NewsBriefs BUTTONS

Global Protest Scheduled For UN Drug Policy Meeting in June


March-April 1998

Preceeding a meeting of the United Nations (UN) in New York on June 8-10 regarding global drug policy, there will be demonstrations for drug policy reform on June 6-8 in over 25 cities in 16 countries across the world, according to Amsterdam's Algemeen Dagblad newspaper. The worldwide demonstration is known as the "Global Days against the Drug War." It is a sequel to the international protests in 1997 during the European Summit on drug policy in Amsterdam (Robert Vinkenborg, "Action for Legalization of Drugs `Repression Is a Big Mistake,'" Algemeen Dagblad (The Netherlands), April 1, 1998).

The aim of the global demonstration is to raise public awareness about legalization as a drug strategy. Originally, the UN was scheduled to examine critically current anti-drug policies, but that examination reportedly has been removed from the agenda. The UN will only discuss the issue of whether member countries have honored international anti-drug treaties in recent years.

On June 8 in New York, a large demonstration is scheduled at the square in front of the UN building. Demonstrations are also scheduled in San Francisco, Washington, DC, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Sidney, Amsterdam and other cities as well. Numerous organizations under the Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War will be participating in the demonstrations and have signed a declaration calling for alternatives to the global anti drug effort.

The declaration reads in part:

We, the undersigned, having recognized the extraordinary damage being caused by the Drug War, join together in a call for wide-ranging and honest international and intranational discussion about the effectiveness and consequences of current, force-based drug policies. Furthermore, we call upon our governments and fellow citizens to begin the process of the exploration of alternative solutions to the issues that these policies are claimed to address. This process should include, but not be limited to, a revision of the United Nations conventions and other international treaties which inhibit nations from adopting such alternatives.

We believe that in an atmosphere of honest and rational examination, effective policies can be found which are based not upon force, repression, prohibition, coercive government action and the use of violence, but upon the universal principles of human rights, freedom, justice, equality under the law, the dignity of the individual, the health of people and communities, and the sovereignty of nations.

It should be noted that this coalition represents a very broad range of political and social viewpoints, and a wide variety of issue-interests. The heterogeneity of the signatories to this coalition is evidence of both the intellectual strength of our position and the breadth of the destruction being wrought by current policies. For despite our differences, we stand together in the knowledge that a policy which mandates a continuous state of war, in the absence of a true acknowledgement and assessment of the consequences and excesses of that war, is objectively flawed. And that such a policy is in direct contradiction to the mission and the ideals of the United Nations, and of the peoples of the earth.

No society, whether local or global, can long endure under a perpetual state of war. Nor do we choose to leave as a legacy to our children, and to future generations, the disastrous results of such a policy. It is time to find alternatives

For more information about the Global Coalition For Alternatives to the Drug War, contact Adam Smith at the Drug Reform Coordination Network - 2000 P St., NW, Suite 615, Washington, DC 20036, Tel: (202) 293-8340, Fax: (202) 293-8344, E-mail: <>.