Germany criticises new UN action plan on drug policy

March 13th, 2009 - 6:12 am ICT by IANS  

Vienna, March 13 (DPA) Echoing the views of many European countries, Germany openly criticised Thursday a new UN plan on fighting the global drug problem, saying the text did not specifically mention measures to help severe addicts.
“To be frank, the draft political declaration does not fully satisfy us,” German Ambassador Ruediger Luedeking told UN member countries at a conference of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna.

The political declaration and action plan adopted Thursday evening in Vienna set out goals for the coming decade.

The plan calls on countries to find a better balance between measures to curb supply and demand, by improving demand reduction strategies and by strengthening health care and social services.

The declaration established 2019 as a target date “to eliminate or reduce significantly and measurably” drug production and trade.

Earlier this week, the European Commission, the executive body of the European Union (EU), noted in a report that a similar declaration was passed in 1998, but that there was no evidence the global drug problem had been reduced since then.

Germany and other European countries could not convince others to include the contentious term “harm reduction” in the text, which refers to a variety of measures such as drug substitution and needle exchange programmes, or providing rooms where addicts can safely inject drugs.

After the text was adopted by consensus, the German ambassador said his country and a group of 25 mostly European countries would interpret the term “related support services” to mean harm reduction.

His statement drew criticism from Cuba, Russia, Pakistan, the US and others.

The US was opposed to the term “harm reduction” as it includes measures that would make the government seem to condone drug use, US diplomats explained earlier. However, Washington was not opposed to specific programmes such as needle exchange, they said.

“The document means what it says,” the US Assistant Secretary of State David Johnson said.

Some 80 countries currently implement harm reduction policies.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |