EFFECTS OF GLOBALIZATION, MARKET LIBERALIZATION, POVERTY ON WORLD DRUG PROBLEM AMONG ISSUES RAISED AT ASSEMBLY SPECIAL SESSION19980609 General Debate Continues
The world drug problem had been exacerbated by the recent changes in the world economic system, Prime Minister Abderrahman El-Youssoufi of Morocco told the General Assembly this morning as it continued its special session devoted to countering the world drug problem together.
Globalization, the liberalization of international markets and the suppression of borders have allowed the drug trade to flourish, he continued. The development of satellite communications and other technical advancements have endowed trafficking networks with new and efficient working tools to adapt, and better exploit, the world economic system. The international community must not overlook drug trafficking's adverse impact on the economic potential of States, as the productive capacities of large numbers of drug addicts are lost.
Egypt's Minister for Social Affairs, Mervat Tallawi, said the prerequisites for combating the drug problem were overwhelming and exceeded the capability of most developing countries. That was particularly true when those countries were also called on to reform their economies, fight poverty and combat illiteracy in order to achieve social justice and sustainable development. In the age of globalization, when drug trafficking threatened developing countries, industrialized countries were also affected.
Developing countries, grappling with the consequences of poverty, were not able to fully participate in solutions to the drug problem, said the representative of Indonesia, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China. The desperate plight of those countries becomes more evident and more tragic in light of the fact that revenue from illegal drug trade was nearly 10 times the level of official development assistance (ODA). The importance of development, and the role of poverty and socio-economic exclusion in illicit activities cannot be overstressed.
The economic situation of countries in transition prevented them from allocating the necessary resources to combat illicit drugs, said Vartan Oskanian, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia. His country lacked
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such risk-sharing mechanisms as insurance, developed labour markets and a stable social security fund. Those circumstances make the country's official structures vulnerable to corruption and increased the potential danger for money-laundering and drug trafficking.
The developed world continued to penalise countries that diversified their economies to promote offshore financial services as legitimate international businesses, said David Simmons, the Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs of Barbados. Efforts should be made to strengthen regulation and not to outlaw offshore financial businesses. The countries of the North, whose major cities are centres for money-laundering, could help to control the effects of narco-trafficking by providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries.
Also addressing the Assembly this morning were the Prime Ministers of Kyrgyzstan and Trinidad and Tobago.
Also speaking this morning were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, the Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia, the Minister for Home Affairs of Bangladesh, the Minister of Health of Israel, the Minister for Social Affairs of Egypt, the Ministers for Home Affairs of Myanmar and Namibia, the Minister for Social Affairs of Norway, the Minister of Justice, Equality and Law Reform of Ireland, the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Japan, the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia and the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs of Brunei. The representatives of the Philippines and Pakistan also spoke.
The special session will meet again at 3 p.m. today to continue its general debate on the world drug problem.
Special Session Work Programme
The General Assembly met this morning to continue its general debate of its special session devoted to countering the world drug problem together. (For background information, see Press Release GA/9410 of 5 June.)
KUBANYCHBEK JUMALIEV, Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan: Since its independence, Kyrgyzstan has developed and strengthened broad regional and international cooperation in order to control narcotic drugs. Only jointly agreed actions can lead to positive results. The harmonization of the internal and foreign policies of all States will make it possible to maximize efforts to combat drug addiction. To that end, Kyrgyzstan has concluded agreements with a number of the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States. It also coordinates efforts with various international organizations, institutes of the European Union and structures of the Organization for Economic Cooperation.
Despite the steps taken by Kyrgyzstan, the drug situation continues to deteriorate, due to a series of internal and external factors. One major reason is the complex domestic political situation in neighbouring States. The flow of drugs, weapons, forcibly displaced persons and refugees passes through Gorny Badakhshan in transit to Kyrgyzstan and other States of the Central Asian region. The increase in the volume of narcotics trafficking is also a result of the drop in narcotics prices, which makes them more accessible to a broad section of the population who are insufficiently provided for economically and socially. We fear that this may lead to the undermining of statehood, the spread of corruption, and the escalation of tension.
Kyrgyzstan is a major source of the raw materials for hashish. That is largely a result of the natural climatic conditions in the country, which are conducive to the growth of wild cannabis. Because of the inadequate standard of living, whole families have become involved in the criminal narcotics business. In that connection, the participation of donor countries in conducting large-scale scientific studies of environmentally sound methods of destroying wild cannabis may become an important aspect of international cooperation.
