‘Concerned with the Health and Welfare of Mankind …’ The un Drug Conventions – A Suitable Legal Framework for the 21st Century?

Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law Online

The contribution analyses whether the un Drug Conventions still serve their original purpose, namely the furtherance of the health and welfare of mankind in the 21st century. To this end the contribution begins with an outline of how the un Drug Conventions aim to protect mankind’s health and welfare. On this basis it is inquired whether un Drug Conventions are somehow irreversibly imbued with a zero-tolerance approach that undermines the health and welfare of vulnerable groups on both ends of the supply chain respectively. Thus, with respect to the supply side the question is pursued whether the un Drug Conventions provisions on crop cultivation imperil the livelihoods of rural communities. With regard to the demand side it is examined whether the un Drug Conventions forestall the adoption of more liberal, i.e. non-punitive and health-oriented approaches towards illicit drug users. In a next step, the analysis turns to a long-standing and currently particularly prevalent criticism according to which the international drug control regime puts disproportionate pressure on so-called drug producing and drug transit States, while turning a blind eye on the so-called drug consuming States. In concluding, the contribution turns to the question how the international drug control system could be enhanced to better meet its proper goals of protecting mankind’s health and welfare.

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