SAINT LUCIA CALLS FOR DEVOTING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS SPENT IN FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS TO COMBAT POVERTY, PROMOTE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH CARE19980609 As General Debate of Assembly's Special Session Continues, Speakers Condemn 'Unilateral Certification' Policies
The world drug problem will continue until some of the billions of dollars spent in the fight against drugs are devoted to poverty alleviation, human development, education and health care, Saint Lucia's representative told the General Assembly this afternoon as it continued its special session devoted to countering the world drug problem together.
Busy building prisons and arresting youth instead of educating, feeding and healing, the international community's efforts to address the problem were actually perpetuating it, she said. Given market access, stable prices for crops, fair trade, most of the millions of people involved in producing, trafficking and consuming would choose alternative lifestyles. Saint Lucia was facing strong efforts to push its fragile banana industry into fiercer competition by way of a World Trade Organization ruling. That was enticing the country's banana producers into the more viable illegal practice of cultivating illegal substances to avert poverty.
The policy of unilateral certification, by which nations, according to the results of an assessment of their anti-drug efforts made by certain countries, lose trade privileges or face other economic and political sanctions, was criticized by speakers this afternoon.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Belize said his country objected to the discriminatory use of unilateral devises to measure certain countries' counter-narcotics performance. Using "certification" procedures countered the concepts of cooperation, multilateralism and respect for the sovereignty and independence of States.
Unilateral certification policies used in the fight against drugs were illegitimate and contrary to international law, said Cuba's Minister of Justice. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) was the only organ in charge of the international control and evaluation. All measures taken by States should be based on a common and shared responsibility, which demanded a global and balanced approach in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law.
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Ecuador's President said drug-consuming countries should be subject to the same penalties as drug-producing States. If necessary, consumer countries should be "decertified" for failing to reduce demand, he said. Crop eradication is useless without concomitant efforts to reduce demand.
Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon were the Vice-President of Guatemala, the Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, the Minister of Justice of Angola, the Minister for the Interior of Slovenia, the Minister for Health and Social Affairs of Sweden, the Minister for Interior Affairs of Lithuania, the Minister for the Interior of Mozambique, the Minister of Health of Denmark, and the Minister of State of Honduras.
Also speaking were the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan, the Minister for Justice of Liechtenstein, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, the Minister for Internal Affairs of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Minister for Presidential Affairs of Côte d'Ivoire, and the representatives of Syria, Nepal and Libya.
The special session will meet again at 7 p.m. this evening to continue its general debate on the world drug problem.
Special Session Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue the 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.)
LUIS ALBERTO FLORES ASTURIAS, Vice-President, Guatemala: The use of and trafficking in illicit drugs is a social scourge afflicting both developed and developing countries. Estimates suggest that the monetary value of drug traffic is higher than that of the trade in oil, and it is surpassed only by the arms trade. Because of its geographical location, Guatemala has been used as a bridge for the illicit traffic in drugs by air, sea and land. It is also, to a certain extent, a centre for collecting and storing drugs. The international community's plans for alternative development should take into account countries that, like Guatemala, lie on the transit route of illicit traffic. In discussing alternative development, consideration should be given to the situation of small-scale farmers, carriers and fishermen in transit countries. Those people are led by poverty and the lack of adequate alternatives to join the traffic in illicit drugs.
In its demand reduction efforts, the Government has taken actions to institutionalize a comprehensive educational programme at all levels of formal education. It has also encouraged the self-management of communities in order to raise social awareness of the problem. Guatemala supports the texts before the Assembly, particularly those dealing with money-laundering, judicial cooperation and the monitoring of precursors. Those principles will remain a dead letter if the necessary mechanisms are not established for their implementation. Therefore, a plan of action suited to the needs of each country should be elaborated. The war of words must now yield to the institution of appropriate measures.
FABIAN ALARCON RIVERA, Constitutional President of Ecuador: Drug consumption and the social, economic and legal problems accompanying it threaten countries worldwide. Entire societies and States are subject to violence, and their institutions are undermined. The enormous economic benefits obtained illegally by criminal organizations mean that, in many cases, such groups can destabilize legal systems. Globalization has opened the doors to such crimes and now a united response is needed.
