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  1. Coca leaf: Myths and Reality

    • Tom Blickman
    05 August 2014
    Primer

    Many myths surround coca. Every day press accounts around the world use the word coca in their headlines, when in fact they refer to cocaine. TNI's Drugs and Democracy Team exposes the myths and reality surrounding the coca leaf.

  2. Coca Leaf

    01 January 2015
    Topic

    The coca leaf has been chewed and brewed for tea for centuries in the Andean region – and does not cause any harm and is probably beneficial to human health. Yet the leaf is treated as if it is comparable to cocaine or heroin. The inclusion of the coca leaf in the list of narcotic drugs raises questions about the logic behind the current system of classification under the UN conventions. TNI believes we can find a more culturally sensitive approach to plants with psychoactive or mildly stimulant properties, and should distinguish more between problematic, recreational and traditional uses of psychoactive substances.

  3. Ómar with his coffee plants

    Coca and the Colombian Peace Accords

    Martin Jelsma, Coletta Youngers
    11 August 2017
    Article

    Getting to the Briceño region in the heart of Antioquia requires an excellent vehicle, and a lot of time and luck. The week before our journey there in mid-July, heavy rains wiped out part of the road between Briceño and Pueblo Nuevo, stranding folks on one side or the other. We were lucky on the day of our journey – no rain. But it took a six-hour drive to get from Medellín to Briceño, and another three hours of sometimes harrowing curves to Pueblo Nuevo. The dirt-road drive itself was a stark reminder of the challenges Colombia faces as it seeks to eliminate 50,000 hectares of coca this year through the crop substitution program, Programa Nacional Integral de Sustitución de Cultivos de Uso Ilícito (National Comprehensive Program for the Substitution of Illicit Crops), known by the acronym PNIS.

  4. Hojas de coca

    Migrants and Traditional Use

    Pien Metaal, Constanza Sánchez, Natalia Rebollo
    25 April 2019
    Article

    How to reconcile migrant communities’ right to the enjoyment of cultural life (including the use of traditional plants) with international drug control obligations.

  5. “A Declaration of War on Us”: The 2018 VFV Law Amendment and its Impact on Ethnic Nationalities

    Transnational Institute (TNI)
    13 December 2018
    Article

    The right to land for all peoples is essential for peace, democracy and development.

  6. 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.

  7. Amendment against anti-coca chewing provisions

    Martin Jelsma, Pien Metaal
    21 July 2009
    Article

    In March 2009, Evo Morales sent his formal request to the Secretary General Bang Ki Moon to delete articles 49(c) and 49(e) of the 1961 UN Single Convention that explicitly mention that "coca leaf chewing must be abolished with twenty-five years from the coming into force of this Convention" (which happened in December 1964). The request will be discussed on Thursday, 30 July, at the annual meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Putting this request on the ECOSOC agenda is a required procedure for amendment proposals. It is under Agenda item 14 (d), Narcotic drugs, General Segment (see the Note of Secretary General).

  8. Diplomatic games to oppose lifting unjust ban on coca chewing

    Tom Blickman
    16 January 2011
    Article

    According to the government of Bolivia, the only three countries that did file a formal objection to the amendment of Bolivia to abolish the ban on coca leaf chewing in the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, withdrew their objections.

  9. Lifting the ban on coca chewing

    • Martin Jelsma
    10 March 2011

    This briefing paper analyses the reasons behind Bolivia’s proposal to remove from the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs the obligation to abolish the practice of coca chewing and the opposing arguments that have been brought forward.

  10. 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.

  11. Image of UN Flag

    Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.   

     

  12. Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    01 March 2010

    This briefing offers some background on the issue to amend the UN Single Convention towards a more coherent and realistic stance on the ancient tradition of coca leaf chewing. The issue was raised by Bolivia and adopted at the July 2009 ECOSOC meeting. Noticing confusion amongst some countries about the motives and impact of such amendment, this briefing aims to shed some light on the case.

  13. Coca chewing out of the UN convention?

    Martin Jelsma
    21 August 2009
    Article

    On July 30th the Bolivian proposal to amend the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs by deleting the obligation to abolish the chewingof coca leaf was on the ECOSOC agenda (UN Social and Economic Council). After informal negotiations, the 54 members of ECOSOC decided unanimously to pass the amendment proposal on to the Parties of the Convention for their consideration. They now have 18 months to express any objections or comments on the Bolivian request.

  14. 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.

  15. "Let Me Chew My Coca Leaves"

    15 March 2009
    Article

    The first day at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs was marked by the announcement of President Evo Morales of Bolivia that he would start the process to remove the coca leaf from the 1961 Single Convention as well as the suspension of the paragraphs of that convention that prohibit the traditional chewing of coca leaf. Holding up a coca leaf in front of delegates at the UN summit on drugs he underlined his demand.

  16. 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.  

  17. Thumbnail

    UN accepts “coca leaf chewing” in Bolivia

    14 January 2013
    In the media

    Bolivia will again belong to the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs after its bid to rejoin with a reservation that it does not accept the treaty’s requirement that “coca leaf chewing must be banned” was successful Friday. Opponents needed one-third of the 184 signatory countries to object, but fell far, far short despite objections by the US and the International Narcotics Control Board.

  18. Thumbnail

    US, Few Others Object to Bolivia UN Coca-Chewing Bid

    04 January 2013
    In the media

    Formal objections from four Western countries are the latest twist in Bolivia's effort to remove the international proscription on the ancestral habit of coca leaf chewing.

  19. 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.

  20. Objections to Bolivia's reservation to allow coca chewing in the UN conventions

    Tom Blickman
    09 January 2013
    Article

    Sweden joined the United States and the United Kingdom in objecting to the re-accession of Bolivia to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Italy and Canada also objected, but the objection of Sweden is particularly disturbing.

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