The Life of a Human Rights Resolution

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

At the March 2008 Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), Uruguay tabled a resolution 'Ensuring the proper integration of the United Nations human rights system with international drug control policy'. In a previous blog we already described how this resolution was stripped of its content. The HR2 blog – IHRA's Harm Reduction and Human Rights Monitoring and Policy Analysis Programme – documented the process of its dismantling.

The Life of a Human Rights Resolution at the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs is a brief overview of the progress of the first ever human rights resolution to make it through the CND. China led the charge to attempt to block the resolution outright. Japan, Thailand, Egypt, and Pakistan all joined with the Chinese in this regard. The United States, Canada, France and Cuba all sought to weaken the resolution in various ways throughout the debate.

Nonetheless this still represents a substantial achievement as the first time that a human rights resolution has been passed by the CND in 51 sessions, as a useful starting point in developing future resolutions and policy discussions on human rights at UN level (it prompted several hours of unprecedented debate on the issue in the plenary), and as a real achievement for NGOs and civil society engagement with the CND.

The report Recalibrating the Regime, co-authored by the HR2 team, looks at the tensions between some aspects of the global drug control system and international human rights law. The report highlights that, despite numerous instances of human rights abuses perpetrated in the name of drug control, there has been little engagement with this issue by the responsible bodies, the UNODC, INCB and the human rights treaty bodies.