Today, more psychotropic substances are being used illegally, new kinds of addiction are being recognized, and now children are becoming involved. There must be shared responsibility between producers and consumers. Supply and demand -- two sides of the same coin -- must both be addressed. Crop eradication efforts will be useless if consuming countries do not make
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concerted efforts to reduce demand. Assessment of efforts to address the drug problem must also cover demand countries. If necessary, there should be decertification of consuming countries which are not doing enough to reduce demand. The struggle against drug trafficking requires resources to tackle crime at its roots. Over the past few years, the lack of funds have hampered the effort for alternative development.
Due to its geographical location, Ecuador is affected by drug transit. National actions have been taken on a number of fronts to stop drug trafficking and transit. Unfortunately, the problem of drug use is expanding. Ecuador is a transit country, but the work of its Government has been significant. It is currently working to stop precursor chemicals and seizing assets of drug traffickers. Academic institutions and other organizations have also been participating in the Government's efforts to combat drugs.
BICHAI RATTAKUL, Deputy Prime Minister, Thailand: In the next decade of international drug control, a focus should be placed on the problem of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) and the prevention of the diversion of precursors used for illicit drug production. All States should cooperate more closely in eliminating the supply of ATS and their precursors. Thailand is one of the countries that is suffering from the problem of illicit methamphetamine use and trafficking. Thailand is a transit country for precursors and chemicals used for that industry. In order to stop the diversion of precursors, a study should be undertaken to explore the possibility of inventing other harmless substances as substitutes for ATS. In that area, Thailand has been successful in implementing programmes to reduce the supply of opium through crop substitution and highland development programmes.
There should also be greater collaboration among countries in the same region or subregion. Through the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), Thailand is committed to the obligations of drug control measures. Six countries in the region -- Cambodia, China, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam -- have issued a joint declaration to signify a common stand. That joint declaration (document A/S-20/5) highlights the common aim of combating illicit production, consumption and trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances through a balanced approach.
DEAN O. BARROW, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs, National Security and Attorney General, Belize: Due to the country's geographical location -- on the Central American isthmus and in the heart of the Caribbean basin -- Belize is affected by large-scale transit traffic in illicit drugs. Without close coordination with regional law enforcement authorities, drug traffickers will continue to exploit Belize's strategic vulnerability. Belize is resolved to deny use of its territory to traffickers, but limited financial and human resources make bilateral and regional
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cooperation an imperative. In addition to bilateral efforts, the Government has been cooperating with civil society partners in a number of multidisciplinary initiatives.
Profits and proceeds from the sale of illegal drugs and the related illegal traffic in small arms must be confiscated. Harmonization of banking and financial regulations and "know your customer" policies are needed. Belize's eradication efforts are strongly underpinned by the development of alternative cash crops and greater diversification in its agro-based economy. However, the recent retrenchment of the protected markets for Belize's primary agricultural products is cause for great concern. International cooperation in eradication efforts must bear in mind the economic and social viability of populations in affected areas. Otherwise, efforts will be circular and pointless.
Belize objects to the discriminatory use of unilateral devises in measuring counter-narcotics performance of certain countries. Using "certification" procedures is repugnant to the concepts of cooperation, multilateralism and respect for the sovereignty and independence of States. Belize has demonstrated its unswerving commitment to multilateralism, and pledges its support to the successful outcome of the session.
PAULO TCHIPILICA, Minister for Justice, Angola: Angola has been ravaged by a devastating war that practically destroyed its economic and social infrastructure. Yet, in spite of undertaking rebuilding efforts, the Government has also concentrated on the research and prevention of the use and trafficking of illicit drugs. A study conducted by the Inter-Ministerial Commission for the Combat of Illicit Drugs reports that the consumption and trafficking of drugs in the country has begun to take on alarming aspects. The illicit drugs currently consumed in Angola include cannabis, the most common, followed by prescription drugs and inhalants such as gasoline and glue. Other substances include solvents, such as ether and acetone, which are mostly used by children between the ages of seven and 15. Angola is used primarily as a transit zone due to the insufficient control and vulnerability of its land and sea borders and air space.
