Human Rights Council and drug policy

Friday, February 6, 2009

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Professor Manfred Nowak, has called on UN member states to adopt a rights based approach to drug policies in his forthcoming report to the Human Rights Council, IHRA’s HR2 (harm reduction and human rights) team reported. The report submitted for the 10th session of the Council draws the attention of members states to the issues of 'drug users in the context of the criminal justice system and situations resulting from restricted access to drugs for palliative care.'

In specific, the Special Rapporteur in his report on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment , raises concerns relating to:

  • The use of the death penalty for drug offences
  • Denial of access to OST and needle exchange in places of detention
  • Forced drug dependence treatment
  • Forced testing for HIV and HCV
  • Lack of access to opiates for pain relief
In each case, the Special Rapportuer considers these to amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

For more detailed information, see:

UN Special Rapporteur on torture calls upon the Human Rights Council to take up the issue of drug policy
HR2 Blog, Thursday, February 5, 2009