'Opportunities and challenges for the engagement of civil society in human rights oriented drug policies' - Czechia CND conference room paper



'Opportunities and challenges for the engagement of civil society in human rights oriented drug policies' - Czechia CND conference room paper

30 March 2023

Conference room paper submitted by Czechia at the 66th CND, titled “Opportunities and Challenges for the Engagement of Civil Society in Human Rights Oriented Drug Policies”

The conference paper concerns Item 6 of the provisional agenda for the 66th Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, 13–17 March 2023.

Follow-up to the implementation at the national, regional, and international levels of all commitments, as reflected in the Ministerial Declaration of 2019, to address and counter the world drug problem.

The Czech Republic puts strong emphasis on evidence-based, integrated, balanced drug policies rooted in the freedom of citizens, the protection of human rights, dignity and the rule of law, and these values were central to the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) from July to December 2022 – culminating in the adoption by consensus of Council Conclusions on Human Rights-Based Approaches in Drug Policies in December 2022.

This Conference Room Paper, presented to the 66th Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) in March 2023, seeks to explore the importance of the human rights approach within drug policies. This includes, inter alia, the effective implementation of all human rights commitments, the adoption of more humane, proportionate and rational approaches to drug policies, the prevention of stigma and discrimination, and the mainstreaming of comprehensive health responses to the world drug situation, including risk and harm reduction measures, and gender- and age-sensitive perspectives. This Paper focuses especially on the effective drug responses that are grounded in human rights obligations, such as the decriminalization of low-level drug offences and personal use, harm reduction, and civil society participation as a central principle.

As such, this paper mirrors the Czech Republic’s own national and international commitments in line especially with the Outcome Document of the 2016 United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem, the EU Drugs Strategy and its Action Plan 2021-2025, the United Nations System Common Position Supporting the Implementation of the International Drug Control Policy Through Effective Inter-agency Collaboration, the International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy, and the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Furthermore, the CND and the Czech Republic can both demonstrate a track record of, and strong commitments to, the promotion and protection of civil society engagement and civic space within drug policy. This Conference Room Paper also explores the vital role that civil society partners play in this sector, and how this can be further enhanced and secured as we approach the midterm review of the commitments made in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration, anticipated in March 2024.