IAL update. <--- some important pieces of info in this one!

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Digit, May 31, 2003.

  1. Sign the appeal to reform the UN Conventions on Drugs

    Bulletin of the International Antiprohibitionist League on the world campaign for the reform of the UN Conventions on Drugs

    #.21 - YEAR I - 29 May 2003

    Published in


    "HIGH TIMES" Magazine awards Marco Cappato with the "FREEDOM FIGHTER" title for THE MONTH OF JUNE.

    The US magazine "High times" nominates Marco Cappato - radical MEP, Coordinator of the Parliamentarians for Anti-prohibitionist Action and member of the IAL- "freedom fighter" for the month of June.

    Cappato won the prize for his anti-prohibitionist activities. In fact, on December 2002 he succeeded in presenting before the European Parliament a proposal for a resolution aiming at the reform of the three UN Conventions on drugs, signed by 109 MEPs from 7 political groups and 13 Member States. The text of the recommendation, which is also a petition addressed to the Secretary-General and the Members States of the UN, has been signed by more than 7500 people from 93 countries, among whom 250 legislators from 28 States.

    Moreover, in the month of March 2003, Cappato was arrested and incarcerated for 3 days in Manchester, as a result of an anti-prohibitionist civil disobedience action enacted in Stockport on December 2001. Such an action was part of the international campaign to amend or repeal drug laws and policies at an international level, launched by the International Antiprohibitionist League and by the Transnational Radical Party.

    IAL endorses the international day of action in support of drug users in Thailand on 12th June.

    Since the beginning of the year, the war on drugs has killed more than 2,000 people in Thailand alone; the role of the State has been questioned by human rights activists and, more recently, also by the UN special representative for Human Rights defenders, Hina Jilani, who declared that Thai authorities had used the campaign to target minority groups in the country. According to the BBC, Ms. Jilani said that "there are indications that this campaign against drugs is being used by security forces to target the more marginalised communities,". She also added that those communities had been placed at risk as a result of the campaign.

    The IAL supports the international day "Stop the Murder of Thai Drug Users" and encourages the readers of the LIAfax to participate in the various demonstrations planned all over the world.

    A couple of months ago, on 6 March 2003, five Radical MEPs questioned the European Commission on the question of the Thai war on drugs. Below the text of the parliamentary query and the reply of the Commission.

    WRITTEN QUESTION E-0813/03 - by Maurizio Turco, Marco Cappato, Emma Bonino, Marco Pannella and Gianfranco Dell'Alba (06 March 2003)

    Subject: War on drugs in Thailand

    Taking into account the fact that according to information on 'UN Wire' of 4 March 2003:

    - the Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra affirmed that Thailand's month-old drugs crackdown will be stepped up, despite expressions of concern by the UN rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Asma Jahangir, and others over reports that summary executions have been committed in the context of the campaign; he notably declared: 'The crackdown will become more intense, I guarantee... Don't worry. (The) UN isn't my father. If they want to come, come. If they want to inspect, go ahead';

    - the Thai Prime Minister also affirmed that more than 1140 have been killed in the crackdown, which began on 1 February and is to last three months; police also said that as of Friday, 29, 501 suspects were arrested in the crackdown; they said officers acting in self-defence killed 31 people and that drug gangs killed the others; a Ministry spokesman furthermore affirmed that 'Nothing is above the law in this campaign';

    Did the Commission express EU concern to the Thai authorities about the government-sponsored massacres in the war on drugs? Did it ask the government to stop these widespread killings that are contrary to all internationally recognised human rights and fundamental freedoms?

    What progressive measures will be enacted by the Commission if the Thai government continues the massacre and ignores international requests to stop?

    Is the Commission aware of the fact that, like Thailand, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Kuwait, Iran, Philippines and Indonesia also apply the death penalty for drugs-related crimes, and does it agree that a way forward would be to amend the international conventions on drugs to expressly prohibit the death penalty, notably in view of the April 2003 UN meeting on drugs?

    Answer given by Mr. Patten on behalf of the Commission (22 April 2003)

    The Commission is following closely the Thai Government's policy of 'war on drugs' launched in the beginning of February 2003. The Commission is concerned with the present situation, in particular with reports that a number of drug-related deaths have thus far allegedly been the result of extra-judicial killings. While the Commission recognises the seriousness and urgent nature of the problem of illicit drugs in Thailand, it feels the problem should be tackled through a balanced approach addressing the demand and the supply sides and conducted in accordance with international human rights standards and the rule of law.

    The Commission feels that the Thai Government should conduct transparent and thorough investigations into each death, take urgent measures to prevent the number of deaths from rising further, and co-operate closely with the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) on this issue. In this respect, the Commission and the Member States are addressing the subject of the fight on drugs with the Government of Thailand through the appropriate diplomatic channels.

