Drug Menace to Be Focus of Special Session; International Panel to Be Set Up

Article excerpt

Deep concern over the devastating effect of drug abuse on individuals and society" led the General Assembly on 1 November to call for a special session to spearhead the international fight against drug abuse and narcotics trafficking (44/16).

Scheduled for 20 to 23 February 1990 at UN Headquarters, the session will aim at rallying international efforts to counter the drug scourge as a matter of urgency, with representation at a high political level.

In a particularly strong statement before the plenary, Colombia President Virgilio Barco Vargas had recommended holding a special session to consider urgent action to address the serious problem of consumption and production of illegal drugs.

President Barco Vargas said that narcotics, and its companion, terrorism, pay "no respect to borders". A global commitment is needed, he explained, to reduce the demand for drugs, control the supply of chemicals used to process cocaine, reduce and control arms sales to drug traffickers and terrorists, and halt money-laundering.

A threat to millions

The Assembly on 15 December called for intensified efforts to counter the spread of drug abuse and to increase international action to curtail narcotics production and trafficking.

Citing alarm at what it termed a "dramatic increase" in drug abuse and illicit production and trafficking "threatening the health and well-being of millions of people, in particular youth, in the majority of States in the world", the Assembly asked (411141) the SecretaryGeneral to select a panel of international experts to work with UN officials to enhance the efficiency of UN drug control bodies.

It also requested States to consider the possibility of declaring a UN decade against drug abuse and the establishment of a reserve pool of experienced narcotics agents and experts pledged by States for limited term service to other States. The feasibility of a UN anti-drug force to help States interdict the supply and help eliminate illicit trafficking of drugs will also be examined. Establishment of an international criminal court for crimes involving illicit narcotic drug trafficking across national frontiers is to be studied by the International Law Commission at the Assembly's request, according to a decision (44/39) adopted without a vote on 4 December.

Drug control given top priority

The Assembly lamented the lack of resources hindering UN organs in the drug control area. The Secretary-General was asked to give priority to narcotics control activities" and States were urged to support a "truly comprehensive" global programme of action for drug abuse control.

In other action, the Assembly asked (44/142) for a study of the economic and social consequences of illicit traffic in drugs, focusing on the magnitude of economic transactions related to drug trafficking and the impact of drug-related money transfers and conversion on national economic systems.

Some Governments have made serious efforts" in crop substitution, rural development and interdiction programmes, the Assembly noted, asking that international economic and technical cooperation in that area be stepped up. …