Human Rights Council – 49th session
28 February–1 April 2022
Oral statement on ending the violence of law enforcement on people who use drugs
Statement delivered on 10 March 2022 by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) and AfriLaw
This statement is delivered on behalf of the International Drug Policy Consortium and the African Law Foundation.
Research we carried out in September 2021 reveals that people who use drugs in Nigeria are routinely subject to horrifying acts of physical, mental and sexual violence at hands of law enforcement agencies.
Also we found a great number of abuses in drug rehab centres, where people who use drugs are detained against their will, and torture is delivered under the guise of discipline and healing. Accountability and remedy for these violations are extremely rare.
In all cases, violence and abuses are disproportionately inflicted on people who are marginalised on the basis of their gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or drug use.
In order to reduce the extent of torture against people who use drugs, States must establish robust mechanisms to oversee the actions of law enforcement agencies, and of entities that provide drug rehabilitation.
States must also take immediate action to reverse the dehumanisation and marginalisation of people who use drugs, which has been brought about by the war on drugs.
To do so, we call on all governments to take three urgent steps. First, decriminalise drug use and drug possession for personal use. Two, establish evidence-based and rights-based drug treatment and harm reduction services that are always voluntary. Three, take action to remove the stigma and discrimination experienced by people who use drugs in their daily lives. It is only through these actions that we will begin to address torture and ill-treatment against people who use drugs.