BASDEO PANDAY, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago: Because of its geographical location, Trinidad and Tobago is particularly vulnerable to major cocaine producers. The metamorphosis of the illicit drug trade over the last decade has created complex new problems for the region. Serious crime has increased as the unemployed population is exploited by traffickers, both as labour and as a consumer market. Ever more governmental resources are
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diverted from pressing development needs into eradicating the illicit drug trade interacting in symbiosis with poverty.
Since 1995, an aggressive, comprehensive plan of action has curbed the drug trade and helped to regain control of borders, territorial water, streets and institutions once easy targets to drug lords. A strong legal framework enables prosecutions and investigations. Changes in legislation improve provisions against money-laundering. The plan of action is based on a regional approach. It endorses the Barbados Plan of Action for regional cooperation in the context of a commitment to internatioal cooperation. For example, cooperation with the United States has led to an extradition treaty and to technical and other forms of assistance such as training. Overall, Trinidad and Tobago's ongoing plan of action brings together all the military and law enforcement agencies in a strategic approach making a significant impact on suppressing and reducing drug-related crime.
ABDERRAHMAN EL-YOUSSOUFI, Prime Minister of Morocco: The world drug problem has been exacerbated by the changes that swept across the world economic system. Globalization, the liberalization of international markets and the suppression of borders provide a new environment that has paved the way for the flourishing drug trade. The development of satellite communications and other technical advancements have helped to endow trafficking networks with new and efficient working tools. That has helped them to adapt and better exploit the world economic system. The international community must not overlook drug trafficking's adverse impact on the economic potential of States, as the productive capacities of large numbers of drug addicts are lost.
Morocco has adopted the three drug-related conventions and has pursued, in the past few years, a responsible policy to combat drug smuggling. That policy is concentrated in three areas: stopping drug trafficking, implementing a sustainable development programme and consolidating international cooperation efforts with various partners. Morocco has also established a national drug control unit that has waged several campaigns. The first, in 1995, resulted in the dismantling of several trafficking networks.
The tireless efforts made by drug producing countries cannot yield the expected results as long as the consuming countries do not pledge to implement an efficient policy to cut demand. Morocco is concerned by the actions of some countries that have legalized so-called "soft drugs" for personal use. Efforts in the anti-drug struggle cannot produce the expected results as long as consuming States do not make parallel efforts. Morocco pledges to intensify operational cooperation by conducting controlled deliveries, exchanging information and enforcing international norms.
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VARTAN OSKANIAN, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Armenia: In the past five years, drug-related crimes in Armenia have increased one and one-half times, and the amount of narcotic drugs seized has increased 30 times. As a result of the evidence seized, it has been proven that 70 per cent of the drugs confiscated in Armenia originate outside the country. Tragically, Armenia has become a transit route for drug trafficking, but it lacks the necessary funds to take measures to counter that threat. Therefore, international cooperation is essential for individual States to combat the spread of drugs. The text before the Assembly can only have a positive impact in that fight, especially in the areas of money-laundering, judicial cooperation and the control of chemical substances and stimulants.
Like many countries with economies in transition, Armenia has suffered a sharp decline in the standard of living. The motivation to earn easy money is strong and is exacerbated by a scarcity of jobs and low salaries. In addition, Armenia's economic system currently lacks many risk-sharing mechanisms, such as insurance, developed labour markets and a stable social security fund. Those circumstances make the country's official structures vulnerable to corruption and increases the potential danger for money- laundering and drug trafficking. Prevailing economic conditions also make it difficult for Armenia, and other countries in transition, to allocate the necessary financial material resources to the fight against drugs. Yet, Armenia is elaborating new approaches in the field, including the establishment of a special unit to fight illegal narcotic drug trafficking.
KAMAL KHARRAZI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran: The increasing drug problem is a threat to sustainable development everywhere. The illegal drug trade comprises a major global network that causes instability in every part of the world. Regional and international cooperation must focus on eliminating the major traffickers and providing alternative forms of development while controlling practices such as money-laundering.
