The President of Costa Rica Opens the V Latin American Conference on Drug Policy

On September 3rd and 4th, the top experts in Latin America will meet to discuss a new approach to drug policy at San José’s Radisson Hotel. The meeting will be opened by the president of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis, who will address the challenges facing Central America. The V Latin American Conference on Drug Policy is supported by the United Nations, the Organization of American States (OAS) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

(Buenos Aires, August 22, 2014) With the challenge of reducing the rates of drug-related violence in Latin America and debating alternative methods of regulating the drug market in various countries, the V National Conference on Drug Policy will take place on September 3rd and 4th and will be opened by the President of Costa Rica, Luis Guillermo Solis.  The meeting, organized by CONFEDROGAS and the Costa Rican Association for Drug Study and Intervention (ACEID), will be held at the Radisson Hotel located on Calle Central y Tercera Av. 15 in San José.

The Regional Human Development Report for Latin America 2013-2014 from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) notes that Latin America is the only region where violence increased between 2000 and 2010. While the homicide rate in most regions of the world was negative (0% to -50%), Latin America showed an increase of 12%, largely associated with the “War on Drugs”. Given these figures, the challenge that officials and experts from the region who gather in San Jose will face is “to find alternative ways to reduce violence, increase economic development and achieve the effective protection of human rights,” said Giselle Amador, executive director of the Costa Rican Association for Drug Study and Intervention (ACEID).

The Latin American Conference on Drug Policy is the most important forum for debate on drugs in the region in which government officials, UN staff, experts and civil society representatives meet every two years to evaluate, reflect on and discuss how to provide alternative, innovative and systematic answers to create a comprehensiveapproach to the problems associated with drugs.

“The problem of violence and the increase in the prison population are two of the most serious, eloquent examples of the violations of human rights in the solutions provided so far,” said Graciela Touzé, president of Intercambios Civil Association, of Argentina, one of six civil society organizations in CONFEDROGAS. For example, the figures presented by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) indicate that between 2006 and 2011, drug offenses (usually small-scale trafficking and retail sales) became the top two causes of imprisonment of women by country, and arrestsof women increased from 40,000 to 74,000.

Among those who will meet to debate at the Conference is the North American Mary Price, who will present a plan to pardon prisoners in the United States detained for drug offenses. The investigator Carmen Rosa de León will detail the initiative plan to regulate the poppy market in Guatemala.  The Colombian expert Juan Carlos Garzón, advisor to the governments of Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica and the OAS, will moderate the panel on “Drugs and Violence”.

The Conference is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD). The Conference was declared to be of Cultural Interest by the Presidency of the Republic of Costa Rica and the Ministry of Culture and Youth of the Republic of Costa Rica.

CONFEDROGAS is a consortium that was formed in 2013 and consists of six civil society organizations committed to a profound change in drug policy.  Another of its objectives is to organize the Latin American Conference on Drug Policy asa permanent and regularly occurring platform for the discussion and planning of better solutions to the issues associated with drugs. CONFEDROGAS includes: Acción Técnica Social (Colombia), el Colectivo por Una Política Integral hacia las Drogas (CUPIhD, México), Intercambios Asociación Civil (Argentina), Psicotropicus (Brasil), the Transnational Institute (TNI) and the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA).

The Costa Rican Association for Drug Study and Intervention (ACEID) is the local organizer.

PRESS CONTACTS

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Regional
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