In 2009, Bolivia’s first indigenous President, Evo Morales Ayma, sent a request to the United Nations to remove the unjustified ban on coca leaf chewing. This would amend the 1961 United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and bring it in line with the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Throughout January 2011, several governments led by the United States have mobilised to block a request by the Bolivian government to remove an international ban on the centuries-old practice of chewing coca leaves. The 18-month period to contest Bolivia’s requested amendment ended on January 31, 2011.

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. For more information, please visit the Transnational Institute's weblog.

Click here for more information on the discussion within the European Union in response to Bolivia's coca amendment.