June 26 marks the United Nations International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. As the lead UN Agency in this area, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Regional Office for Southern Africa (ROSAF) will be holding its national event in Orange Farm, Johannesburg. Held in collaboration with the South African Department of Social Development, the event aims to create broad-based community awareness around the drug usage.
Tying in with one of UNODC’s programme components – the Ke Moja, I’m fine campaign – 26 June will also mark the 5th anniversary of the Ke Moja UNODC/South African Government partnership through a 5km Fun Run, as well as door-to-door campaigning. This will be followed by a formal programme, and will include high level representatives from both the United Nations and the Government.
The slogan of the global UNODC anti-drugs campaign for the period 2007 – 2009 is “Do drugs control your life? Within this multiyear campaign, 2008 is focussing on the issue of drug cultivation and production. The campaign aims to raise awareness of the major problems that illicit drugs represent to society, with the end goal being to inspire people and mobilise support for drug control.
In his 2008 message, Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon notes that much improvement has been made in tackling the world drug problem since 1998 when Member States of the United Nations convened a Special Session of the General Assembly to push for the reduction of both the supply and demand for drugs. The Secretary General also noted that while the issue of drugs continues to destroy lives, generate crime and threaten sustainable development, United Nations efforts have built a better understanding of how to confront drug abuse and trafficking. Notably, progress has been made towards improving policy approaches, and linking international cooperation and technical assistance to assist in law enforcement capabilities. Furthermore, a stronger focus on prevention and treatment is putting health at the centre of drug-control strategies and helping to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS.
Understanding the need for increased cooperation to counter the world’s drug problem, the Secretary General calls for the combined efforts of the past decade to continue so as to prevent and reduce the damage of drugs, and build a healthier and safer world.
The full-text of the Secretary-General’s 26 June message follows below:
THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE UNITED NATIONS
MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY AGAINST DRUG ABUSE AND ILLICIT TRAFFICKING
26 June 2008
Ten years ago, in response to the seriousness of the world drug problem, Member States of the United Nations convened a Special Session of the General Assembly, where they committed themselves to a vigorous plan of action to reduce both the supply and demand for drugs.
Today, drugs continue to destroy lives, generate crime and threaten sustainable development. But we also have a better understanding of how to confront drug abuse and trafficking. Policymakers can draw on a growing body of evidence about drug dependence and drug-use trends. International cooperation and technical assistance are improving law enforcement capabilities. Increased development assistance is helping to reduce poverty and the sale of illicit crops by giving farmers sustainable alternatives. A stronger focus on prevention and treatment is putting health at the centre of drug-control strategies and helping to slow the spread of HIV/AIDS. And there is a growing consensus, both within communities and among states, that drug control is a shared responsibility in which we all play a part.
We still have much work to do to reduce our vulnerability to drugs. States with weak criminal justice systems and limited law enforcement capabilities need assistance to reduce illicit drug trafficking, which spreads crime, corruption and instability, and which ultimately endangers the successful realisation of the Millennium Development Goals.
As we mark the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I remind all Member States of their responsibility to fully respect the rights of prisoners who are drug dependent or are in custody for drug-related crimes, especially their rights to life and a fair trial. I also call on Member States to ensure that people who are struggling with drug addiction be given equal access to health and social services. No one should be stigmatised or discriminated against because of their dependence on drugs.
The combined efforts over the past decade have greatly enhanced our understanding of the drug problem worldwide and strengthened our capacity and resolve to reduce the damage done by drugs to individuals, their loved ones, to communities and states. On this International Day Against Drug Abuse, let us each shoulder our responsibility to prevent and reduce the damage that drugs do, and thereby build a healthier and safer world.
For further information contact:
Kevin Town – Programme Associate (Advocacy & Communications)