Due to its geographical position, Iran suffers from the problems of being a transit country, between producers in the east and consumers in the west, mostly Europe. Last year, Iran spent $400 million for control of drug transit across its territory, and another $400 million for treatment of citizens who fell victim. No international assistance was received for the efforts. Traffickers on the eastern border are also equipped with heavy equipment. Military action is needed to control them, leading to martyrdom of law enforcement officials. The harsh measures benefit the user countries in Europe, but those countries do not appreciate Iran's difficulty and instead criticize the strict measures required. Iran reaffirms the vital role of the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) as the treaty body of international drug control conventions. However, unilateral mechanisms for evaluating progress of individual countries is inappropriate, undesirable,
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counterproductive and harmful to efforts against drug trafficking, a battle no nation can win alone.
JOZEF KALMAN, Deputy Prime Minister of Slovakia: The problems of drug consumption are relatively recent in Slovakia compared to Western Europe, but the growth rate of the problems is rapid. In 1995, the Government instituted a national programme to fight drugs. It is a full scale social effort to suppress illegal drug production and trafficking while ensuring the health and social welfare of those unable to resist the phenomenon. Activities are balanced between the preventive-curative and the repressive sides of the drug issue.
A Committee of Ministers evaluates and revises the National Programme annually. The most effective preventive measure in control of drug addiction has been found to be education at all levels. For suppressing the drug trade, multilateral cooperation at both the regional and international levels has been found to be most effective. Slovakia invites exchange of information between member nations and supports the holding of ministerial and periodic meetings to deal with new elements of the problem, such as money-laundering.
RAFIQUL ISLAM, Minister for Home Affairs, Bangladesh: The country is located between two large opium producing areas, the Golden Triangle in the east and the Golden Crescent in the west. That makes it particularly vulnerable as a transit country. Unlike the amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) consumed by drug abusers in most countries, consumption in Bangladesh is of the depressive drugs most harmful to the body, particularly the vital organs.
To contain the supply of the illicit drug trade, Bangladesh enacted a Narcotics Control Act in 1990. It provides for stringent penal measures, with a maximum punishment of a death sentence for possession of more than 25 grams of heroin or cocaine. A new draft amendment under consideration provides for extradition of drug offenders, controlled delivery techniques and freezing of drug offenders' bank accounts. There can be no compromise in dealing with those profiting from human misery and gambling with human lives. A multi- pronged offensive against production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs must be mounted by the international community. The developing countries need help with that offensive.
JOSHUA MATZA, Minister of Health, Israel: The scourge of drugs strikes all countries and does not discriminate. Israeli law deals with crimes that transcend national boundaries and have worldwide implications. Such crimes demand international solutions. We have to consider the possibility of supporting extra-territorial courts outside the sphere of national jurisdiction. Israel cooperates with many States by supplying legal assistance. The national police maintain a fruitful collaboration with police forces from all corners of the globe, especially in complicated drug offences.
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In that regard, it is important to foster cooperation at the sub-regional and regional levels in the fight against illicit narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
Israel has made progress in carrying out long-term measures concerning treatment, rehabilitation and education, which are designed to halt the demand for narcotics and other illegal drugs. Educational programmes are conducted in 60 per cent of schools in Israel, and those programmes should reach all schools by the year 2000. The infrastructure for treatment and rehabilitation programmes has also been improved, and the Government encourages research on drug abuse. In the past year, Israel has advanced a new master plan of intervention regarding children and youth at high risk. The public sector plays a major role in the efforts to combat the drug problem. Israel is ready to share its experience in every area of the fight against drug abuse. It has signed several bilateral agreements and has shared its expertise with emerging democracies and developing countries. Israel can offer assistance in preventing drug abuse among youth and rehabilitation programmes for prisoners.
MERVAT TALLAWI, Minister for Social Affairs, Egypt: The prerequisites for fighting the drug problem have become overwhelming and exceed the capability of most developing countries. That is particularly true when those countries are also called on to reform their economies, fight poverty and combat illiteracy in order to achieve social justice and sustainable development. In addition, the social and health dimensions of the drug problem do not receive enough attention. In a climate of global economic interdependence, when drug trafficking threatens the developing countries and their development plans, that threat also affects industrialized countries. The large consumption of illicit drugs in industrialized countries, in turn, increases demand from all parts of the world.
Egypt established a specialized agency to combat drugs more than 70 years ago. In 1989, Egypt reviewed and amended its laws against drugs in order to be concomitant with the 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Additionally, Egypt has signed more than 30 bilateral agreements. The Government has also led the fight against drugs, including through education and the media.
