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Press Release: COALITION DECLARES 'GLOBAL DAYS AGAINST THE DRUG WAR', JUNE 5-10. 90 reform organisations unite - events in 40 cities worldwide

NEW YORK (May 25) - Drug policy reform groups all over the world will declare the 'Global Days against the Drug War', to be held Friday June 5th through Wednesday 10th. Events to promote alternative drug policies will take place in more than 40 cities, at the occasion of the United Nations Special Session of the General Assembly on Drugs, UNGASS, which starts Monday June 8th.

More than 90 organisations have recently united to form the 'Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War'. These organisations insist that it is of great importance that proposals for drug policy reform are heard during the coming UN session. The coalition is issuing a declaration that will be presented in New York at the Non-Govern-mental Organisations conference that is part of UNGASS, and that will be published widely in the coming weeks.

UNGASS was originally conceived as a critical examination of worldwide anti-drug policy. Under the guidance of repressive forces inside the UN, the focus of the session has been narrowed, however. According to the new guidelines, only the expansion of existing policies will be open for discussion.

"In terms of crime, economic and financial damage, and social and personal harm, drug prohibition is turning into a worldwide crisis. Now the United Nations aims to escalate drug repression tactics in a misguided quest towards a drug free society", according to Olivier Dupuis, a European MP and Secretary of the Transnational Radical Party, a coalition member organisation. Dupuis adds: "A commitment of U.N. member states to escalate the drug war will constitute a sort of solemn war declaration at the climax of a global defeat".

The Global Days against the Drug War will feature discussion forums, demonstrations, seminars, press conferences, street parties, publications, concerts, a congress, and other types of events. A congress will be held in Paris, Friday 5th and Saturday 6th, with a demonstration at the Paris UN delegation on Sunday 7th. An event featuring well-known speakers will take place in San Francisco on the 6th. A street party in Amsterdam on June 6th is expected to attract thousands to state their desire for an end to the drug war in a joyful way, and a demonstration is planned to take place in New York on Monday 8th. The 'Global Coalition' is planning a forum to be held inside the UN on Tuesday June 9th, in cooperation with the European Council on Drugs and Development, an organisation that has established a coalition of 50 organisations working in the field of north-south relations. Other organisations around the world are planning their own version of the Global Days against the Drug War.

"To anyone who is aware of the damage, physical and emotional, inflicted by drug prohibition, it is obvious that what is needed is not an escalated drug war, but reform policies aimed at reducing the damage currently done", states Arno Adelaars, one of the speakers at a forum in Amsterdam on Sunday June 7th, and a member of the Amsterdam-based Recreational Drugs Committee. "It is heartening to see how many individuals and organisations are ready to stand up and express themselves; many concerned people have taken this chance to make an unequivocal statement that enough harm has been done, that it is time to stop and think again". He adds, "An impressive number of reform organisations exists. If UNGASS will have one positive effect, it will be that the drug policy reform movement is going to stand united and become stronger because of it. More and more people are convinced that drug prohibition has been a tragic mistake. Politicians should finally find the courage to admit that as well."

The Global Coalition for Alternatives to the Drug War currently consists of more than 90 organisations. Among them are the Drug Reform Coordination Network, the National Organisation for Reform of Marijuana Laws, Coordinamento Radicale Antiprohibizionista, the November Coalition, the Campaign for Equity-Restorative Justice, the Transnational Radical Party, Common Sense for Drug Policy, the Legalize! Initiative, the Media Awareness Project, the American Society for Action on Pain, Compassionate Care Alliance, the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp, FORUM DROGHE, the National Alliance of Methadone Advocates, Mothers against Misuse and Abuse, and many other organisations.

The Global Days against the Drug War take place in a.o. Amsterdam, Berlin, Bonn, Dallas, Hamburg, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, New York, Oslo, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Seattle, Sydney, Stockholm, Tallinn, Tel Aviv, Washington, Wellington. The declaration of the Global Coalition against the Drug War, information about the coalition member organisations, about the events taking place, about the UN panel, and contact information for the local events, is available at: http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/globalcoalition/

For further information please contact:

Kevin Zeese, Falls Church, VA, USA,+1-703-354-5694, kevzeese@laser.net Adam Smith, Washington DC, USA, +1-202-293-8340, ajsmith@intr.net Harry Bego, Utrecht, the Netherlands, +31-30-2316118, hbego@knoware.nl

or write to: coalition@stopthedrugwar.org

Updated: 24 Jul 2001 | Accessed: 32454 times