The legal instruments in effect in Angola have proven to be inadequate and fail to meet the requirements of drug control efforts. For that reason, new bills have been submitted seeking to combat the production, trafficking and consumption of narcotics, psychotropic substances and their precursors. They also aim to establish the judicial framework to control their legal marketing. In addition, the criminal law system is undergoing a reform that includes the reformulation of penal codes and procedures. All national efforts will not be effective without international cooperation. Consistent international aid from all States will be particularly significant. There is an urgent need for international assistance to acquire material resources and
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to train manpower. In addition, international, regional and bilateral cooperation must be reinforced to achieve integrated rural development and to solve the main economic and social issues that affect developing countries.
MIRKO BANDELJ, Minister for the Interior, Slovenia: The production, transit and use of illicit drugs are increasing. New drugs are emerging, along with new routes and methods of smuggling. Fighting drugs through focusing on reducing drug supply has not achieved the desired results. A new approach should be sought, which also focuses on removing the causes and consequences of drug abuse. "We have to drain the swamps" that encourage drug use. Long a transit country for heroin smuggling into western Europe, Slovenia is now becoming an intersection for the smuggling of cocaine, hashish and other drugs, due to its geopolitical position between eastern, western, northern and southern Europe. The number of users in Slovenia is also increasing. The country has ratified all three United Nations conventions on drugs and is now harmonizing its laws with the legislation in force in the European Union. Its policy is based on both prevention and repression. Further, Slovenia is cooperating bilaterally and multilaterally. The human race has been using drugs for millenniums and it would be unreasonable to expect the future to be different. Efforts should be directed towards restricting use and addiction, because a world without drugs seems to be, for the moment, beyond reach. The realistic goal of reducing use can be achieved by promoting healthy, creative and tolerant lifestyles and by ensuring economic, political and social support for it. Education and prevention, particularly for young people and vulnerable groups, are needed. There is need to prevent and restrict the worst consequences of drug addiction and make it possible for addicts to have access to treatment and rehabilitation. The fight against drug trafficking must be fought through adequate legislation and strict sanctions. Along with those efforts, it must be remembered that licit drugs such as alcohol and tobacco also cause addiction and social harm. Prevention activities should not be limited only to illicit substances.
MARGOT WALLSTRÖM, Minister for Health and Social Affairs, Sweden: Problems caused by the illicit consumption of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances are increasing in Sweden. There is intense international promotion of illicit drug use and of pro-drug messages. Such messages are transmitted worldwide and tend to be embedded in a cultural context, often accompanied by music and fashion. The marketing is often aimed directly at youth and promotes the view that drugs are fun and exciting. Risks associated with drug abuse are played down. There should be effective international cooperation to counter that massive propaganda. It is vital to sustain consistent, restrictive policies. The best tactic would be to foster a negative attitude towards drug abuse among the general public. While governments can legislate, provide financial budgetary resources and adopt drug policies, drug policy is implemented at the local level. Coherent strategies require strong political leadership at all levels.
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The commitments the Assembly will make at the special session can be seen as a comprehensive global plan for action against the world drug problem in all its aspects. Sweden is very concerned about the way the United Nations drug control activities are funded. It urges all Member States to contribute to a more stable and predictable financial basis for the Organization's drug control organs. Strong political leadership will be required to ensure that all commitments are fulfilled. The political leaders of Member States must make it very clear that they will not be influenced by those who promote illicit drugs. That is a responsibility we have towards the younger generations.
STASYS SEDBARAS, Minister for Interior Affairs, Lithuania: Over recent years, transformation to a market economy has brought about radical changes in social and economic spheres and affected people's lives. Those changes have been accompanied by increasing drug abuse and trafficking. Following the restoration of Lithuania's independence and the collapse of the "iron curtain" between East and West, the drug problem became a growing concern. Due to its geographical position and well-developed infrastructure, Lithuania is in danger of becoming a drug-transit country. Narcotics dealers are looking for new markets, and the emergence of cocaine in Lithuania is no accident. Lithuania is a purchase country for addicts and dealers from other countries. The number of drug abusers is now estimated at 20,000 persons. Poppy-based opiates are being replaced by synthetic substances, and young people consider the use of such drugs to be fashionable. The drug market is expanding and diversifying.
