According to a human rights expert, the global drug problem violates human rights in five key areas - the right to health, the rights relating to criminal justice and discrimination, the rights of the child and the rights of indigenous peoples.
"It is clear that the world's drug problem impacts the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, often resulting in serious violations. It is, nevertheless, a positive development that human rights are increasingly being taken into account in the preparations for the General Assembly's Special Session on the world drug problem to be held in April 2016," said Flavia Pansieri, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Ms Pansieri made the remarks during a panel discussion on issues related to human rights and drug policy taking place on the side lines of the 30th session of the Human Rights Council underway in Geneva, Switzerland.
"The report addresses the impact of the world drug problem in five main areas: the right to health, rights relating to criminal justice, the prohibition of discrimination including, in particular against ethnic minorities and women, the rights of the child and the rights of indigenous peoples," she said.
"Today, such measures, including syringe exchange program and opioid substitution therapy, are available in slightly less than half of countries worldwide. The report also endorses the UN's call on States to consider decriminalizing possession and use of drugs because criminalization of possession and use has been shown to cause significant obstacles to the right to health," said Ms Pansieri.
On issues relating to criminal justice, she said an estimated 33 countries or territories continue to impose the death penalty for drug-related offenses, resulting in approximately 1,000 executions.
She noted that "Ethnic minorities and women may be particularly subject to discrimination in law enforcement efforts. Children should be protected by focusing on prevention and should receive accurate and objective information on drugs in a child-friendly and age appropriate manner. Indigenous people have the right to follow their traditional, cultural and religious practices, and where drug use is part of these practices, it should in principle be permitted."
"It is my sincere hope that in the outcome documents of the General Assembly's Special Session on the world drug problem, human rights will be addressed in a constructive and specific manner so that human rights violations relating to the world drug problem are addressed, and that protection of human rights can be better integrated into State law and practice in the years to come," she stated.