The Skills Group

Towards a new UN drug policy?

    Vienna (ots) - Alongside the official Vienna UN Drug Policy
Conference, civil society experts will debate moving beyond the
failed UN "War on Drugs"
    
    When the ministerial segment of the Vienna UN Drug Policy
Conference opens today to review the past failures of its "War on
Drugs", representatives of European civil society will meet next door
to discuss more effective ways to tackle the drug problem in the
future.
    
    Although worldwide drug production and consumption have kept
rising since, in 1998, the UN set its goal of a "drug-free world by
2008", the UN drug authorities are under heavy pressure from the US
and other hardline policy advocates to not even enter into
discussions on the effectiveness of their current strategy.
    
    "We don't expect a change of course at this Conference yet",
Raymond Kendall, Honorary Secretary-General of Interpol, says. "But
European civil society isn't going to wait until 2008 for the failure
of the 'War on Drugs' to become official. We will start a broad
public debate of the issue today." Mr. Kendall is also the speaker of
the "Comité des Sages", set up by the European Drug Policy Fund to
develop more effective drug policies.
    
    The debate, which is open to the media and the public, will start
today at 1 p.m. at the Vienna Civic Center (VCC), set up for the
purpose in the Austria Center, next door to the UN Conference. A key
subject this afternoon will be the disruption of societies by
drug-related crime: corruption, which facilitates the worldwide
operations of the drug mafia, the funding of terrorist groups by drug
trafficking proceeds, and urban street crime committed by drug
addicts to finance their habit.
    
    At a public hearing of the European Parliament about UN drug
policy last month, Lord Mancroft, Conservative member of the British
House of Lords, said about the current UN Drug Policy Conventions:
"Those treaties are important. They must be reinforced to allow
governments to pursue criminals, but they must be amended to prevent
states from making criminals out of our children."
    
    As the former Head of Interpol, Raymond Kendall has 40 years of
first-hand experience of the subject: "While drugs are a problem,",
he says, "the current way we deal with it under the mandatory UN
system, which forces us to criminalize large segments of society,
amplifies this problem to the point of making it uncontrollable."
    
ots Originaltext: The Skills Group
Internet: www.newsaktuell.ch

Contact:
Gabriele Frisch
The Skills Group - Pro & Co
Phone:  +43/1/505 26 25-66
Mailto: gabriele.frisch@skillsproco.com



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