By Samuel Oakford
The Trump administration will open a week of high-level meetings at the United Nations General Assembly in New York with a drug policy event featuring President Donald Trump. Invites to the event are being doled out only to those countries that have signed on to a controversial, nonnegotiable action plan, according to documents obtained by The Intercept — among them the countries with the world’s most draconian drug laws.
The U.S.-sponsored event, called the “Global Call to Action on the World Drug Problem,” is scheduled to take place next Monday, September 24, a day before Trump will speak before the General Assembly. The U.S. Mission to the U.N. hasn’t yet released many details about the event, but The Intercept obtained a copy of the finalized text — the “Call to Action” — that was sent to member states ahead of the meeting.
“It’s not an official document, it doesn’t go through any of the official channels, it’s not negotiated, and it is linked to the event that’s being put on by Trump that will include the secretary general,” said Hannah Hetzer, the senior international policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “It seems to be a way to get countries to fall in line behind Trump and his administration. I think countries that sign this and then show up to this photo op should be very careful — they don’t really know what they are signing up to.”
The letter says that the U.S. is already “collaborating” with more than two dozen countries, including at least three — China, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore — that executed drug offenders last year, as well as other staunch proponents of tough drug laws, such as Russia and the United Arab Emirates. Also among those also listed as collaborators are countries with less draconian drug laws, like the United Kingdom, India, and Costa Rica. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres, who was Portugal’s prime minister when the country decriminalized the use of all drugs in 2001, is expected to speak on Monday.