A draft bill amending Myanmar 1993 Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Law was published in newspapers in March 2017 for public consultation. It was subsequently discussed in the upper house of Parliament (Amyothar Hluttaw) on 16 August 2017.
Between 10 and 25 June 2017, the Transnational Institute organised a Southeast Asian advocacy fellowship programme on drug policy reform, attended by seven participants from Thailand, Cambodia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Myanmar. One of the participants, Viona Wijaya from Indonesia, shares her experiences in this article.
The following statement by Abdellatif Adebibe of the Moroccan Confederation of Associations for the Development of the Senhaja Rif Region, was due to be screened as a civil society contribution to a discussion on alternative development and development-oriented drug policy at an intersessional meeting of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna. Abdellatif represented cannabis farmers at UNGASS 2016, following the meeting of the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants in Heemskerk, the Netherlands, organised by TNI.
Together with the Cannabis News Network, Martin Jelsma travelled to Colombia to report on the newly emerging medical cannabis industry in the country, specifically looking at the impacts of private investment and licensing on farmers and indigenous communities.
Jamie Bridge, Martin Jelsma, Tom Blickman, Marie Nougier, Dave Bewley-Taylor, Christopher Hallam
29 September 2017
Diplomatic processes at the United Nations are notoriously slow and difficult, perhaps increasingly so in a modern world of multi-polar geopolitics and tensions. This is certainly no different for the highly charged and provocative issue of international drug control.
Myanmar is better known for its serious drug problems - including large-scale illicit drugs production and trafficking and high rates of heroin use - than for implementing progressive drug policies that prioritise the health of its population. However, this could change in the near future.
In a letter to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a global network of 177 NGOs, expresses strong support for the Peace Accord signed by the Colombian government and the FARC, while also expressing deep concern regarding intensified, and increasingly militarized, forced coca eradication efforts, especially in areas where communities have already signed crop substitution agreements.
Initially focusing on coca producing areas in the Andean Region, TNI's work on Drugs & Conflict has since expanded to cover the world’s main opium producing areas with a focus on Myanmar and Afghanistan. Over the past two decades, TNI staff has worked extensively with local organisations and researchers to advocate for more inclusive, effective and humane approaches to drug related issues in these conflict situations, while analysing the links between drug use, production, and conflict and what these mean for efforts to promote peaceful and just societies. TNI also focuses on promoting the rights of local communities involved in the cultivation of crops declared illicit, and their involvement in drug policy making, the peace process and the design and implementation of development programmes.
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.
The UN drug control system has been in place for more than half a century. Does it still serve its purpose or is reform of its legal and institutional architecture needed? There are many questions about outdated provisions, unintended consequences and tensions with today's UN norms in the fields of human rights, development, as well as peace and security. Find critical background and proposals for reform in this collection.
The TNI/CEDD (Colectivo de Estudios Drogas y Derecho / Research Consortium on Drugs and the Law ) Drug Law Reform Project promotes more effective and humane drug policies through analysis of existing drug control policies and by promoting dialogue among key stakeholders and decision-makers. The project is focused on Latin America and hopes to stimulate reforms by pointing out good practices and lessons learned in areas such as proportionality of sentences, prison reform, and the status of the coca leaf in the international conventions.
The legal approach to coca has been one of the most challenging topics in the current international drug control system, due to the plant’s connection to both commercial cocaine and ancient Andean traditions. Yet it’s rare for a case related to the coca leaf to come before a European court, in a region where those traditions are rarely discussed.
The Economist - In much of the Middle East and north Africa, where the law often lumps pot in with harder drugs, possession of a single joint can lead to jail. But some governments are acknowledging the harmful effects of their policies and thinking about reform.
The Duterte administration has refused to address and investigate the steep rise in extra-judicial killings, perpetrated by both uniformed personnel and unidentified ‘vigilantes’, whose signature modes of execution belie official claims that the victims fought back.
TNI is proud to welcome Budit in the Netherlands - he spent his youth here as a child refugee with his brother and political refugee parents and returned in his late teens to the Philippines and is now one of the inspiring leaders of a new coalition IDEFEND to counter-act the declining adherence to human rights and the rule of law.