UN CESCR adopts country reports highlighting rights violations related to drug policies and announces a general comment on their impact

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UN CESCR adopts country reports highlighting rights violations related to drug policies and announces a general comment on their impact

18 October 2022
United Nations Information Service Geneva

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights this afternoon concluded its seventy-second session after adopting its concluding observations on the reports of El Salvador, Mongolia, Italy, Guatemala, Tajikistan and Luxembourg.

The concluding observations will be available on the webpage of the session on the afternoon of Monday, 17 October.

Mohamed Ezzeldin Abdel-Moneim, Committee Chairperson, called on the States concerned to respond to the concluding observations and disseminate them widely.

Regarding the Committee’s work under the Optional Protocol, Mr. Abdel-Moneim reported that the Committee had examined three communications, declaring one of them inadmissible; examined two communications on the merits and found a violation of the Covenant in one of them; and decided to discontinue the examination of six individual communications. The Committee also adopted its report on follow-up to Views, which contained information on the implementation of one decision.

Further, the Committee adopted follow-up to concluding observation assessments for Israel, Norway and Senegal. These would be finalised as discussed and submitted to the States in the coming weeks, after which the assessment letters would be made public.

Mr. Abdel-Moneim said he was very pleased to announce that the revised draft of the general comment on Covenant obligations related to land had been adopted as revised during the session. The advanced version of the adopted general comment was expected to be available in mid-November.

The Committee had agreed to hold a day of general discussion at its next session on the future general comment on sustainable development. Further, it had decided to initiate work on two new general comments. The first would be on "economic, social and cultural rights in the context of armed conflicts”, and the second on “impacts of drug policies on economic, social and cultural rights”.

Mr. Abdel-Moneim said the Committee had also discussed and adopted its report on the seventy-first and seventy-second sessions.

The Chair encouraged States to submit reports under the standard procedure, including long overdue reports, until the Committee was able to generalise the simplified reporting procedure and operationalise the eight-year predictable review cycle. This would be possible when resources were available. The Committee hoped that the General Assembly would make a positive decision in this direction.

In the next session, the Committee would resume in a new composition. Mr. Abdel-Moneim looked forward to welcoming three new colleagues, but said that the Committee would greatly miss the three colleagues whose terms would come to an end at the end of 2022: Heisoo Shin, Rodrigo Uprimny and Renato Zerbini Ribeiro Leão. The imprints of these Experts’ work, he said, would be left on the Committee.

At the Committee’s seventy-third session, to be held in February 2023, the Committee will review the reports of Cambodia, China (with the reports of Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions), Lithuania, Panama, Portugal and Yemen.

Concluding observations in relation to drug policy


Política de drogas

  • Preocupa al Comité que la penalización del consumo de drogas pudiera impedir a los consumidores tener acceso a programas adecuados de reducción de daño y a servicios de atención de la dependencia, fundados en evidencia y respetuosos de los derechos de los usuarios (art. 12).
  • El Comité recomienda al Estado parte que considere despenalizar el consumo de drogas y asegure la disponibilidad, accesibilidad y calidad de los programas de prevención del abuso de sustancias sicoactivas y de reducción del daño. Igualmente, le recomienda que asegure a los consumidores que los requieran, el acceso a tratamientos de dependencia que estén basados en evidencia y sean respetuosos de los derechos de los usuarios.


Drug use

  • The Committee is concerned about the punitive approach to drug use and the insufficient availability of harm reduction programmes (art. 12).
  • The Committee recommends that the State party review its drug policy and legislation to bring them into line with international human rights norms and best practices, and improve the availability, accessibility and quality of harm reduction programmes.