There has been progress in strengthening border control. Demarcation of the eastern national border is being completed. Infrastructure and equipment are being improved. Particular attention is devoted to developing international cooperation in narcotics control. Further, a national programme for prevention of drug circulation and drug addiction is being implemented. Already a member of the 1961 and 1971 Conventions, Lithuania yesterday deposited with the Secretary-General the instrument of accession to the 1988 Convention. A law on control of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substance was adopted this year in full compliance with the conventions, while a law on precursors is being considered. Also, the country ratified the 1990 Convention of the Council of Europe on Laundering and Seizing Proceeds of Crime, and adopted relevant laws, including on preventing money-laundering.
ROBERTO DIAZ SOTOLONGO, Minister for Justice and President of the National Drug Commission, Cuba: The world economic and social changes generated by globalization have allowed the producers and traffickers of illegal drugs to organize on a large scale, placing and investing their profits in financial centres that offer attractive returns. The developing world needs resource flows to confront the challenge posed by drug trafficking. The most developed States need to make greater contributions, and new resources must be sought. One measure would be to direct the funds squandered in the arms race to strengthening the prevention structures of the world drug problem.
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Demand reduction is a key element in the global approach to the problem. Additional efforts should be directed to education, health and social welfare programmes that include aspects of prevention and rehabilitation. All measures taken by States should be based on a common and shared responsibility, which demands a global and balanced approach in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law.
Drugs are not a social problem in Cuba. There is a true political will to prevent the country's territory from being used in the illegal trafficking of drugs. Cuba is carrying out that battle under difficult economic conditions, which are further aggravated by the presence of the unjust and unilateral blockade that has lasted for nearly 40 years. Unilateral certification policies used in the fight against drugs are illegitimate and contrary to international law. The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) is the only organ in charge of international control and evaluation.
ALMERINO MANHENJE, Minister for the Interior of Mozambique: Mozambique is proud to participate in the special session with a new image as a result of its consolidation of peace. Crimes of drug trafficking and consumption today constitute a serious and increasing threat to political, economic and social order. From a transit country, Mozambique might become a country of consumption, which would have dramatic consequences. The Government has taken legal and other measures against drug-related crime, as well as against organized crime in general. It ratified the three conventions against drugs and has several laws against drugs. In addition to national action, institutional and operational linkages with similar organizations are being established with countries in the southern Africa subregion.
Mozambique calls for reinforcement of cooperation between developed and developing nations in the field of capacity-building, to enhance efficiency of prevention, treatment and law enforcement programmes. Special attention should be given to coastal countries since illicit drug trafficking through the sea is increasingly reaching alarming proportions. The process of globalization and interdependence among States in the present international scene is bringing about new challenges. Markets are being unified and a common culture created. Mozambique is committed to implementing all relevant decisions and recommendations adopted at the current special session and hopes that they will lead to the ultimate goal of eliminating the world drug problem.
CARSTEN KOCH, Minister of Health, Denmark: In most countries, survey will confirm that a majority has never used cannabis and that a limited number of people have used heroin. In comparison, 98 per cent of the Danish population have drunk alcohol. Thus, national legislation and law enforcement against the non-medical use of narcotic drugs, combined with primary prevention and social intervention, actually does work. No government should consider the legalization of narcotic drugs for other than medical purposes. Denmark welcomes the strong
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commitment and the balanced approach reflected in the draft texts before the Assembly. In particular, the declaration on the guiding principles of demand reduction constitutes a new strong and common effort.
Prevention and social intervention must be regarded as two of the most promising instruments in reducing substantially the future number of drug abusers. Countering the supply of narcotic drugs must be maintained as a key element in tackling the world drug problem, as well. Cooperation at the international and regional level is essential. States should not forget the importance of efficient national cooperation between police and customs as a prerequisite in the fight against illicit trafficking.
