Ending extrajudicial drug war killings and extending transitional justice for victims in the Philippines – a side event at the 67th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna

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The UN’s principal drug policy-making body, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), convened in Vienna on March 14, 2024, to discuss how to expedite the implementation of international agreements and assess the state of progress made in tackling the global drug problem.

The 67th CND session takes place in the context of the rise of extremely nimble drug trafficking networks, record-high availability of some drugs, and a treatment gap that remains substantial, with just 25% of people with drug use disorders receiving appropriate care.
According to Ghada Waly, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), “drug challenges are evolving swiftly as synthetics change the market, trafficking networks evolve their business models, and illicit markets overlap with conflict and instability.” “The Commission on Narcotic Drugs must use this historic session to unite around balanced responses that safeguard our communities, promote public health, and uphold human rights. The global response is at a critical juncture.”

Fr. Albert Alejo and UNODC Director General Ghada Waly & Marizel Rojas at the UNODC – United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 67th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria. (Photo Credit: Marizel Rojas)

Member states will commit to taking concrete action on the issues mentioned in the 2019 Ministerial Declaration by announcing new promises for the first time. The Pledge4Action initiative, started by Ghanaian Ambassador Philbert Johnson, the Chair of the CND, enables Member States to formally indicate that they are prepared to devote time, money, and resources to carrying out their commitments to implementing global drug policy.

“We cannot afford to fail to unite in our efforts amidst the complexities of the global landscape,” stated Ambassador Johnson. “This mid-term review highlights the need for cooperative diplomacy to expedite our efforts to tackle the global drug crisis. We shall progress as a team through unwavering diplomacy and coordinated effort.
The Commission is debating resolutions that deal with issues such as alternative development, preventing and treating drug overdoses, enhancing access to and availability of restricted substances for medicinal and scientific purposes, and rehabilitation and recovery management programs.

On Thursday, March 21, 2024, a discussion about the drug war in the Philippines will be held. The DRCNET Foundation Inc., organizes the session with the support of the Alza Vita Roma. The keynote speaker is Senator Leila de Lima (via Zoom). Amnesty International General Secretary Agnes Callmard will likewise speak (via Zoom) during the event.

Fr. Albert Alejo, Faculty of Sciences, Pontifical Gregorian University, and Member and Board of Directors of No Peace without Justice, will moderate the session.
The 67th session is scheduled to end on March 22.

  • Hector Pascua/picture: Marizel Rojas
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