WEPE489 - Poster Exhibition
Compliance of west African drug related laws with the UN conventions, treaties and other international instruments: which is the way to go?
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), HIV Section, DAKAR, Senegal
West Africa became in the past few years the turntable of an intense drug smuggling
from the Latin America and Asia to Europe. However, the strict legal
environment conceived to fight against drug traffickers also produces, as a
consequence, the stigmatization and criminalization of drug users. Several
countries in the sub-region keep applying the criminal law to health related
instances, thus skipping constructive and effective responses to HIV risks
related to IDUs. Moreover, this approach leads directly to several human rights
violations, like the right to health which is indispensable for enjoying all
other rights. Indeed all the drugs control policies and their implementation
strategies enhance systematic discrimination against IDUs and constitute an
obstacle for accessing essential therapies. Within this framework, the
countries where the applicable drug law is not in compliance with human rights
standards, catalyze the HIV epidemic and obstruct the implementation of harm
reduction measures (i.e. comprehensive package).
analysis of national laws on Drugs towards UN Conventions and other
on the predominant approach - endorsed by Drug Codes in West Africa - aiming at
criminalizing IDUs, it is of main importance to identify all legal
obstacles to the supply of health services in light of the UN Conventions on
Drugs and other International Instruments.
UN Conventions include principles making legally possible to avoid, in certain
circumstances and up to a certain extent, the criminalization of IDUs. However,
and despite the International Human Rights Instruments, in several Western
African countries the law had rather adopted punitive approaches towards IDUs.
Thus the law enforcement of disproportionate punishment had produced negative
effects in terms of public health and human rights fulfillment, by increasing
the rate of HIV epidemic. Whiting this framework a law reform is a necessary
step to tackle HIV epidemic among IDUs.
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