, Moira McKinnon, Robert Strang, Perry R. Kendall
    28 March 2012

    The use of illegal drugs remains a serious threat to community health. However, despite the substantial social costs attributable to illegal drugs, a well-described discordance between scientific evidence and policy exists in this area, such that most resources go to drug law enforcement activities that have not been well evaluated. When the Office of the Auditor General of Canada last reviewed the country’s drug strategy, in 2001, it estimated that of the $454 million spent annually on efforts to control illicit drugs, $426 million (93.8%) was devoted to law enforcement.

     

  11. Justices to Decide on Fairness in Drug Sentences

    28 November 2011
    Other news

    The Supreme Court agreed to resolve a question that has vexed the lower federal courts since Congress enacted a law to narrow the gap between sentences meted out for offenses involving two kinds of cocaine. Selling cocaine in crack form used to subject offenders to the same sentence one would get for selling 100 times as much in powder. The new law, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, reduced the disparity to 18 to 1, at least for people who committed their offenses after the law became effective on Aug. 3, 2010.

  12. Cannabis social club activists in Spain liberated

    Tom Blickman
    22 November 2011
    Article

    Cultivation and consumption of cannabis is decriminalised to an extent but lack of guidelines causes rogue social clubs to undermine the success of self-regulated social clubs. The result; an unwarranted arrest of three Pannagh activists. 

  13. Drugs and the law: state of confusion

    02 June 2011
    Other news

    Forty years after the introduction of the 1971 Misuse of Drugs Act, more than 2.8 million people report using illicit drugs every year in England and Wales. While cannabis remains overwhelmingly the most popular, this Home Office total also includes 800,000 mainly young adults who put the country at the top of the European league table for powder cocaine use.

  14. Conviction by Numbers

    • Genevieve Harris
    27 May 2011

    Threshold quantities (TQs) for drug law and policy are being experimented with across many jurisdictions. States seem attracted to their apparent simplicity and use them to determine, for example, whether: a possession or supply offence is made out (e.g. Greece); a matter should be diverted away from the criminal justice system (e.g. Portugal); or a case should fall within a certain sentencing range (e.g. UK).

     

  15. Expert Seminar on Proportionality of Sentencing for Drug Offences

    20 May 2011
    Report

    There has in recent years been a renewed interest in the principle of proportionality in sentencing policy for drug offences. There has been official analysis of the issue by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and several national initiatives that have inscribed a requirement for proportionality when sentencing in statute or penal code, asserted it through the courts, or, as with the UK Consultation on sentencing for drug offences by the Sentencing Council of England and Wales, are continuing to explore the concept through policy processes.

     

  16. Controlling and Regulating Drugs

    03 May 2011

    The New Zealand Law Commission was asked to address the efficacy of the Misuse of Drugs Act in reducing the demand for, and supply of, drugs prohibited under the International Drug Conventions. The Commission has recommended the existing Act be repealed and replaced by a new Act administered by the Ministry of Health. Justice Hammond said the thrust of the proposed new Act is to facilitate a more effective interface between the criminal justice and health sectors: “We need to recognise that the abuse of drugs is both a health and a criminal public policy problem.”

     

  17. Review drags drug law into 21st Century

    03 May 2011
    Other news

    New Zealand’s 35-year-old Misuse of Drugs Act should be consigned to the rubbish heap of history and replaced with a modern, flexible, health-focussed law fit for purpose for the 21st Century, said the New Zealand Drug Foundation today. The Drug Foundation was responding to the Law Commission’s recommendations for reforming the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975, which was tabled today in Parliament.  The report makes 144 recommendations for a new legislative and policy approach to reducing the country’s drug problem, and is a result of a comprehensive 2 year review of New Zealand’s obsolete drug law.

    See: New Zealand Law Commission report: Controlling and Regulating Drugs – A Review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975

  18. 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.

  19. Trends in Drug Law Reform in Europe and Latin America

    • Martin Jelsma
    26 January 2010

    This presentation gives a short overview of legislative reforms in Europe and Latin America that provide lessons learned in practice about less punitive approaches intended to reduce drug-related harm to the individual and society.  Evidence suggests that fears that softening drug laws and their enforcement would lead to sharp increases in drug use, have proven untrue.

     

  20. Drug Decriminalization: A Trend Takes Shape

    Coletta Youngers, John Walsh
    21 September 2009
    Article

    The trend of "drug decriminalization" is quickly taking shape in Latin America. Increasingly, many countries are leaning toward decriminalization as an alternative approach, hoping that it will be effective both in reducing consumption and dealing with associated health problems.

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