Forum in Bogota discusses possible solutions to illicit drugs

UNODC Colombia
UNODC's Representative in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, speaks during the forum

Bogota, 3 October 2013 - The United Nations (UN) and the National University of Colombia organized last week the National Forum on the Solution to the Problem of Illicit Drugs. The event was held in Bogotá from 24 to 26 September, with over 1,000 participants. The list of speakers included national and international guests, academics, leaders of ethnic and social organizations in various territories of Colombia and global organizations staff.

The Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Colombia, Bo Mathiasen, and the Executive Secretary of the Inter-American Drug Abuse and Control Commission (CICAD) of the Organization of American States (OAS), Paul Simons, were among the participants.

The Representative of the UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brazil, Rafael Franzini, also attended the forum and participated in the first international panel, during which he highlighted: "Drug policy design should look deeply into human rights, its validity and preservation; human rights in law enforcement, the rights of the accused and the convicted; as well as problematic users, who should be considered as people who have a disease and not be subject to criminal penalties, since one cannot treat someone who is sick like a criminal. "

Besides, during the forum the UN Resident Coordinator in Colombia, Fabrizio Hochschild, noted that through UNODC it has been possible to identify how much recurrence there is regarding illicit crops in areas with little or no state presence, low levels of human development, strong presence of illegal armed groups and high levels of conflict and violence.

"The economy of these regions is weak and, in most cases, farmers do not earn more than other peasants and producers. Today it is not certain that farmers receive extraordinary gains from illicit crops. On the contrary, alternative crops are highly demanded by them. There is a great need for alternative development programs, infrastructure and market access", said Hochschild.

*With information from the United Nations in Colombia and the National University of Colombia News Agency

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