    As regards the death penalty, the Commission follows the specific Union policy guidelines on this subject in its relations with third countries that maintain capital punishment. The Union has on several occasions raised the death penalty issue with the Thai Government, as recently as in 2002. The suggestion concerning possible amendments to the United Nations (UN) Conventions on Drugs to expressly prohibit the death penalty for drugs-related crimes appears difficult to take forward given the nature of International Law and the principle of sovereignty of the States, but also because the Community as such is not a part to these Conventions. It would be up to the States that are parties of the Conventions to propose the modifications they deem appropriate. This subject was not on the agenda of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting which took place between 8-17 April 2003 in Vienna. Moreover, since the Commission only has an observer status in the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, it was not in a position to intervene in this regard.


    - Marco Perduca, secretary of the IAL, speaking of the Italian Programme on Drug Addiction for 2003-05 that only reinforces fossilised prohibitionism, says that although the Italian government endlessly repeat the orthodox international prohibitionist mantra of 'believe, obey, fight',* and produce volumes of data, they fail to analyse these and seem utterly blind to half a century of prohibitionism's failures.
    * Translator's note: this was the Fascist regime's basic slogan from 1922 to 1945: credere, obbedire, combattere

    - Civil disobedience in Pisa via gratis distribution of hashish: Radicali Italiani president Rita Bernardini, together with Vittoria Bollettieri and Marco Cecchi, president of the local Radicali group, were booked on charges of distributing drugs with intention of selling them.

    - Bologna: Per Dario Zanotti, Roberto Baietti and Silvana Bononcini, three Radicali members, have been sentenced to four months in gaol and 700 euros fine each for having distributed free hashish in 1997 by way of civil disobedience.

    - In the course of an electoral tour of Sicily, Gianfranco Fini, vice-president of the Council of Ministers, appeared to allude to the imminent abolition of methadone aid to addicts in the public health system. If that was his intention, says Alessandro Caforio, publisher of Antiproibizionisti.it, I would freely call him an uninformed Taliban sniffing for votes. He seems to be trying to stem the flight from his party, the right-wing Alleanza Natzionale, caused by his own low profile in government activity. Apparently he is unaware of the hard fact that prohibitionism has failed.


    2958 19/05/2003
    Upon the discovery of an increase in opium cultivation in areas under tribal control, the government, egged on by international agencies, have decided to use the mailed fist and promised more severe penalties.

    2954 19/05/2003
    Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin says that the new law on cannabis could slide to the end of 2003. The delay stems from American opposition to Canadian decriminalisation of cannabis.

    2955 19/05/2003
    The American Congress is about to pass a law that permits the use of funds ($195 million) for media campaigns 'against drugs', meaning, in effect, against all and any sort of antiprohibitionist policies or information.

    2961 20/05/2003
    U.S.A. (New York)
    TIMES UNION (Albany, N.Y.)
    A law allowing the release of 1,300 prisoners convicted of non-violent drug-related crimes has been approved. Governor George Pataki says that this will save New York State about $19.6 million a year.

    2960 21/05/2003
    Bob Carr, prime minister of New South Wales, has announced an experiment. A new law would allow therapeutic use of cannabis for four years. Persons convicted of serious drug crimes, minors and pregnant women would be excluded.

    2956 16/05/2003
    Home Secretary David Blunkett has declared to a conference of physicians that 'the fight against heroin addiction is the challenge of the next ten years.'

    2952 17/05/2003
    EL PAIS (Madrid)
    A study undertaken by the Ipss in Catalonia shows that methadone maintenance programmes have improved the quality of life of addicts. Among this group there are fewer OD cases, a lower HIV-positive rate, and fewer drug-related crimes. Nevertheless, prevailing taboos continue to militate against the reinsertion of these people into the normal social and work scene.

    2957 17/05/2003
    A study of 76,000 students has shown that anti-drug tests are not a deterrent against drug use. There is no significant difference in drug presence between schools under test surveillance and those that are not.

    2959 21/05/2003
    A high official of the sole political party of Pyongyang is said to have been among the North Korean crew stopped in Sydney with 50kg of heroin. This would seem to confirm the ties between the North Korean regime and international drug traffickers.

    2953 16/05/2003
    Prime Minister Tony Blair will convene an international conference to stir up support among European countries for fighting drug traffic in Colombia. The Bush administration has welcomed this as an important move in aid of Colombia's president, Alvaro Uribe.


    Editor in Chief: Marco Perduca
    Director: Vincenzo Donvito
    Layout & Distribution: C.E.D. Roma

    The Liafax is published with a contribution from the Open Society Institute

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