Australian Permanent Mission and Consulate-General
Switzerland, Liechtenstein


 Human Rights Council - 30th Regular Session

Panel discussion on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights

Australian Statement

28 September 2015

Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in the discussion on the impact of the world drug problem on the enjoyment of human rights.

Australia is concerned by the global disparity in access to controlled substances for medical purposes.

A situation where 17 per cent of the global population consumes 92 per cent of global medical morphine stocks is untenable. More can be done to reduce barriers to accessing controlled drugs. UNODC-WHO pilot programs in Ghana and Timor-Leste, supported by Australia, have shown that it is possible to reduce these barriers where there is political will for reform.

Australia welcomes the report’s focus on expanding access to opioid therapy as drug users often have poorer access to health care.

Australia agrees with the report’s recommendation on the right to life, including the recommendation that persons convicted of drug-related offences should not be subject to the death penalty. Australia again reiterates its firm belief that drug-related crimes do not meet the threshold for “most serious crimes”, allowing for the death penalty under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Australia would be interested to know if there have been countries that have changed their health and or criminal justice related drug policies, and whether those changes have led to positive outcomes including in human rights – in combating the drug problem.