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Is the International Narcotics Control Board Ignoring Human Rights?

A recent report by the UN special rapporteur on torture charged that compulsory drug treatment centers in some countries, particularly Vietnam and Thailand, constitute "forced labor" camps that engage in "torture." Long-time addiction writer Maia Szalavitz wrote about this in Time last week, and Phil did in our newsletter last Monday. The report is online here.

photo from the 2011 HRW report on Vietnam's so-called drug rehabilitation centers
The issue is not a new one, having been raised by Human Rights Watch in September 2011. HRW detailed forced labor, worker pay getting taken by the centers or staffs, inmates getting beaten, even bones broken, if they didn't comply with instructions.

Nevertheless, in its 2011 annual report, published five months after HRW's, the International Narcotics Control Board had only this to say in relation to Vietnam's treatment centers:

In September 2010, the Government of Viet Nam issued a decree on the strengthening of family-based and community-based drug treatment and rehabilitation services. In March 2011, the Ministry of Public Security of Viet Nam adopted measures to improve the collection and analysis of drug-related data. In June 2011, the Government of Viet Nam adopted the national strategy on drug control and prevention for the period ending in 2020. Based on that strategic document, the national target programme for the period 2011-2015 was developed to address drug-related issues in the country.


The Board welcomes the steps taken in Viet Nam to improve the treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers and the efforts made in participating in different projects sponsored by [the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC] in that area. The Board encourages the Government to reinforce and support existing facilities as well as to undertake capacity-building in the field of treatment for drug abusers.

The 2012 INCB report, released last week -- more than a month after the special rapporteur's report was released -- offers just this:

The Government of Viet Nam launched its new national drug control and crime prevention strategies in July 2012. The strategies highlight the need for a comprehensive national response that combines effective law enforcement, drug abuse treatment and rehabilitation measures that allow for better integration of former drug dependent persons into society and the active participation of communities in crime prevention.

I understand that any system involving confinement has the potential for abuse, in the best of times and places, and that any one report on a subject can miss the mark. But we have allegations from a respected organization, and now from the UN itself, of systemic abuses, of a degree of seriousness that would seem to invalidate the entire project. Presumably international funding is in the mix at well. So why not even a word about it, from the self-described "quasi-judicial body" overseeing the international drug control regime?

Open Society Foundation's Joanne Csete noted comments by the late Hamid Ghodse, then INCB chairman, at the Commission on Narcotic Drugs last year, disclaiming any role for human rights concerns in the drug treaties or his agency. But that is not the stated position of the other main UN drug agency, UNODC.

So do we have a scandal in the making -- or better yet, an opportunity to reform the international drug control regime?

[By the way, Csete's afore-linked essay is part of the LSE IDEAS report included in our current membership offers.]

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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This is analogous to the DEA

This is analogous to the DEA saying marijuana belongs on Schedule 1.  Regardless of any evidence to the contrary, or evidence showing the harms of prohibition and the systemic corruption and societal harm it engenders, prohibitionists don't give a damn.  They're a breed apart, some kind of subspecies of human that only cares to exhibit their authoritarian and moralizing tendencies by bringing the hammer down on undesirables.  They couldn't give a shit about the human rights of "druggies."  Trying to talk sense to the INCB is simply a waste good breath. 

druggies have no "human rights"

Druggies have no "human rights" because drug use destroys the soul within minutes, they become unhuman.

There for no human rights voilations have been made at all. In fact! Those countrys stragitys at combating drug use are by far amazingly  effective,They support the notion of tough on crime,and a compassionate care for the wellbeing of those who wish for drug users to recevie treatment,. Personally in my opinion,which also is fact (dont you forget that!)  they could be tougher by just giving them captial punishment on the spot,The cops should just shoot those suppected of drug use dead. Its the only true way to break someones addictive deseise.Because desieses cant be cured,and render a person a parasite to socity,

But i know if we use their methods of enforcement and treatment here in the GOOD OLD US OF A! We we see the biggest drop in drug use in history.And if not,oh well just keep doing it,because noone whos a true american gives a fuck about druggie anyways.Also it can help bring our economy back up by free labor for companys,they dont have to pay drug users paychecks and then they can sell their goods to us real americans without having to worrie about wages that drive profits down.

