It has become almost accepted knowledge within international policy circles that efforts against drug trafficking and drug abuse violate human rights, and that the entire international drug control regime needs to be changed (or even discarded altogether) to adopt a more `rights respecting' approach. Though this view has been promoted by many prominent figures and organisations, the author of this book uses his expertise in both human rights and drug control to show that the arguments advanced in this area do not stand close scrutiny. The arguments are in fact based on selective and questionable interpretations of international human rights standards, and on a general notion - more and more clearly stated - that there is a human right to take drugs, and that any effort to combat drug abuse by definition violates this right. There is no such right in international law, and the author objects to the misuse of human rights language as a marketing tool to bring about a `back door' legalisation of drugs. Human rights issues must be addressed, but that in no way means that the international drug control regime must be discarded, or that efforts against drugs must be stopped.
Saul Takahashi teaches human rights law at Aoyama Gakuin University, in Tokyo. His previous positions include Refugee Officer at the International Secretariat of Amnesty International, Drug Control Officer at the Secretariat of the International Narcotics Control Board, and Deputy Head of Office in Occupied Palestine for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. He has authored numerous publications in English and Japanese.
1. Introduction I. Some Terminology Issues-Legalisation, Decriminalisation, and Depenalisation II. Use/Abuse/Consumption 2. Legal Standards and Regimes I. The International Drug Control Regime The 1988 Convention and Criminalisation The Treaty Monitoring Regime of International Drug Control The Enforcement Powers of INCB INCB, UNODC, and Human Rights II. Human Rights The International Human Rights Regime Human Rights Treaty Bodies and INCB Charter-Based Bodies-The Human Rights Council The Offi ce of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) III. Article 33 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 3. UNGASS and Developments in Latin America I. UNGASS II. Latin America: Regional Developments III. Latin America: Developments at the National Level Bolivia Uruguay 4. Drug Control: Violating Human Rights? I. At First, There Was `Harm Reduction' Substitution Treatment Injection Rooms Conclusion on Harm Reduction II. Human Rights as a Tool Death Penalty Law Enforcement and the Excessive Use of Force Arbitrary Detention, Ill-Treatment and Forced Labour Arbitrary Detention and the International Drug Control Conventions III. Persons who Abuse Drugs as a `Vulnerable Group' IV. Militarisation of Drug Law Enforcement Organised Crime Pain Relief and Legalisation of Opium Poppy Cultivation in Afghanistan Pain Relief Globally 5. Mandated Treatment and Drug Courts I. Portugal 6. The `Right to Abuse Drugs' Afterword: Views of the Author