The purpose of all those efforts could not be achieved without effective international cooperation. Such cooperation requires, among others, enhancing social and economic development programmes, supporting countries with economies in transition, strengthening assistance to addicts and their families, and enhancing the role of the United Nations.
TIN HLAING, Minister for Home Affairs, Myanmar: The menace of narcotic drugs continues to pose a serious threat to both developed and developing countries. While the international community has worked to combat the drug
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problem, a more tolerant consumer culture favourable to drug abuse has emerged. Commitment alone is not adequate to achieve the desired results in the fight against drugs. Myanmar attaches great importance to the availability of sufficient funds, on a sustained and predictable basis, for alternative development projects in areas where illicit narcotic crops are cultivated. It is the moral imperative for the donor community to support efforts against those crops.
Efforts to eradicate illicit drugs will be undermined unless equally vigorous attempts are made in demand reduction. Lately, the problem of drug abuse has been compounded by the emergence of new trafficking routes which has led to an increase in the number of drug abusers and the growth of the drug market.
The drug problem in Myanmar is a legacy of its colonial past. The problem was further aggravated after independence when the production of drugs and their trafficking became linked with the internal insurgency problem. Since independence, Myanmar has worked to suppress narcotic drugs and develop plans for poppy growing areas. Those efforts are being carried out with its own limited resources. Myanmar is determined to achieve the goal of the total elimination of poppy growing and opium production within 15 years, with its own available resources. However, the international community should extend assistance so that goal can be achieved sooner.
DAVID SIMMONS, Attorney-General and Minister for Home Affairs, Barbados: The Barbados Plan of Action for the Caribbean region is a successful five- pronged strategy to reduce both supply and demand of illegal narcotic drugs through regional and international cooperation. The principle of mutuality of interests implies that no country evaluates the progress of another and that a multilateral mechanism, such as the United Nations, monitors the efforts of all nations.
The region has made considerable progress in controlling money-laundering. The developed world continues to penalize countries which have diversified their economies to promote offshore financial services as legitimate international businesses. The opening of markets and liberalization of trade brings new challenges. The appropriate response is not to outlaw offshore financial business but to strengthen regulation. The affluent and powerful countries of the North, whose major cities are centres for money-laundering, can support efforts to control effects of narco-trafficking by providing financial, technical, technological and training assistance to developing countries. The international financial institutions can also make loans available to small States. Improvement of equipment, matériel and law enforcement infrastructure can help countries resist the challenges of organized crime.
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JERRY EKANDJO, Minister for Home Affairs, Namibia: Namibia has been identified as a new drug trafficking route to drug-consuming markets. Ample evidence exists to show that the country is now being used as a transit point for hard drugs, like cocaine. The country's drug law enforcement unit has expanded its operations, with cooperation from other international and regional law enforcement units. At the same time, Namibia is conducting routine pre-emptive actions, such as lectures and interactive sessions focussing on youth. These have become hugely popular, and have branched out into radio and television.
Due to the international dimension of drug trafficking, international cooperation must become a reality. Government ministries, working with youth- oriented groups, are implementing policies aimed at preventing the use of drugs and reducing the adverse consequences of drug abuse. Drug trafficking can and must be stopped. The drug lords pursue this social and economic ill with determination to destroy. The international community must strive with the necessary political will to preserve life and the dignity of mankind.
MAGNHILD MELTVEIT KLEPPA, Minister for Social Affairs, Norway: A significant achievement of the special session is to put drug prevention and the rehabilitation of drug addicts higher on the international political agenda. In particular, Norway welcomes the draft declaration on the guiding principles of demand reduction and hopes the text will become a fundamental instrument in an effective global strategy towards reducing the demand for drugs. Rapidly changing patterns in drug abuse and production necessitate international cooperation. Partnerships must also be forged beyond governmental circles, with non-governmental organizations, parents, and civil society groups. Young people should be seen as an important resource; they are a source of knowledge and advice, not only a target group for preventive efforts.
