Feature: UN, Western Nations Complicit in Drug Offender Executions, Report Says

With the United Nations' International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking set for tomorrow, the timing couldn't be better for a new report from the International Harm Reduction Association (IHRA) decrying the complicity of Western governments and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in international drug control efforts that result in the execution of drug offenders.

International Anti-Drugs Day drug burn, Tehran, Iran
Take what happened in China on global anti-drug day 2008 as a case in point. As has been its wont in the past, the Chinese government used the occasion to execute numerous drug offenders, including Han Yongwan, a regional trafficker who had been arrested by police in Laos and later extradited to China. Han had been arrested thanks to the East Asian Border Liaison Office program, initiated by UNODC in 1993, and chiefly funded by the United Kingdom (24%), the United States (24%), Japan (24%), and Australia (10%). Other funders included the European Commission (3%), Sweden (3%), Canada (2%), and UNAIDS (5%).

Although the European Commission and nearly all of the donor nations reject the death penalty, the funding of programs like the East Asian Border Liaison Office means that those governments and organizations are complicit, if inadvertently, in the application of the death penalty to drug offenders, the IHRA found in a report issued this week, Complicity or Abolition? The Death Penalty and International Support for Drug Enforcement.

The report's findings are worth repeating:

  • The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Commission and individual European governments are all actively involved in funding and/or delivering technical assistance, legislative support and financial aid intended to strengthen domestic drug enforcement activities in states that retain the death penalty for drug offences.
  • Such funding, training and capacity-building activities -- if successful -- result in increased convictions of persons on drug charges and the potential for increased death sentences and executions.
  • Specific executions and death sentences can be linked to drug enforcement activities funded by European governments and/or the European Commission and implemented through UNODC.
  • Donor states, the European Commission and UNODC may therefore be complicit in executions for drug offenses in violation of international human rights law and contrary to their own abolitionist policies and UN General Assembly resolutions calling for a moratorium on the death penalty for all offenses.
  • The risk of further human rights abuses connected to drug enforcement projects, and the complicity of donors and implementing agencies in such abuses, is clear and must be addressed.

In a report issued last month, the IHRA found that 58 countries still adhere to the death penalty and 32 of them have on the books the death penalty for drug offenses. But those countries don't all apply the death penalty with the same enthusiasm. IHRA identified six "retentionist" countries that have especially egregious records when it come to the death penalty for drug offenses: China (thousands of cases a year), Iran (10,000 drug traffickers executed since 1979), Malaysia (70 drug death sentences in the last two years), Saudi Arabia (at least 62 drug offenders executed in 2007 and 2008), Vietnam (at least 109 people sentenced to death for drug offenses between 2007 and 2009), and Singapore (more than 400 people executed, most for drug offenses since 1991).

All of them are the recipients or beneficiaries of anti-drug spending by the UNODC, the European Community and individual member countries, Japan, and the United States. That means donor organizations and countries are flouting UN human rights law, which states that the death penalty should be applied only for the "most serious offenses." Neither the UNODC nor the UN rapporteur on executions and the death penalty considers drug offenses to be among the "most serious offenses."

If developed countries are to continue funding anti-drug law enforcement efforts in countries that apply the death penalty to drug offenses, IHRA recommended:

  • In keeping with Resolution 2007/2274(INI) of the European Parliament, the European Commission should develop guidelines governing international funding for country level and regional drug enforcement activities to ensure such programs do not result in human rights violations, including the application of the death penalty.
  • The abolition of the death penalty for drug-related offenses, or at the very least evidence of an ongoing and committed moratorium on executions, should be made a pre-condition of financial assistance, technical assistance and capacity-building and other support for drug enforcement.
  • A formal and transparent process for conducting human rights impact assessments as an element of project design, implementation and evaluation should be developed and included as part of all drug enforcement activities.
  • International guidelines on human rights and drug control should be developed to guide national responses and the design and implementation of drug enforcement projects.

"Many people around the world would be shocked to know that their governments are funding programs that are leading people indirectly to death by hanging and firing squads," said Rick Lines, deputy director of IHRA and coauthor of the report. While agencies and countries were not intentionally funding programs that led to people facing the death penalty, it is "a fact" that such executions are happening, he said.

