HomeNewsBriefUN Criticizes LatAm Drug Legalization Moves
BRIEF

UN Criticizes LatAm Drug Legalization Moves

DRUG POLICY / 5 MAR 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

In its latest annual drugs report, the United Nations' independent drugs watchdog has sharply criticized pro-legalization arguments being made by some Latin American nations, mentioning Uruguay and Central American countries.

The International Narcotics Control Board's 2012 report, which examines drug production, trafficking and consumption worldwide, says counties around the world must stick to internationally-agreed conventions on illegal substances.

"The Board is deeply concerned about the recent developments in Central America, in particular the high-level call in some countries to pursue legalization of illicit drugs, on the assumption that decriminalization of trafficking would reduce drug-related violence," it says.

Uruguay's moves to legalize the production and sale of cannabis are singled out for specific criticism, with the report stating, "If adopted, the law could be in contravention of the international drug conventions to which Uruguay is a party."

Opening the report, head of the board Raymond Yans stressed the need for "shared responsibility" among world governments. People who believe legalization could solve the problems associated with illicit drug markets are wrong, he argued. "Even if such initiatives were implemented, organized criminal groups would get even more deeply involved, for instance by creating a black market for the illicit supply of newly-legalized drugs to young people."

InSight Crime Analysis

The last two years have seen significant developments in the global debate on drug policy, with Latin American leaders spearheading calls to rethink global prohibition, and taking legalization meaures in their own countries. Guatemalan President Otto Perez began openly advocating legalization of drug production and consumption after taking office in January last year, and in October Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala delivered a statement to the UN calling for an "urgent" review of the international community's approach.

With this report the INCB has sent a clear message that it sees no room for manoeuvre regarding illegal narcotics and the conventions that have governed their prohibition for decades.

The UN General Assembly has, however, voted in favor of a proposal put forward by Latin American nations to hold a special session to discuss alternatives in global drug policy -- though this debate is not scheduled to take place until 2016. As pro-legalization momentum continues to grow across the region, Latin America looks set to see itself more and more at odds with the UN in the meantime.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COVID AND CRIME / 23 MAR 2021

Though crime syndicates struggled to move drugs in the initial months of the pandemic when global shipping shut down and…

COCAINE / 7 SEP 2022

The port of Caucedo, the Dominican Republic's main maritime entry point, is trying to fight back against a wave of…

COCAINE / 22 SEP 2022

Colombia's President Gustavo Petro has lambasted decades of US anti-drug policy at the United Nations General Assembly.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…