Poverty is an underlying reason for most illicit cultivation in many countries. Alternative development programmes must be aimed at empowering men and women and offer a real and sustainable alternative to illicit cultivation. They must also fully respect human rights, as well as take full account of gender equity. The implementation of a global strategy will require close collaboration among all concerned. Multilateral organizations require the commitment of funds and resources from the entire United Nations system, as well as from the relevant international financial institutions.
IVAN ROMERO MARTINEZ, Minister of State, Honduras: The agenda of the new Government of Honduras advocates a profound change that would allow citizens the right to be a protagonist in national development. The Government is aware that drug trafficking and related crimes threaten the health of its citizenry and legal and public institutions. Honduras also actively promotes international cooperation and action that, together with national strategies, will reduce the demand and supply of criminal substances. The agenda calls for, among others, the development of information programmes, promotion of reforms to existing laws to increase the penalties for drug-related crimes, and elaborating legislation to establish control and detection of money-laundering transactions.
Honduras shares the efforts of the international community in the fight against the production, distribution and consumption of drugs. The Government has committed itself to combating that evil and continues to adopt the necessary measures, including legislation to punish drug-related crimes. It has also strengthened the judicial system, cooperated with other countries in extradition activities and adhered to the pertinent international legal instruments.
Honduras believes that the political declaration before the Assembly during the special session contains several important provisions. All citizens of all countries would benefit equally by its anti-drug policies and anti-drug actions. The young would be protected from the use of psychoactive substances. It will also provide for the rehabilitation of drug addicts. The declaration will also establish international actions against violence, terrorist groups and organized criminals that produce, traffic and sell illicit drugs.
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ABDULAZIZ KAMILOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uzbekistan: The Government of Uzbekistan shares the deep concern of the international community about the growth of drug addiction and welcomes the convening of the special session. It is news to no one that the volume of the illegal transit of drugs through Central Asia has increased steadily. Today it is possible to say with confidence that the main source of growing, producing and deliverance of drugs to European countries is Afghanistan. Favourable conditions for development of the drug business also exist in Tajikistan.
Taking into consideration the major scale of drugs that are delivered to Europe from Afghanistan and Tajikistan, it is necessary to establish close cooperation between European institutions and countries of Central Asia. A coordination centre for resisting drug trafficking in Central Asia under the auspices of the United Nations should be established. It is expedient to concentrate efforts on rendering technical assistance to countries neighbouring States that are major drug producers. It is also necessary to reconsider the internal legislation of some States, in particular, those in Central Asia. Existent laws are not adequate for the degree of danger posed by drug trafficking.
HEINZ FROMMELT, Minister of Justice, Liechtenstein: Liechtenstein is convinced that solutions to the drug problem must be sought and found both through international cooperation and by means of strategies and measures at the national level. It is to be welcomed that this special session is employing an integrated approach. Measures must be taken in relation to the supply side, and also the demand side.
So far, policy at the international level and at the level of individual States has not led to the desired containment of drug trafficking. The existing black market is leading to an increase in organized crime, which is financed largely with profits from drug trafficking. Economically convincing arrangements also need to be found in order to tackle this problem more effectively. In this connection, Liechtenstein is strongly against the liberalization of the drug market, and stands in solidarity with the international community in combating the international flows that stem from drug-trafficking.
ALEXANDER DOWNER, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Australia: Elimination of illicit drugs remains our first and ultimate goal. But the reality is that an unknown quantity of illicit drugs will continue to reach those who are prepared to risk their health and often their lives using drugs. A comprehensive demand reduction strategy is necessary to address the health and social consequences of drug use for individuals, their families and for the rest of the community. Australia is therefore very pleased to endorse the declaration on demand reduction. Australia also welcomed the five theme papers dealing with aspects of drug supply, as well as the political declaration on the world drug problem.
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The Australian Prime Minister has recently announced a major new "Tough on Drugs" strategy which will allocate an additional $A 215 million over four years to Australia's efforts against illicit drugs. It provides a balanced and integrated approach to reducing the supply of, and demand for, illicit drugs and minimizing the harm they cause. On the supply side, $A 112 million will go to providing more effective investigative and interception capacities. On the demand side, the strategy directs $A 103 million towards prevention and rehabilitation measures. Australia takes very seriously the difficulties Asia-Pacific societies face in trying to reduce the impact of illicit drugs and the threat they pose for development and security in the region.
