The INCB was once regarded as the ‘dinosaur’ of the international drug control regime, opposed to  policy-innovation and unwilling to speak out on human rights issues. However, its has recently condemned the Philippines over its continued acts of violence toward those suspected of involvement in drug-related crimes. The previous President, Mr Werner Sipp, was critical of the Philippines actions.

This year, however, the current INCB President, Professor Viroj, had spoken out on the Philippines as part of his presentation on the ‘International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking’ which takes place each 26 June. However, the recent speech is more explicit and more radical than any previous dialogue.

‘The Board’, states the INCB, ‘is also deeply troubled by allegations that these acts have been condoned and encouraged by senior Government officials’. It goes on to reiterate in ‘the strongest possible terms’ that such extrajudicial responses that drug-related crimes are ‘in clear violation of the international drug control conventions’, and reaffirms its ‘categorical rejection’ of extrajudicial acts of any kind.

The Board reminds the Government of the Philippines of the conventions’ commitment to prevention, treatment, education and aftercare, and to a humane and balanced approach to people who use drugs. The President of the INCB, Dr Viroj Sumyai, calls on the Government of the Philippines to cease immediately perpetrating and supporting acts of violence against those suspected of drug-related crimes and to ensure that due process is fully observed. An equivalent message appeared in the INCB Annual Report.

This statement by the INCB represents an encouraging example its progressive position, and its support for human rights and due process in the carrying out of drug control policy. It demonstrates the newly energised and radical force that the INCB has become.

The ‘dinosaur’ has evolved into a progressive force.

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Thumbnail: Flickr CC Talk Pinas