Rebecca Schleifer, advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, told the Guardian newspaper that while the UNODC has "taken steps in the right direction" by acknowledging the human rights implications of its programs, its drug enforcement activities, as well as those of other countries and organizations, "put them at risk of supporting increased death sentences and executions in some countries."

There was an urgent need for political leaders in the US and Britain to rethink their "disastrous' war on drugs' policy and tacit support for regimes that continue executing people for relatively minor offenses," said Sebatian Saville, director of the British drug policy and human rights group Release.

Even the UNODC welcomed the report. A spokesman told the Guardian it raised "legitimate concerns" about how global drug prohibition enforcement "may indirectly result in increased convictions and the possible application of the death penalty." The spokesman added that UNODC had taken "concrete steps" to include human rights assessments as part of "all drug enforcement activities."

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Time to finally understand the tobackgo basis

The 600,000,000+-pound gorilla in the room: to the thousands of executions enumerated in this article must be added the 6 million deaths per year from hot burning overdose nicotine addiction created by billion-dollar advertising promotions, where it is the victimized youngster who suffers the death penalty over a shortened lifespan puffing meaninglessly on a death drug in the marketing of which all those governments are complicat, because they accept $igarette taxes. Examples: Pakistan and I think Malaysia draw 10% of their total government tax revenue stream from $igarette taxes, Russia 8% etc. And to keep the magnificent funding source, $igarette corporations, happy, what better way than to prosecute and kill "dealers" in any other "drug" except big-bucks nicotine?

Prohibition, or...?

Prohibition... or Inquisition?

This activity is more than just "illegal". Governments are executing people over this, using a global set of stupid old laws, as justification to cooperate. A worldwide, United Nations imposed "inquisition", run by noose-wielding judges and squads of death-dealing SWAT teams; whose sole purpose is to selectively determine who is using what intoxicants (some they allow, some they destroy), usually made from plants (some they allow to live, others they burn and kill in an attempt at a proclaimed global extinction), and being hypocrites at the same time (you can smoke this cancerous mix of cigarettes, but not this healthy one of cannabis, you can drink poisonous alcohol, but not psychedelic mushroom tea), while being corrupted by large corporations (you can take our pharmaceutical pills that harm you, but not MDMA LSD nor a list of others that have the potential to heal you).

What shall we call that? The UNquisition?

I never signed any United Nations pact to unite against "drugs", did you?
Did anyone you vote for sign it?

Time to end this madness and let people live free.


Prohibition was originally a corporate thing [pharmaceuticals] and then it became a tool for spooks to get "intelligence", like in Vietnam and South America where socialist movements were taking hold.

The CIA needs drug revenues to keep their spy networks going.

Ending prohibition would end some of the worst abuses against people, and it would open the door for a much enlightened world. The Elites are afraid of this - recreational drug use would open people's eyes to the harsh reality of subversion and conversion to the capitalist lifestyle.

Prohibition is the WORST example of "big government" - socialised medicine, or bank regulations, is a far cry from the freedoms lost to the war on drugs.


Since the US's economy and aid packages fund most of the world, this would seem to point to the USA as allowing our tax payer money and our consumer spending habits to fund nations and international groups who support executing drug offenders. Even the groups mentioned above get funding from the US, ie the UN etc. So when you show that the USA directly funded executing drug offenders they also indirectly funded executing drug offenders by propping up these other groups and nations with aid or consumer spending. AS US citizens we need to step up and say no, no funding for nations or groups who support executing drug offenders.

Criminal Mercantilism for Cigarettes


and see who is definitely influenced by cigarette industry money- to keep silent about coca:


And yes this has SEVERE consequences, making such governments guilty of murder.

I say the consistency of the list of illegality substances represents not science but rather criminal shadow romish-masonic government (go to Rome and check out all of the Church's with masonic triangles etc, then look at that traditional pack of Marlboros- it represents a power most real- and evil.)




That's the history that the DPF-DPA will not allow on their History Panel nor any other panel.

Notably, their downtown Washington, D.C. legal connection mentioned in the 1990 issued 1988-89 Biennial Report, involves perhaps the #1 law firm historically for the major cigarette and pharmaceutical entities, with the pro bono legal advice program assigned to an attorney who the firms site says is a food, drug, food supplement and insurance specialist?



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