TOMISLAV COKREVSKI, Minister for Internal Affairs, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: His Government is fully aware that illicit production, sale, demand, traffic and distribution of narcotic drugs can negatively affect the development of a democratic and civic society. In order to enhance the efficiency of activities aimed at control of the drug phenomenon, the Government in 1996 launched the National Programme to Fight against Abuse of Drugs and Illegal Drug Trafficking and set up the Inter-Ministerial National Commission for Prevention of Illegal Drug Trafficking and Drug Abuse.
The problem of drug abuse has its roots not only in the unbalanced mental condition of individuals, but also in social disharmony in well-off societies, as well as in those that are poor and marginalized. It is for those reasons that demand reduction and rehabilitation of drug addicts must be accompanied by an overall improvement in the functioning of all structures of society. Of particular importance in this regard is the improvement of the status of women and the protection of children, as well as measures target to help high-risk groups. All such efforts must be an integral part of a comprehensive educational, health and social welfare policy.
FAUSTIN KOUANÉ, Minister for Presidential Affairs, Côte d'Ivoire: The special session, which also marks the tenth anniversary of the 1988 Convention, will allow States to define new strategies to combat drug trafficking. Drugs are a global phenomenon which undermine the basis of society. Drug cartels are fuelling organized crime, including the arms trade, corruption and money- laundering. Drug abuse can lead to the spread of AIDS, which is decimating the youth in many countries. Given the situation, the campaign against drugs should include a strategy built on the education of children and inculcation of spiritual and moral values. It requires patience, determination and perseverance so new generations do not inherit terrible values. States need to take appropriate measures to cope with the urgent problems of society.
The advancement of substitute crops for drug-producing developing countries must be accompanied by measures to reduce demand in other countries. There is a need for enhanced technical cooperation, particularly in the protection and control in transit countries. Despite the drastic nature of
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the world drug problem, most countries cannot allocate the necessary resources to effectively combat that scourge.
Côte d'Ivoire is faced with drug-consumption and trade problems. The Government has set up appropriate institutions, with the assistance of the European Union and the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP). It has cooperated with international and national non-governmental organizations in order to eradicate drug abuse. Côte d'Ivoire expects a great deal from the special session and hopes it will provide a new impetus for international cooperation against drug trafficking and abuse. States should take measures to ensure the effective implementation of all three drug-related international conventions. Côte d'Ivoire appeals to the international community to increase technical and financial assistance, and requests States to create a transnational databank that can centralize all information on drug-related crime.
MIKHAIL WEHBE (Syria): Drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking lead to a rise in crime and drug addiction. The scourge of drugs is murderous to the human spirit and society. It impacts development, destabilizes nations and undermines social and health systems. Syria has adopted a firm policy against drug abuse, the growth and trade of drugs. It is doing all that it can to eradicate drugs and drug-related crime. In Syria, there are no drug crops. There is no processing of narcotics. Drug abuse is extremely limited and almost non-existent. There are certain crimes associated with drugs, but they are few in number. Syria does suffer as a transit State in the trafficking of drugs. Yet, Syria is cooperating with other States and international organizations to neutralize drug trafficking within its borders.
In Syria, severe penalties have been instituted for any kind of smuggling, growth or trade of drugs. In 1987, the Government established a high national commission on drugs, headed by the Minister of the Interior, which drew up a general drug policy and a specific policy to combat drug abuse. Money-laundering is insignificant in Syria, yet tribunals have been given expanded powers in bringing to trial those engaged in that crime. Syria is also promoting consciousness-raising campaigns through the media and other forums. In addition, the Government is promoting the humanitarian treatment for drug addicts.
The illicit demand for drugs is a pivotal factor in the growth of the drug trade. It will require enormous efforts to reduce that demand, which is the major catalyst for the world drug problem. International drug campaigns should not be limited to the control of drug-related crimes and measures taken by competent bodies. They should also focus on the origin of drug-related crimes.
