The purpose of the human rights conventions is to protect the individual against disproportional, arbitrary, and discriminatory practices. They therefore define certain criteria that all laws must comply with, but when it comes to the drug law there is a lot to suggest that it falls short compared to these.
This is an issue that our officials have never looked into before, because when they dedicated themselves to punitive drug policies, they didn’t know enough about drugs or drug prohibition to see the problem from a human rights perspective.
Now, fifty years later, things have changed. We have learned that whether we are talking about licit or illicit drugs, there are the same supply and demand mechanisms in effect and the same varying patterns of use, and we have learned that alcohol and tobacco, each in their own way, are the worst of all drugs for society and users alike. Not only that, but we have also discovered that the degree of criminalization has little to no influence on the user population; that the evils generated by prohibition (organized crime, corruption, violence, disease, deaths by overdose, etc.) are worse than the evils caused by the drugs themselves; and that a health-oriented approach, like the one we have for alcohol, is a much more sensible solution to the drug problem.
In other words, as we have wised up, we have learned that the idea of prohibition is built on a series of faulty premises. And when we take into account that (1) the separation between licit and illicit drugs is nonsensical and (2) that less invasive—and more prudent—means than the law-and-order approach are available, we also have a sound basis for arguing that today’s policies are incompatible with key human rights standards and principles.
This is important, because there is a conventional hierarchy in which human rights law rules supreme, and if the UN drug control conventions (and our prohibitionist policies) should be found to be incompatible with the human rights conventions, then the drug control conventions must yield.
When it comes to this, our civil servants have a contractual obligation to ensure that the relationship between the two is properly reviewed. Nothing less than the rule of law hangs in the balance, because our rights in this situation are clearly defined.
This being the case, AROD’s mission is to inform public officials of their duties and the citizens of their rights. On this site, therefore, you will learn more about human rights, how our drug policies violate them, how we can use our catalogue of rights to end prohibition, why it is so important that we do, and why public officials must assist us in this quest.
Whether you are a civil servant, drug user, or simply a concerned citizen the information contained herein will put all this in perspective, and if you want to help us ensure that our drug policies are compatible with human rights, you are welcome to join us.