Beckley Report No.13 - Recalibrating the regime: the need for a human rights-based approach to international drug policy

30 March 2008

This report includes a wide range of examples in which human rights standards and norms are infringed as a result of state activities pursued in the name of drug control. This clearly demonstrates the need for close attention to this issue within the UN system. It is therefore preoccupying that:

  • Human rights are rarely mentioned, or given serious consideration in the policies and programmes of the UN drug control system.
  • Human rights abuses against people who use drugs or local farming communities are rarely mentioned, or given serious consideration, within the standard setting or inspection programmes of the UN human rights apparatus.
  • Despite clear strategic commitments to ensure the co-ordination of their programmes with other relevant UN agencies, the OHCHR and the UNODC have made no serious efforts towards joint strategic planning or programme development.

This state of affairs should not be allowed to continue - the health, welfare and human rights of millions of people depend on the adoption by national governments and international agencies, of drug policies that achieve an appropriate and effective balance between the need to tackle drug markets and the oblication to protect the rights of everyone affected by them.