Editorial: ‘Deliver us from evil’? – The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 50 years on, Rick Lines (2010)


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs. Ratified in 1961, the Single Convention was the first of three United Nations treaties enshrining the international community’s approach to drug control. The original purpose of the Convention was a ‘Transfer to the United Nations of the powers exercised by the League of Nations in connexion with Narcotic Drugs’, and the task given to the drafters by the UN General Assembly was to bring together the content of the preexisting international drug control agreements established under the League of Nations into one single international instrument (hence the title, the Single Convention).In recent years there has been growing attention to the human rights implications of the international narcotics control regime among non-governmental organisations and UN human rights monitors. Human rights violations documented in the name of drug control in countries across the world include: the execution of hundreds of people annually for drug offences; the arbitrary detention of hundreds of thousands of people who use (or are accused of using) illicit drugs;the infliction of torture, or other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, in the name of ‘drug treatment’; the extrajudicial killings of people suspected of being drug users or drug traffickers;and the denial of potentially life saving health services for people who use drugs...

Citation: Lines, Rick, ‘‘ Deliver us from evil ’? – The Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 50 years on’ (2010)  International Journal on Human Rights and Drug Policy, Volume I

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