Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Drug Policy, Manfred Nowak (2009)

In this 2009 report to the UN Human Rights Council, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture, Professor Manfred Nowak, calls on UN member states to adopt a rights based approach to drug policies.

Recognising that the human rights and drug policy regimes in the UN have ‘evolved practically detached’ from each other, Prof Nowak's report submitted for the 10th session of the Council draws the attention of members states to the issues of 'drug users in the context of the criminal justice system and situations resulting from restricted access to drugs for palliative care.'

In specific, the Special Rapporteur raised concerns relating to:

  • The use of the death penalty for drug offences
  • Denial of access to opioid substitution therapy and needle exchange in places of detention
  • Forced drug dependence treatment
  • Forced testing for HIV and HCV
  • Lack of access to opiates for pain relief

Citation: Manfred Nowak. 'Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Drug Policy' (Report of Special Rapporteur on Torture) 2009

SR Torture Report A.HRC.10.44AEV

HRDP summary