Latin American regional consultation

          The Latin American regional consultation on the annotated outline of the General Comment (GC) on Drug Policy and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights took place on May 8, 2024, in Bogotá, Colombia. The consultation was hosted by Dejusticia[1], as part of the civil society consortium that is accompanying the GC process, in collaboration with the Drafting Group of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR).

           It was a very fruitful discussion day with the participation of more than 40 people, representatives of organizations from different Latin American countries, such as México, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador (see list of participants). With a view to covering the variety of issues that cut across drug policy and its impacts, participants from civil society had expertise in harm reduction; gender-based violence; urban drug markets; rural development, environmental conservation and illicit crop cultivation; racial discrimination; militarization, violence and its effects on health; transitional and restorative justice; new models of indicators for drug policy and regulatory processes of substances declared illicit.

          This regional consultation, as others hold and to be held, had the objective of ensuring that the drafting process of the General Comment is meaningful, inclusive and receives cross-regional input from civil society organizations and affected populations that work on or have first-hand knowledge of the human rights impacts of drug policies. In this process, the particular vision of Latin America is crucial, as it highlights the need to go beyond decriminalization models and concerns limited to drug use and allows the presentation of a broader range of impacts on ESCR, as well as concrete proposals for better policies. In parallel, the Viso Mutop organization, together with the Transnational Institute (TNI), developed consultations with coca growers in the Andean countries and cannabis growers in the Caribbean countries. Their inputs were sent to the CESCR.

          The consultation was introduced in general terms by Isabel Pereira, coordinator of the line of work on Drug Policies at Dejusticia. Afterwards, Julieta Rossi, part of the CESCR drafting group of the GC, described the process and current state of the General Comment of the CESCR; afterwards Rebeca Schleifer presented the annotated outline of the GC. Javier Palummo, Rapporteur on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights from the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights, also participated in the opening of the event, sharing his work plan for 2024-2026 and identifying entry points and opportunities to work on the issue in the Interamerican System of Human Rights. Finally, Rodrigo Uprimny, former member of the CESCR and researcher senior of Dejusticia, presented on the General Comment as an opportunity in the context of international transformations in drug policy.

          After this initial presentation, participants were organized in different groups to discuss the annotated outline of the GC, taking into account the particularities of the region, around seven themes specific to the region: i. Characterization of informal drug markets and their role vis-à-vis the rights to work, and to an adequate standard of living (Articles 6, 7 and 11). ii. Effects of violence and militarization on physical and mental health and their relationship with the right to health (Article 12); iii. Mechanisms for evaluating the effectiveness and impact of drug policies (Article 2); iv. The role of international cooperation in the impact on ESCR and the distortion in the prioritization of the use of resources for punitive policies (Articles 2, 11, 15, 23); v. Mechanisms for reparations and guarantees of non-repetition for serious violations of ESCR due to drug policy; vi. Harm reduction from the South and the need for innovation in strategies adjusted to the region. (Articles 12 and 15); vii. The future of drug policy and the need for regulated markets from the perspective of producer countries. As a closing, Isabel Pereira and Julieta Rossi, gave some prospects related to next steps of the drafting process of the GC.

          As a result of this regional consultation, a report will be prepared and presented as an input to the CESCR in June 2024. In parallel to the in-person consultation, an online form for contributions will be made available, both with participants of the consultation and a broader network of stakeholders. It will aim to collect research papers, statements, or other materials that reflect the state of the art at the moment in the region. The Dejusticia team will collect and organize the information submitted and will present it to the Committee along with the meeting notes from the consultation.

          The previous day, Julieta Rossi participated in the public event to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the decriminalization of drug use in Colombia, organized by Dejusticia and other human rights, drug policy, and risk and harm reduction organizations: “30 years of decriminalization. Ruling 221-C on personal use of drugs”. The event has de purpose to discuss the past of decriminalization and what it meant for Colombia, and the present and the opportunities and challenges at the local level.

          All relevant documents of the consultation: Agenda, list of participants, Concept Note of the consultation, Context input for participants, Annotated Draft General Comment (in Spanish), Power point presentation on the Annotated Draft of the GC (in Spanish), flyer of public event “30 years of decriminalization”, can be found in:
[1] Dejusticia is a human rights center of studies based in Bogotá, Colombia, with 11 thematic areas and 4 cross-cutting themes, drug policy being one of their lines of research and advocacy.



input from
1.    Global Commission on Drug Policy         
2.    Norwegian Human Rights Institution      
Table of Input from Stakeholders to the Draft Annotated Outline of the GC

1Pedro Arenas
2Ambika SatkunanathanDownload
3Katherine PettusDownload
4Mikhail Golichenko
5Constanza Sánchez AvilésDownload
6New Zealand Drug FoundationDownload
7Marcela JofréDownload
8Michelle WazanDownload
9Sandra Ka Hon ChuDownload
10Rebeca Marques Rocha (on behalf of Youth RISE - Resources, Information, Support and Education)Download
11Sandra Bermudez and Pien MetaalDownload
12Zara SnappDownload
13Tania RamírezDownload
14Luis Felipe Cruz-OliveraDownload
15Amnesty InternationalDownload
16Marta ValldauraDownload
17Jia Vern THAMDownload
18Sandra Bermudez and Pien MetaalDownload
19Maria PlotkoDownload
20Victoria DarraidouDownload
21Adria Cots FernandezDownload
22Nick KentDownload
23Christoph BublitzDownload
24Cannabis EmbassyDownload



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