UN panel regrets Bolivia’s denunciation of narcotics control convention

Cocaine haul

5 July 2011 – The independent United Nations body tasked with monitoring the production and consumption of narcotics worldwide today voiced regret at Bolivia’s decision to denounce the key international drug control convention, to which it had previously acceded.

The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) said the decision by the Government of Bolivia last Wednesday to renounce the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, as amended by the 1972 Protocol, was an unprecedented step even though authorities announced their intention to re-accede the convention with reservations on specific treaty provisions.

“The board is of the opinion that while this step by Bolivia may be in line with the letter of the convention, such action is contrary to the convention’s spirit,” the INCB said in a press statement.

“The international community should not accept any approach whereby governments use the mechanism of denunciation and re-accession with reservation, in order to free themselves from the obligation to implement certain treaty provisions,” the board added.

Such an approach, it added, could undermine the integrity of the global drug control system and scuttle the good work achieved by governments over many years to achieve the aims and objectives of the drug control conventions, including the prevention of drug abuse which is ruining the lives of millions of people.

The INCB stressed that international drug control conventions are the cornerstone of international efforts to prevent the illicit production, manufacture, trafficking and abuse of drugs while ensuring that licit drugs are available for medical and scientific purposes.

The board requested the Bolivian Government to consider all the implications of its decision and invited it to so in the context of the shared responsibility of all countries in dealing with the international drug problem.

The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was signed in 1961 and amended in 1970 to codify all multilateral treaties on drug control. It extended control systems to include the cultivation of plants that are grown as the raw material of narcotic drugs.

It was intended to limit the possession, use, trade, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes, and to tackle drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter drug trafficking.

The Vienna-based INCB is an independent body established under the international drug control treaties to monitor and support governments’ compliance with the treaties.


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