Report from the UN meeting in Vienna

There is strong interest in the child perspective, reports Per Johansson, secretary of the board in World Federation Against Drugs, from the Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna.

Yesterday, March 14, I was at a meeting in Vienna where NGOs meet Yury Fedotov, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. He said almost as his first remark that one ultimate goal for UNODC is to protect children, who are most vulnerable.

He also said in his opening speech: ”Crucially, the international community must protect children”.

I asked Mr Fedotov if UNODC will take initiatives with Unicef and the Committee on the Rights of the Child for them to issue policy papers what protecting children means practically. He answered in a positive manner about cooperating with Unicef.

Earlier this morning I was at a meeting with IDPC (International Drug Program Consortium) where they presented a book: Drug Policy Guide. They outline how international drug laws can be reformed. Human rights should be a base in this. I pointed out that they do not mention the only HR convention that mentions drugs; the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mike Trace answered my question and admitted that this was an omission. He also said that IDPC has another interpretation of CRC art 33.

”You should write it down“, was my comment which was more or less the last words of the session.

During the meeting with Mr Fedotov he got questions about treatment. He says both good and bad things. He said that treatment is more efficient than law enforcement, as if they were opposites. He said that he thinks methadone should be part of broader treatment program aiming at recovery. Methadone for the sake of methadone is bad and does not help.

I think WFAD has established a new path in the international drug policy debate.

There is very much more to be done, but there is strong interest in the child perspective. I think many are tired hearing only about treatment matters mostly connected to intravenous drug use.