Human Rights, Drug Control and the UN Special Procedures: Preventing arbitrary detention through the promotion of human rights in drug control

(January 2015)

Hannah, J. and da Silva, N., United Nations Human Rights Mechanisms & Drug Control, Legal Briefing Paper No. 1, The Working Group on Arbitrary Detention

The UN drug control bodies rarely mention human rights, while the UN human rights mechanisms rarely mention drug control. In effect, the two speak different languages and hold different priorities.

Research underway at the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy reveals that the historical treatment of drug control issues within the special procedures system is insufficient to have an impact on current drug control policy and practice. Reporting by mandate holders on drug control has been scattered and rarely collaborative, despite the numerous intersections drug control issues present across the mandates. As the special procedures develop their programme of work for the coming year, they have an important opportunity to consider ways in which coordination across the mandates can enhance the promotion and protection of human rights while countering the world drug problem—both to have an impact on policy-making and to close the normative gaps between the two legal regimes. Read more