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NARENDRA BIKRAM SHAH (Nepal): The links between illicit drug production and trafficking, terrorist groups and organized crime have made it impossible for any one nation to address the problem alone. Strong actions taken by many countries, including Nepal, to eliminate illicit crop production have been negated by the increase of synthetic drugs. Without balance in supply and demand, the crusade against illicit drugs can prove futile.
Effective drug demand-reduction programmes provide a strong first step in the work against drugs. Measures to promote judicial cooperation and prevent money-laundering are key. Victims of drug abuse must also receive international responsibility. Nepal is participating in regional efforts to combat drugs. The country's five-year plan encourages participation of non- governmental organizations and civil society groups in drug control and eradication.
SONIA LEONCE-CARRYL (Saint Lucia): Three quarters of the world's wealth is controlled by one quarter of its population. Unfair trade cloaked as globalization and trade liberalization destroy the economic and social foundations of the small and vulnerable, reducing living standards and accelerating poverty. The fight against drugs is itself a multi-billion dollar industry. Busy building prisons and arresting youth instead of educating, feeding and healing, efforts to address the problem are actually perpetuating it. There is a direct correlation between poverty and the drug problem. Given market access, stable prices for crops, fair trade, most of the millions involved in producing, trafficking and consuming would choose alternative lifestyles. Saint Lucia is striving to achieve sustainable development and provide a legal and decent standard of living for its people. However, it faces strong efforts to push its fragile banana industry into fiercer competition by way of a World Trade Organization ruling. This is enticing the country's banana producers into the more viable illegal practice of cultivating illegal substances to avert poverty.
Forced to transition from dependence on primary production, with its hopelessly declining terms of trade, to more diversified sources of revenue, many Caribbean States are choosing the financial services sector. Yet, despite the relatively insignificant amount of "bad" money flowing through the region, compared to other regions, the Caribbean is being falsely portrayed as a haven for money-laundering. The lack of fairness and democratization is nourishing the drug problem, which will continue until there is a decision to pour about half of the billions spent on fighting drugs into poverty alleviation, human development, education and health care. A drug free world is possible, if the international community decides to lift the debt burden from the shoulders of crippling economies, engage in fair trade, meet the United Nations target of 0.7 per cent of gross national product (GNP) towards official development assistance (ODA) and share more information and technology. Drug lords will continue their mockery of world leadership and the United Nations if it fails
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to achieve the goal of shared responsibility, equally addressing demand and supply, and fails to address the serious social and economic concerns that breed and feed the drug problem.
MOHAMED H. MATRI (Libya): It would be unacceptable to have unilateral measures taken by certain States that give themselves the right to supervise and certify the conduct of others, even though they bear the main responsibility for the drug problem at the international level, since they are the haven for drug traffickers and the depository of their money. The geographic location of Libya has turned it into a transit area, and efforts are being made at all levels to draw attention to the danger of drugs.
National efforts alone will always fall short of achieving the objective of eradicating the scourge of drugs unless coupled with international cooperation and a strict application of international agreements and agreed upon programmes. In this respect, Libya rejects all calls for the decriminalization of drugs. New technologies such as the Internet, should be used in combating drugs and criminalizing their use instead of being used for the promotion of drugs and their decriminalization, as is the case today. At the same time, developing countries, where a large portion of the population depend on the planting of drug crops, should be helped in implementing alternative projects.
Effective combating of the illicit drug trafficking and use requires judicial cooperation among all countries on the basis of equality and reciprocity through the pursuit, apprehension and trial of criminals. This cannot be achieved unless consideration is given to the differences between various legal systems. All of this should be based on respect and sovereignty of States and their legal systems. It should also end the practice of enacting extraterritorial laws which are measures that only complicate matters at a time when the objective should always be the pursuit and trial of criminals, instead of the implementation of local laws and their imposition on other countries. Real and effective efforts must be made to limit demand because the reduction of supply will not reduce world drug consumption. It will only mean higher prices which will be an incentive for higher illicit production.
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