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Protection from illicit drugs – a child rights issue

- Protecting children from illicit drugs is not an option for State Parties to the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It is an obligation. This is the conclusion in a report that was presented at the World Forum Against Drugs in Stockholm.

Around 300 delegates met in the end of May for the second World Forum Against Drugs. They represented NGOs, governments and research institutions in more than 50 countries. The purpose of the Forum was to present updated research on narcotic drugs and to share experiences from prevention and treatment in different countries and regions.

One of the many reports presented at the Forum addressed illicit drugs from a human rights perspective, with a particular focus on child rights. The report concludes that “not only is the obligation of States Parties to protect children from drugs a human rights imperative; it is a human rights imperative that should be given primary consideration. The child’s interest to protection from illicit use/production/trafficking of drugs shall always be the starting point for discussing drug policy. The perspective shall be child centred, as opposed to adult centred, or user centred.”

The report is written by Stephan Dahlgren and Roxana Stere and has the title “The Right Of Children To Be Protected From Narcotic Drugs And Psychotropic Substances; A Human Right/International Law Perspective”. The report can be downloaded here.

The paper takes a human rights approach to the issue of children and drugs. It starts with a broad overview over international law and human rights law. It thereafter explains the legal requirements regarding protection children from drugs in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. On basis of facts presented, the paper ends with a section of conclusions and options for reinforcing the protection of children against drugs.

Here is a link to the web site of the World Forum Against Drugs, where also a number of other interesting documents are available:

Marihuana as Medicine? – here and here and here

“Drugs in Africa”, presented by Professor Isidore Obot from Nigeria. 

Gil Kerlikowske was one of the speakers at the opening session of WFAD. He is the new ‘drug czar’ in the United States as he is Director of the National Drug Control Policy. He presented President Obama’s new National Drug Control Strategy. “This strategy represents a new direction in U.S. drug policy. This policy forcefully addresses the enormous public safety threat posed by transnational criminal organizations and activities which supply drugs to our citizens. It also addresses the public health threat posed by drugs by emphasizing the need to invest in prevention, treatment, and recovery support, ensuring the addicted get the help they need. This balanced approach requires the coordinated and complementary efforts of prevention, treatment, and law enforcement professionals”. A more detailed summary of Kerlikowske’s speech can be found here.

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