In Myanmar’s Kachin State, a women’s drop-in centre has transformed into more than just a harm reduction facility. Leading up to International Women’s Day, we spoke with Thinzar Tun (AHRN Myanmar) about what makes this centre special.
Since 1996, the TNI Drugs & Democracy programme has been analysing the trends in the illegal drugs market and in drug policies globally. The programme has gained a reputation worldwide as one of the leading international drug policy research institutes and as a serious critical watchdog of UN drug control institutions, in particular the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
Twelve years ago, Portugal eliminated criminal penalties for drug users. Since then, those caught with small amounts of marijuana, cocaine or heroin go unindicted and possession is a misdemeanor on par with illegal parking. Experts are pleased with the results. Portugal has stopped prosecuting users. The substances listed in Law 30/2000 are still illegal in Portugal -- "Otherwise we would have gotten into trouble with the UN," drug policy coordinator João Goulão explains -- but using these drugs is nothing more than a misdemeanor, much the same as a parking violation.
The main highlight in this 2nd quarter of 2013 was the release of the Organization of American States (OAS) reports analysing the current drugs situation in the hemisphere and outlining different scenarios for policy developments over the coming decade. The OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza presented the documents on May 17, 2013 in Bogotá to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in a ceremony at the Casa de Nariño, the Presidential palace. TNI was represented in the OAS team mandated to elaborate the policy scenarios and was invited to the launch ceremony.
The last quarter of 2012 saw major steps in the direction of drug policy reform: In October, in a joint statement to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Latin America presidents reiterated their challenge to the "war on drugs"...
The most remarkable event of the first quarter of 2013 on drug policy and drug law reforms was definitely the readmission of Bolivia in the UN Single Convention of 1961. On January 11, 2013, most Parties to the Convention chose not to object to the reservation requested by Bolivia over its traditional uses of coca leaf. Of the 183 countries, only 15 objected to the reservation.
There are clear political sensitivities surrounding drug policies, rendering effective reform a challenging prospect for politicians once they are in government. But most sensible politicians, officials and scientists recognise that 50 years of a criminalising approach hasn't reduced problem drug use. We therefore call on the prime minister to convene an all-party commission to review drug policy and make recommendations for reform.
As the Thai police announce their war on drugs a success, the Ministry of Justice, alongside the TNI and the IDPC hold their high level meeting to review the country's response to drug use. With the alarming rise of HIV-positive drug injectors, again comes the question, how to measure ‘‘success’’ when it comes to drug policies?
Dutch Minister of Justice Ivo Opstelten has announced an official ban on non-residents from coffee shops not just in Maastricht, but in the nearby cities of Tilburg and Eindhoven as well, beginning January 1, 2012. Dutch residents will need carry a “weed pass” to enter. Dutch authorities say the rest of the country will follow a year later. It’s possible that a broader ban will never come to pass, because Amsterdam is too politically powerful for any elected official to take a stance against it.
The new cabinet plans to press ahead with restricting access to the country's cannabis cafes to local residents but is dropping the introduction of compulsory registration of users via a membership card system. 'The wietpas will go but entrance to coffee shops will be restricted to residents with ID or a residency permit and a local council statement of residency,’ the coalition agreement states. (See also: Cannabis pass abolished? Not really)
The new rules affecting the sale of cannabis in coffeeshops in three southern Dutch provinces are having an adverse effect according to a new study. The "weed pass" was introduced in the regions on May 1 this year. The introduction of an obligatory membership card for coffeeshop customers has resulted in a sharp increase in the illegal street sale of cannabis and the emergence of a large and elusive network of telephone numbers that can be called for the supply of the drug.
TNI’s Drugs and Democracy programme has been working since 1995 to push for evidence-based reform of drug policy. working simultaneously at national levels and in relation to the global legal framework, TNI starts by looking at the human rights of all actors in the illegal drugs market, and advocates an approach based on harm reduction.
The statement presents the main findings of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy. Prohibitionist policies based on the eradication of production and on the disruption of drug flows as well as on the criminalization of consumption have not yielded the desired results, concludes . We are further than ever from the announced goal of eradicating drugs. Breaking the taboo, acknowledging the failure of current policies and their consequences is the inescapable prerequisite for the discussion of a new paradigm leading to safer, more efficient and humane drug policies.