WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
8 Jan 2015 | Commentary | News

Advocating for Drug Policy Reform at the United Nations

In 2016, the United Nations will convene a General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) specifically related to drugs. While the agenda has yet to be set, this UNGASS will be the highest-level debate on the international drug control system in recent history. As the highest policy-making and representative body in the United Nations, the General Assembly will serve to guide global drug policy cooperation and shape debate for the coming years. WOLA has been working together with our partners to ensure the discussions serve to advance human rights and public health, and reflect the growing global debate on the failures of current policies and the need to explore alternative approaches that are more effective and more humane.

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), a coalition of reform-minded drug policy organizations throughout the world of which WOLA is a member, has outlined five key policy asks for the UNGASS. These asks reflect the broad and deep-seated problems with the prohibitionist model, and encourage member states to recognize the failures of past policies and adopt new evidence-based approaches that prioritize human rights and public health.

  1. Ensure an open and inclusive debate
  2. Re-set the objectives of drug policies
  3. Support policy experimentation and innovation
  4. End the criminalization of the most affected populations
  5. Commit to the harm reduction approach

To read more about what WOLA and IDPC are fighting for—and why UNGASS matters—please click here.