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International aid for drug enforcement leads to mass human rights violations
A new report by Harm Reduction International has identified a growing trend in drug enforcement aid being given to countries with extremely poor human rights records. Released in advance of the upcoming UN day against drugs, the report follows the journey of drug enforcement funding from donor states, often via the United Nations, to countries where executions, arbitrary detention, physical abuse and slave labour are deterrent techniques used in the “War on Drugs”.
Globally, 32 countries have maintained capital punishment for drug related offenses, all of whom are gaining funding for drug enforcement from the UN. The report, Partners in Crime: International Funding for Drug Control and Gross Violations of Human Rights, calculates that these countries received approximately $273.2 million USD in the two-year period 2010-2011.
As the United Nations oversees most of this spending, criticism has been dished out towards the global body, with Deputy Director of Harm Reduction Int., Damian Barratt suggesting, "There are no safeguards, and when the UN acts as a conduit for these funds, a further layer of bureaucracy separates the money from the abuses. Instead of the UN being a guardian of human rights it becomes more like a laundry mechanism, washing the funds of any form of accountability".
The report draws particular attention to the death penalty and drug detention centers in order to demonstrate the link between international funding for drug control and violations of the right to life; such as, freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment; freedom from arbitrary detention; and freedom from slavery or forced labour. With 1000 people executed each year for a drug related offense, international funding to human rights violators creates yet another negative element to the current drug policy consensus, prohibition.