For many years, Norway has been a major donor to the United Nations drug programmes, and is increasing its development assistance through United Nations organizations to drug and alcohol related programmes. It intends to integrate a drug dimension in its general development aid programme. There is pressing need for broadening the funding base of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), since a small number of countries still bear a disproportionate share of the financial burden. Also, recipient countries must give higher priority to drug-related programmes in their general development efforts. There should be greater cooperation with parents, who serve as role models for their children. Norway will strengthen drug education in schools, while intensifying care and after-care for addicts. It has experienced the importance of carefully controlling the marketing of pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco. Further, it knows the importance of law enforcement in preventive efforts. There is need now for concerted and reinforced action, rather than resignation. Both the individual and society
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at large have the right to expect governments to make every effort to protect them from the scourge of drug abuse.
JOHN O'DONOGHUE, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform of Ireland: Ireland attaches equal importance to the supply-and-demand side of the drug problem, both of which require action at the domestic and international levels. The Irish Government passed a Proceeds of Crime Act and set up a Criminal Assets Bureau, which are contributing greatly to the country's fight against drugs. The Bureau identifies criminal assets and takes legal action to confiscate them. Drug trafficking is ultimately about making huge profits and it is, undoubtedly, the loss of these profits, together with the loss of freedom, that drug dealers fear most. Drug abuse cannot be defeated by law enforcement measures alone, which is why Ireland welcomes the work already done by the United Nations, and is pleased to support the political declaration and the guiding principles of drug demand reduction.
In Ireland, demand reduction strategies are developed and implemented through a community-wide participatory approach. The involvement of those communities most ravaged by drugs has been a crucial element in the success of drug demand-reduction policies. Alternative development is an important measure, as is offering viable alternative livelihoods to those involved in illicit production. Drug trafficking poses a serious threat to the entire international community. Global cooperation is needed to defeat drug barons and criminals. The international community is taking a significant step forward by agreeing on the texts to be adopted by the Assembly, which will improve action against money-laundering and strengthen judicial cooperation, among other measures. Ireland particularly welcomes the measures against designer drugs. The country is prepared to live up to its national and international responsibilities to work in cooperation with other States.
MASAHIKO KOMURA, State Secretary for Foreign Affairs, Japan: The abuse of ATS by youth is considered a principal drug problem for the next century. The easily and inexpensively produced drugs have spread rapidly. Resolving the problem will take international cooperation.
Japan's five-year strategy to prevent drug abuse is centred on cooperation with the UNDCP. It operationalizes the ATS action plan in the region, for example, by assisting in developing alternative crops as substitutes for the opium poppy in Myanmar and neighbouring countries. Finally, Japan cooperates with other countries in law enforcement. Since drug-related crimes have the hallmarks of international organized crime, international cooperation among enforcement organizations, such as police and customs services, is essential.
MALKHAZ KAKABADZE, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Georgia: Georgia's criminal code, as well as a new draft to be adopted soon, contain
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significant provisions in connection with the fight against drug-related criminal offences. There is need not only to fight against offences, but also to work for prevention. In this context, Georgia adopted a national programme against illicit trafficking of drugs for 1998-2000, defining priorities and measures. Despite the country's difficult economic situation, it has made positive steps towards building an efficient border and coast-guard system, with the assistance of several States. Georgia has acceded to the various conventions against drugs, and cooperates with the "Pompidou Group" which fosters European cooperation in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking.
The situation in Abkhazia, Georgia, is a cause for deep concern. In the uncontrolled territory, with the support of the separatist regime, huge amounts of drugs are being trafficked. The situation is similar in other uncontrolled parts of the world. Inefficient mechanisms against drugs make it possible for cartels to develop new markets and launder money. The continuation of illegal activities on the part of the separatists can lead Georgia and the international community to grave consequences. It is regrettable that the actions of the Security Council to resolve the conflict have not yielded practical results. In stressing the importance of international cooperation, it is important to underline the crucial aspect of trade and economic relationships. Georgia proposes that the Black Sea, which is becoming an important conduit for trade, becomes a security zone, impossible for drug dealers to cross. Assistance is still needed for Georgia's fight against drug addiction and trafficking. As an integral part of the international community, Georgia will do its best to contribute to solving the problem of drugs.
ABIDIN ABDUL RASHID, Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Brunei Darussalam: The issue of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances threatens human values, social structures, and jeopardizes the security and stability of nations. Drug abuse and trafficking recognize no boundaries, cultural differences, political ideologies or national economic development. No one country is able to handle the problem single-handedly. As such, collective efforts are necessary in addressing and tackling it.
