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Press Release - Launch of International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Report 2007
Action needs to be taken to target major drug trafficking organizations, board warns in its Annual Report
In its Annual Report released today (5 March 2008), the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) called on Governments to apply the law proportionately when prosecuting drug offenders, as not doing so could undermine efforts to effectively implement the very conventions that these laws seek to enforce. The principle of proportionality in relation to drug-related offences is the focus of chapter one of the INCB Annual Report 2007.
While noting that progress has been made since it last addressed the issue of proportionality in 1996, the INCB states that some countries still expend disproportionate effort in targeting low level offenders and drug users, as compared with the more pressing issues of identifying, dismantling and punishing those who control or organize major drug trafficking activities.
Highlights of the report on South Asia
Cannabis and heroin are being increasingly trafficked and abused in South Asia.
The quantity of heroin entering India from Pakistan has increased.
West African traffickers have targeted countries in South Asia, mainly India, for cocaine trafficking.
South American cocaine is trafficked to India in small quantities where it is exchanged for South-West-Asian heroin bound for Europe or North America.
India is increasingly being used as a transit country and also as a destination country for drug trafficking.
Cross-border smuggling is relatively easy due to the porous borders between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Illicit cultivation and abuse of cannabis continue to be a problem in most of the countries in South Asia.
Licitly manufactured pharmaceutical preparations such as codeine-based syrups, benzodiazepines and buprenorphine are smuggled from India into Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka. In India, organized criminal groups traffic in amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS).
In South Asia, injection of heroin and pharmaceutical preparations is contributing to the spread of HIV/AIDS. In India, the areas with the highest incidence of drug-related HIV/AIDS continue to be the north-eastern border with Myanmar and large urban areas. Of those who abuse drugs in Maldives, 20-25 per cent inject them. Injecting drug abuse rose from 8 per cent in 2003 to 29 per cent in 2006 and three-quarters of imprisoned drug offenders are drug abusers. The Board notes with concern that adequate data on drug abuse is not available in Bhutan and Nepal.
The INCB is the independent and quasi-judicial control organ for the implementation of the UN drug conventions and each year it prepares a report for submission to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations.
This year, aside from its assessment of the international drug control situation on a region-by-region basis, the report's first chapter focuses on the principle of proportionality and drug-related offences.
The INCB Report 2007 was released in New Delhi by Mr. K.C. Verma, Director General, Narcotics Control Bureau. Mr. Gary Lewis, Representative UNODC Regional Office for South Asia spoke on the emerging concerns and regional response. Mr. Rajiv Walia, Project Coordinator, UNODC presented the highlights of the INCB Report. The release was followed by a Question & Answer session between the media and the panelists. The function began with a welcome address by Ms. Shalini Dewan, Director, UN Information Centre.