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Women’s Declaration Calling for Global Drug Policies that

Support Women, Children, and Families

On the occasion of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs, organizations working toward gender equality call on the international community to end punitive drug policies that threaten the rights, health, and wellbeing of women, children, and families.

More than 50 years after the international community adopted the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, calling addiction “a serious evil for the individual and a “social and economic danger to mankind.” Since then, our understanding has evolved. As recognized by the Global Commission on Drug Policy:

The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. . . . [F]undamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.

Punitive drug control policies have especially failed women and families. The current global drug control regime institutionalizes laws and practices that disempower women, and violates the principles and values fundamental to women’s equality.

We recognize that:

                                

These failures have come at enormous cost to women. In almost every nation, punitive drug policies have the greatest impact on women who are coping with poverty, histories of physical and sexual violence, untreated mental health concerns, inadequate support systems, and marginalization due to race or ethnicity. As we look to the future, we have the opportunity to rethink how to treat and effectively serve women who use drugs, sell drugs, or are linked to others who do.

We therefore call on policymakers to end the injustice perpetuated by global drug prohibition and instead support drug policies grounded in science, compassion, and human rights by:

                                                                            

  1. Incorporating a gender analysis in all conventions, declarations, and reports on drugs.

  1. Prioritizing alleviation of the social and economic conditions that contribute to problematic drug involvement.

  1. Approaching problematic drug use as a health issue and scaling up resources for supportive health interventions.

  1. Eliminating the use of incarceration and punishment for drug offenses. Incarceration should be viewed as a scarce and expensive resource that should be used only for persons who pose a serious public safety threat and then only for a reasonable amount of time sufficient to eliminate the threat. Incarceration of pregnant and parenting women should be rare and exceptional.

  1. Eliminating any post-conviction sanctions that exacerbate the punitive impact of drug offenses. These sanctions often extend far beyond a given sentence or punishment and further marginalize women, children, and families.

  1. Ensuring that all drug treatment services are evidence-based and meet women’s specific medical, psychological, and social needs, especially during pregnancy and parenting.        

  1. Undertaking research into the impacts of punitive drug policies on women, children, and families, and using it to inform and improve policymaking.        

  1. Meaningfully involving women who use drugs in policy and program planning, implementation, and evaluation.

**To have your organization join this Declaration, please visit: http://bit.ly/UNGASSwomen

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Campaign Supporters

National Advocates for Pregnant Women

United States of America

Civil Liberties & Public Policy Program

United States of America

Civil Society Organization for Development and Improvement of Public Life Tetovo

Macedonia

Coalition Sexual and Health Rights of Marginalized Communities

Republic of Macedonia

CODEPINK

United States of America

Colectiva Ciudad y Género A.C.

Mexico

College and Community Fellowship

United States of America

 

Empathy Foundation

India

Equis Justicia para las Mujeres A.C.

Mexico

Familiares en Búsqueda María Herrera

Mexico

 

Families for Justice as Healing

United States of America

Feminist Majority Foundation

United States of America

FOKUS Muda – Indonesian Young Key Population Network

Indonesia

 

Grupo de Información en Reproducción Elegida

Mexico

H.E.R.A. – Health Education and Research Association

Republic of Macedonia

Indonesia Positive Women Network

Indonesia

Justice for Families, LTD

United States of America

The Ladies of Hope Ministries

United States of America

National Organization for Women Foundation

United States of America

Open Society Foundations Women’s Rights Program

International

Penal Reform International

International

The Prison Birth Project

United States of America

St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction

United States of America

Women and Harm Reduction International Network

International

 

Women’s Link Worldwide

Spain

 

Women With a Vision, Inc.

United States of America

Association of OST clients of Ukraine (ASTAU)

Ukraine

Asociación Costarricense para el Estudio e Intervención en Drogas (ACEID)

Costa Rica

 

Brazilian Drug Policy Platform

Brazil

 

Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

Canada

 

CAT

Italy

 

Citywide Drugs Crisis Campaign

Ireland

Colectivo por una Política Integral Hacia las Drogas (CUPIHD) A.C.

Mexico 

Federacion Andaluza ENLACE

Spain

 

Fursa-Opportunity Community Based Organization (C.B.O.) for Youth

Kenya

Global Coalition of TB Activists

India

Grupo de Pesquisas em Política de Drogas e Direitos Humanos, UFRJ

Brazil

Harm Reduction International

United Kingdom

 

HOPS

Republic of Macedonia

 

India HIV/AIDS Alliance

India

 

Instituto Terra, Trabalho e Cidadania (ITTC) (Institute for Land, Labor and Citizenship)

Brazil

 

International Drug Policy Consortium

United Kingdom

 

Jaringan Peduli TB Indonesia (JAPETI) (Indonesia TB Care Network)

Indonesia

Justice Strategies

United States of America

NGO Opcija Ohrid

Republic of Macedonia

 

NoBox Transitions Foundation, Inc.

Philippines

Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Program

International

 

Open Society Foundations International Harm Reduction Development Program

International

Real Cost of Prisons Project

United States of America

ReverdeSer Colectivo

Mexico

 

Rumah Cemara

Indonesia

 

Transform Drug Policy Foundation

United Kingdom

Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA)

International

Witness to Mass Incarceration

United States of America