Outcome of UNGASS 2016

UNGASS 2016The UNGASS Output Document calls on member states to adopt ‘proportionate and effective policies and responses’ to the drug problem in their countries. In particular:  

  • Encourage the development, adoption and implementation, with due regard for national, constitutional, legal and administrative systems, of alternative or additional measures with regard to conviction or punishment in cases of an appropriate nature, in accordance with the three international drug control conventions and taking into account, as appropriate, relevant United Nations standards and rules...; 
  • Consider sharing, through the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, information, lessons learned, experiences and best practices on the design, implementation and results of national criminal justice policies, including, as appropriate, domestic practices on proportional sentencing, related to the implementation of the three international drug control conventions, including article 3 of the 1988 Convention; 
  • Promote proportionate national sentencing policies, practices and guidelines for drug-related offences whereby the severity of penalties is proportionate to the gravity of offences and whereby both mitigating and aggravating factors are taken into account, including the circumstances enumerated in article 3 of the 1988 Convention and other relevant and applicable international law, and in accordance with national legislation;

While talk about ‘proportionality’ may seem vague and wrapped around with all sorts of provisos, the wording had to be acceptable to, and approved by, 193 member states, including the 33 countries who continue to believe that the criminal justice system is the most appropriate framework for responding to the drugs problem and that the death penalty is an appropriate policy tool.