The United Natons General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, held in April 2016, was the frst high-level event of its kind since 1998. Held three years before it was due to take place, the Special Session was meant to respond to the urgency of discussing the successes and failures of global drug policies, and identfy optons for the way forward. The UNGASS took place in the midst of unprecedented calls for a rethink of punitve strategies towards drugs – an approach that had prevailed for decades. This was in recogniton that prohibiton-led policies focusing on mass incarceraton, interdicton and eradicaton have failed to reduce the scale of the illicit drug market, and have resulted instead in a number of severe negatve consequences, including prison overcrowding, human rights abuses (such as extrajudicial killings, police abuse, torture and ill-treatment, lack of access to justce and due process), health harms and an explosion of drug market-related violence and corrupton. A study of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, tabled at the 30th Human Rights Council session in September 2015, outlined the human rights impact of drug policies, addressing concerns relatng to health, criminal justce, discriminatory practces, rights of the child and Indigenous peoples.

In preparation for the 26th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, set to take place from 22 to 26 May 2017, this Advocacy Note by the International Drug POlicy Consortium and Penal Reform International seeks to identify key aspects of the Outcome Document that are relevant to the work of the CCPCJ.

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