Drug use is horrible to the user and the people around them.They are useless zombies walking around that should either be put to death,or if they even have little funtion left should be put in mantory labor camp treatment centers for the rest of their lives,and if your concerned about cost to tax payers, the most cost effective way to run it for tax payers ,and also would bring peace of mind to us real Americans, is to make them sleep on cots outdoors with anckel bracelettes on that shock them if they leave their permitted zoning area, they can use outhouses ,group showers by a firehose, limited use of drinking water, one cup a day, stail leftover bread about once every 3 days per inmate,low cost medicial care,by not giving them any(come on they their subhuman and criminals nobody really cares anyways) they can work 18 hour breaks, whenever they refuse they can be physically harm by any means nesseary,and if they dont learn then they can be excuted in front of other users to show them their place in socity.

  thats how we can stop drugs .,and remember god loves you,and ill pray for you guys for your illmoral logic

You mean old witch!

You mean old witch!

wind up

Your a wind up merchant your story is so far fetched its ridiculous drug users are the last people needing freedom and respect after gays or do they need to be shot as well . 

BTW i use drugs alcohol too and my soul is fine you are the one that does not have one your an empty soul. 


If you can get a job at the UNODC , in any capacity , you might be able to land a position[career] with the CIA . Or at least Wall Street at a minimum . You want to know what a true Drug War front group Organization really looks like ? You`re looking at it .

Pete Bulkner

Hey moron,,,get off the booze, go back and get your G.E.D, and learn too use the spell check feature on your computer. I have never read such a poorly thought out, unintelligible post ever. Most Americans believe the war on drugs is a complete and utter waste of tax payer dollars.

International Narcotics Control Board?

Does an organization with this name qualify to utter any opinion or propose any policy regarding cannabis?  (Except that legalization will free up volunteers to go round and offer a cannabis regimen designed to cure narcotics addicts?)

Declaring our Rights

PLEASE READ THIS CAREFULLY.  If you agree, please print out copies, date and sign them and send them to ALL YOUR elected represenatives AND to the United Nations.  If you are REALLY passonate about this please help promote this.  Thank-You,  Dan Richeson

Mission Statement:
  To bring an end to cannabis prohibition in 2013 by gathering siginatory members through promotion and  declaring our rights through the document, "Declaration of Rights of Cannabis Users".
   Giving prohibitionists reasonable opportunity to affect appropiate, timely and agreed upon change and, if nessary enforcing our rights in a peaceful way.
  After April 20 2013 adopting a zero tolorance for acts of brutality and injustice by prohibitionists.

     The laws regarding cannabis were born on the wings of lies and pampered by propaganda such that now the tightly held belief systems are going to have to reckon with the desire of all humanity to live with dignity, free from the oppressive  tyranny that ignorance and biggotry have spawned!

-     -     -     -     -     -     -    -     -     -



 Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.

 Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people.

 Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law.

 Whereas for too long now it has been observed that disregard and contempt for human rights has been allowed to exist in the body of politically motivated law that outlaws the possession, cultivation and use of cannabis by adults.

 The signatories of this Declaration wish to live in peace in this society, have been engaged in constant communication with their elected representatives individually or as part of groups.

 The actions of the government in this regards demonstrates continued contempt and disregard that we the undersigned feel that we have NO RECOURSE but to regard our government and some of our fellow citizens as hostile towards our declared rights and indifferent to the tyranny, oppression and terrorism that we have too long had to deal with.

 Whereas by this declaration we provide the opportunity and impudence for representatives to engage in good faith negotiations which will lead to peaceful co-exisistance.

 Whereas we the undersigned do hereby declare that IT IS OUR RIGHT to cultivate, possess and use cannabis AND that any law that says otherwise will be treated by us as the tool of tyranny.

 Whereas we the undersigned in declaring our desire to realize our liberties and our desire to live in peace also recognize that the point is near where our rights and liberties will have to be defended.

 Whereas we the undersigned are willing to do all we can to avoid conflict we hope that this WARNING also provides our fellow citizens and our representatives the impudence to also seek peace and understanding within our society.



Legal Medical Marijuana or Cannabis

If you continue to only look for the bad things in life that will be all that you find so it is time to start looking for some of the good things about marijuana and all the medical research that has been done over the years. If you only looked for the bad lawyers, doctors, police, ect you would never see the good ones out there that are doing a wonderful job. It is the same with the research that has been done with marijuana helping millions of good honest people that don't need to get high they just need the medical part of marijuana that is going to give them a better quality of life. Please review this issue and look at some of the good it can do.

Thank You

Lester Libby

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