International Drug Policy Up For Debate At Landmark U.N. Forum

July 7, 2008 12:00 am

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ACLU Joins NGOs From Across The Globe To Assess Past And Future U.N. Drug Policy At “Beyond 2008 Forum” In Vienna, Austria, July 7-9


> ACLU’s statement to the U.N.
> Daily blog posts from the forumVIENNA, Austria – The American Civil Liberties Union today joins a diverse coalition of civil and human rights organizations participating in the United Nations’ “Beyond 2008 Forum,” a historic opportunity to assess the past decade of international drug policy and to shape its future course. The ACLU and others will speak to the inability of current, principally punitive drug policies to reduce the supply of or demand for illicit drugs, as well as the significant violence, health problems, and civil and human rights violations directly attributable to these policies.

“The time has come for the international community to fully recognize that a drug free world is presently beyond reach and to focus on minimizing the dangers that drugs pose to at-risk individuals and society at large,” said Graham Boyd, Director of the ACLU Drug Law Reform Project, who is participating in the “Beyond 2008 Forum.” “Public health and safety and, above all, human rights, should be the ultimate goals – not enemies – of global drug policy.”

Convened by the United Nations, the three-day forum will for the first time provide the non-governmental organization community the opportunity to assist in the formulation of international drug policy. The unprecedented inclusion of reform-minded organizations in the U.N. review process signals a willingness to shift toward health- and human rights-based drug policies centered on harm reduction measures and alternatives to incarceration.

The forum will produce a declaration and resolutions to be presented to the High Level segment of the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs and to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime at the March 2009 U.N. General Assembly Special Session on Narcotic Drugs, which will determine the future of U.N. drug policy.

Additional information and detailed recommendations are offered in the ACLU’s statement to the U.N., Adopting a Human Rights-Based Global Drug Policy, available online at:

Daily updates on the forum from the ACLU’s Boyd will be available at: /drug-law-reform/

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