Over the past ten years, the $1 billion “war on drugs” has fuelled violations of human rights.

A new analysis claims that over the past ten years, about $1 billion (£800 million) in aid has been spent on a global “war on drugs” that has fuelled violations of human rights.

The US and the EU spent $550 million and $282 million of their assistance budgets on programs that supported drug control policies, respectively, between 2012 and 2021, according to an analysis of OECD data by the NGO Harm Reduction International (HRI).

More than $10 million of the $22 million the UK has paid since 2012 was used to assist surveillance capabilities in Peru, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, and Mozambique.

Under Joe Biden, the US significantly raised its aid expenditure on drug control, going from $31 million in 2020 to $309 million in 2021.

The Drug Enforcement Agency has used some of the funds to educate police and special units in Vietnam and Honduras who have been accused of making arbitrary arrests and killing people.

According to the research, in 2021, more aid will be given internationally to support drug regulations ($323 million) than to fund school nutrition programs ($286 million) or labor rights ($198 million).

The list of nations with lower incomes that have received aid for drug control included 92 countries, including Afghanistan, which received funding for police training following the Taliban takeover in 2021.

As Catherine Cook, sustainable financing lead at HRI, who tracks the effects of drug policies, put it, “When you think about development, you aren’t really thinking about it being utilized for those types of tasks—you consider reducing poverty and employing it towards development goals in health or education.

“Even though we are aware that the “war on drugs” and harsh laws have consistently failed, this funding is actually being used to bolster punitive tactics, such as policing and imprisonment.

Volker Türk, the UN’s human rights chief, called for an end to the “war on drugs” this year, claiming it has failed to halt drug manufacturing while resulting in massive arrests and police fatalities.

According to HRI, donor states should stop sponsoring initiatives that advocate harsh drug laws and stop classifying their contributions as aid.

According to Steve Rolles, senior policy analyst at the nonprofit Transform Drug Policy Foundation, harsh drug laws that aim to shut off supplies frequently hurt marginalized groups more than those who are profiting the most from the industry. Donors, according to him, “effectively sponsor state violence. “In Latin America, those who have few other options, such as those who are displaced or illegal migrants, [are] frequently those who end up employed in the illegal drug economy due to a lack of other employment options.”

According to him, these individuals frequently “get caught in the crosshairs during army police enforcement of drug measures, and they frequently end up in jail.”

The “war on drugs” had clearly failed, according to Rolles. “Millions of tons of drugs are intercepted, and drug merchants, traffickers, makers, and traffickers are all incarcerated in interminable prisons. And yet, despite the growing amount of resources invested in this, pharmaceuticals are more affordable, accessible, and effective than ever before, he claimed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *