UN experts call for human rights of People of African Descent to be central to drug policies

By Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

With the United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem under way in New York, the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent expressed its concern about the serious consequences on people of African descent of international and national drug policies. Chair Rapporteur Ricardo A. Sunga III issued this comment on behalf of the Working Group:

People of African descent are disproportionately affected by what are often poorly crafted and excessively punitive drug policies. In addition, racial profiling in many countries has made people of African descent a targeted group in the so-called war on drugs. We urge those responsible for formulating drug policies to take these serious consequences for the human rights of people of African descent into account. We appreciate the challenges of international drug control but remain concerned at the focus on law enforcement and criminalisation. We call for policies aimed at tackling the illegal drugs trade to incorporate fully an approach centered on public health and harm reduction — an approach that would be of benefit to all people, including those of African descent. The Working Group calls for an end to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance, including their manifestations in the adoption and implementation of international and national drug policies.