Improvement in the quality of life, coupled with technology advancement and the introduction of synthetic drugs such as ATS, requires the adoption of new strategies and techniques in combating the problem of illicit drugs. Brunei Darussalam is primarily a consumer country, where youth is normally the main target for drug traffickers. Efforts in the area of demand reduction have been enhanced, especially in primary prevention, with the aim of discouraging the younger generation from being attracted to drugs. Brunei Darussalam takes the problem seriously and joins the international community in the fight against drug abuse and trafficking. It participates in international and regional activities and is committed to fulfilling obligations under the international drug treaties. It has tough laws and stringent approaches towards law enforcement. However, it also adopts a
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social approach to drug abusers. The United Nations can play a crucial role in combating the drug menace through a global programme of action, and it is hoped that this can be achieved collectively at this session.
MAKARIM WIBISONO (Indonesia), speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China: The dimension of poverty cannot be averted in addressing the illicit drug problem. Abject poverty and the despair it engenders perpetuates the drug trade. Developing countries, grappling with the consequences of poverty, are not able to fully participate in solutions. The plight of those countries becomes more tragic in light of the fact that revenue from illegal drug trade is nearly 10 times the level of official development assistance (ODA). The importance of the development dimension, and the role that poverty and socio-economic exclusion play in illicit activities, cannot be overstressed.
At both national and international levels, attention should be turned not only to the illicit activities of the poor, but also to denying profits generated by the money-laundering industry. Estimates indicate that approximately $2 trillion cross the globe every day. This presents untold opportunity for organized crime syndicates. It provides vast financial resources to international drug cartels and threatens international financial and trading systems. The money-laundering provisions in the 1988 Convention should be implemented and the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention should provide the training, advice and technical assistance requested.
FELIPE MABILANGAN (Philippines): The political declaration before the Assembly is an important instrument for raising awareness and for engaging decision-makers, media, youth and the public in combating the world drug problem. Law enforcement efforts to eradicate illicit drug crops have to be combined with effective alternative development programmes and a balanced approach in allocating resources for the reduction of both illicit demand and supply. Yet, without sufficient financial assistance, the market place will dictate the crop of choice for small-time cultivation, despite all the moral arguments put forward by States. The action plan against the illicit manufacture, trafficking and abuse of ATS and their precursors is an important pillar in the concerted fight against the drug problem.
The drug menace is the cause of a rising crime wave that claims lives, poses serious challenges to the social structure and destroys property. It also negatively affects democratic institutions and the stability of States. In addition, drug trafficking retards economic development and undermines the public faith in government's ability to maintain peace and order. Therefore, the Philippines has reimposed the death penalty for certain crimes which arise from violations of drug laws. The Philippines is also strengthening and expanding its multi-sectoral anti-drug campaign by involving more public and
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private sector agencies and institutions. It is also considering extradition arrangements with China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Pakistan and India. Other efforts are geared towards drug supply control, preventive education, public information, research, regulation of rehabilitation and treatment centres, and regional and international cooperation.
AHMAD KAMAL (Pakistan): In 1997, the new Government in Pakistan passed a comprehensive drug legislation, and today it takes pride in announcing that all heroin laboratories have been destroyed. Yet, Pakistan remains one of the biggest causalities of the world drug culture, with 4 million addicts. It has also been identified, in a UNDCP note, as one of the countries hardest hit by the narcotics problem. The globalization of the drug problem demands that the battle be fought in homes, schools, mosques, churches and all other arenas of public and civic activity. Consuming, transit and producing countries should all work together, and equal emphasis should be placed on reduction of demand and harsher penalties. There is little room for double standards, and the approach towards law enforcement and penalties need review. It is odd that strong punishment is urged in the developing countries, when in the industrialized countries there is a relatively more lenient view of the drug problem.
States need to take a powerful stand against the drug culture portrayed on television and in films. There is nothing romantic about the damage that drugs inflicts on men, women and children. Pakistan faces the double danger of a large neighbouring country that flaunts its weapons of mass destruction with a head of Government who proudly proclaims its position as a nuclear- weapon State. That situation, coupled with the mild response from the West, left Pakistan with no option but to choose the path of self-defence. Pakistan assures the world community that it shall not let the nuclear dangers sidetrack its battle against the threat of narcotic drugs. All those States that are serious and sincere about the future of humanity should unite in the fights against this deadly modern plague.
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