PROPOSAL FOR A PARLIAMENTARY RESOLUTION ON THE REFORM OF THE UN CONVENTIONS ON DRUGS


A. Whereas drugs policies at the international level are derived from the United Nations Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988, and whereas these conventions prohibit in particular the production, trafficking, sale and consumption of a whole range of substances other than for medical or scientific purposes;

B. Considering that, despite the massive amount of police power and other resources devoted to the application of such UN Conventions, the production, consumption and trafficking of prohibited substances have increased exponentially over the last 30 years, which constitute a genuine failure as police and prison authorities also recognize.

In regard to prevention and treatment:

Whereas:
- the abuse of drugs, especially by young people, is a serious problem around the world,
- all civilized nations are seeking better methods to control drug abuse,
- the long history of prohibition has conclusively demonstrated that reliance primarily on governmental action, through the criminal law and the police, has only marginal effect on the control of drug abuse,
- there is strong evidence, furthermore, that effective treatment programs should be developed largely free of governmental restraints, thus allowing for the widest possible experimentation in the never-ending search to improve their ability to assist the victims of drug abuse.

In regard to production and trafficking:

Whereas:
- the great majority of narcotics move freely around the world in defiance of prohibition laws,
- the increasing profits which criminal organizations derive from trade in illegal substances and which are ploughed back into criminal activities or legal financial circuits have reached such magnitude that the foundations of legal bodies and constitutional government are being undermined,
- the profitability of the trade in illegal substances can only lead to an increase in the number of countries involved in drug production and generate massive investment in research into, and the production of, new chemical drugs, and
- the main effect of deploying large amounts of resources to curb the traffic in illegal substances has triggered an increase of the selling price (the crime tariff) to the sole benefit of organized criminal networks.

In regard to social and health aspects and consumption:

Whereas:
- consumers of illegal substances usually lack any reliable information concerning the composition and effects of the narcotics and that they are consequently exposed to risks (including death as a result of overdoses and infection by HIV/AIDS) which far outstrip the dangerous nature of the substances themselves,
- the clandestine nature of the consumption of illegal substances is an often-insurmountable obstacle to prevention work as well as to the provision of assistance by public authorities and private organizations; current policies therefore condemn consumers to live at the edge of society, in permanent contact with the criminal underworld,
- organized crime acts in such a way that the number of consumers increases rapidly and they are encouraged to move on from relatively harmless substances, such as cannabis derivatives, to the consumption of the so-called hard drugs, and
- extreme financial need and pressure from the world of organized crime lead consumers of illegal substances to become dealers themselves, which increases drug abuse even further.

In regard to legal and prison issues:

Whereas:
- the application of repressive drugs laws eventually places unbearable pressure on the national and international legal and prison system to the extent that large numbers of those currently detained in prisons are charged with penalties directly or indirectly related to drugs, and
- the implementation of current drugs policies leads to the introduction into national law of rules that restrict individual freedom and civil liberties.


C. Whereas the soundness of current policies and the search for alternative solutions are currently under consideration in an increasing number of countries,

1. Maintain that the drug prohibition policy stemming from the UN Conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988 is the actual cause of the increasing damage which the production, trafficking, sale and consumption of illegal substances inflict on entire sections of society, the economy as well as public institutions, thus undermining health, freedom and individuals' lives,
2. Urges the Government to consider the positive results obtained through the implementation of policies in several countries, which involve harm and risk reduction (in particular through the administration of substitute substances), the decriminalisation of the consumption of certain substances, the partial decriminalisation of the sale of cannabis and its derivatives, and the medically controlled distribution of heroin,
4. Calls on the Government to take action in order to make the fight against organized crime and drugs trafficking more effective, establishing a system for the legal control and regulation of the production, sale and consumption of substances which are currently illegal;
5. Calls on the Government to initiate a process of revision of the UN Conventions on the occasion of the April 2003 Vienna mid-term review conference on UN drugs policies, in order to repeal or amend the 1961 and 1971 Conventions, with the aim of re-classifying substances and providing for other uses of drugs than only for medical and scientific purposes to be legal, and to repeal the 1988 Convention.