London/Prague, Jan 31 (CTK) – The world needs a new treaty on fighting against drugs, former British deputy PM Nick Clegg (Liberal Democrats) and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) write in a joint article the British daily The Guardian has released on its website.
An opportunity for launching a more resolute campaign against drug trafficking will be the U.N. General Assembly’s special meeting that is to deal with the issue in April, Clegg and Sobotka write.
They remind on the U.N. resolution from June 1998 that vowed to make the world drug-free in ten years. They assess it as “breathtaking” naivety the world leaders displayed in 1998 and at many previous and subsequent meetings.
Far from shrinking, the global trade in illicit drugs has gained foothold in every corner of the world, “from the jungles of Latin America to the streets of European villages,” they write.
“The ‘war on drugs’ has failed. The black market is booming. Criminal gangs are raking in huge profits and leaving a trail of violence and misery in their wake. More and more lives are being ruined and more and more families are being torn apart,” Clegg and Sobotka write.
It is time we stopped repeating the mistakes of the past,” they write.
“If we want a better system, one that truly works to protect human health and welfare, then the U.N. is the right place for that debate,” Clegg and Sobotka write.
They gave examples of countries that “have decided to take bold unilateral steps,” including the Czech Republic, which, together with Portugal, “have decriminalised possession of small amounts of drugs so the state can focus resources on prevention and treatment rather than overcrowded prisons.”
The optimal deal, for European politicians to strive for in cooperation with their counterparts from countries such as Mexico and Colombia, should not require a total eradication of drugs or punishing users. Instead, it should strive for “measures that promote public health, human rights, harm reduction and support and treatment for people who use drugs, while creating space for countries seeking alternative approaches to really explore them,” Clegg and Sobotka write.
“Drugs may have destroyed many people, but wrong governmental policies have destroyed many more. Let us not repeat this mistake,” Clegg and Sobotka conclude their article with a quotation of former U.N. general secretary Kofi Annan.