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Integrating human rights into drug policies

According to the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, meeting in Berlin, member States should “optimise human rights protections in the implementation of drug control policies”.

The report by Hannah Bardell (United Kingdom, NR), adopted today by the committee, highlights that purely repressive policies have generated many human rights abuses, such as discrimination, the use of excessive force, disproportionate sentencing, prison overcrowding, with detrimental impact on public health.

The committee also recommends the adoption of evaluation mechanisms, with the identification of indicators based on international human rights standards and the implementation of data collection methods on the effects of drug policies on health, crime and equality.

Parliamentarians stressed the importance for member States to prioritise education on the risks of drugs as a prevention measure, use harm reduction as well as treatment and rehabilitation services, and to ensure that criminal justice responses to drug-related crimes respect human rights, in particular by prohibiting “arbitrary arrest and detention, the use of excessive force and disproportionate sentencing against people who use drugs”.

Finally, the committee proposed that the Committee of Ministers ensure that the Pompidou Group (Co-operation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking)’s mandate, under review for a revised Statute in 2021, fully supports human rights as a cornerstone of drug policy in Europe.

The committee has also declassified today an information note which summarises the replies to a questionnaire sent to national parliaments to study drug policies in Europe.