IN her speech at a Philippine Commission on Human Rights event last Friday, UN Special Rapporteur Agnes Callamard said: “In April 2016, the general assembly of the world’s government recognized explicitly that the war on drugs does not work.”
She is lying. The United Nations General Assembly never made such a declaration, explicitly or implicitly.
The resolution in fact even recognized ”tangible progress has been achieved” as result of efforts of nations to combat the global drug problem. What the resolution highlighted in its first paragraphs was its concern that “the availability of internationally controlled drugs for medical and scientific purposes, including for the relief of pain and suffering, remains low to non-existent in many countries of the world” – a veiled reference to the growing lobby to legalize marijuana.
Does this lady from New York think that Filipinos are so backward that they’ll be unable to access a UN document to fact-check her claim?
Callamard is not even qualified to talk about the success or failure of countries’ anti-drug campaigns, as she is Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial or arbitrary executions. Despite its highfalutin’ title, it is really researcher for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which has 56 such rapporteurs, which is French for reporter.
If Callamard persists in her canard that what she means by “war on drugs” is what the resolution referred to as “law enforcement operations,” the document in fact devoted a section to this requirement to combat the proliferation of illegal drugs. Just three examples, among many (italics mine) :
• “We reiterate our commitment to protecting the safety and assuring the security of individuals, societies and communities by intensifying our efforts to prevent and counter the illicit cultivation, production and manufacture of and trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, as well as drug-related crime and violence inter alia, more effective drug-related crime prevention and through law enforcement measures, as well as by addressing links with other forms of organized crime.” (page 8 of UN resolution)
• “Develop and strengthen, as appropriate, the capacity of health, social and law enforcement and other criminal justice authorities to cooperate, within their mandates, in the implementation of comprehensive, integrated and balanced responses to drug abuse and drug use disorders, at all levels of government.” (page 6)
• “Promote and implement effective criminal justice responses to drug-related crimes to bring perpetrators to justice.” (page 14)
Isn’t President Duterte precisely undertaking such law enforcement measures against illegal drugs, and in fact intensified it, something which his predecessor Benigno Aquino 3rd totally neglected, consequently making the drug problem develop into crisis proportions?
Perhaps Duterte’s fault is simply that he was so dramatic to call his campaign government’s “war against drugs”. But it was President Richard Nixon, the President of a country presumably with a highly developed rule of law than ours who coined the term in 1971 to describe his campaign, directed mostly against the cocaine industry.
A paragraph in the resolution, I would think, is even exactly what the Duterte administration has done by putting in jail former justice secretary Leila de Lima:
“Promote effective measures capable of addressing the links between drug-related crimes and corruption, as well as obstruction of justice, including through the intimidation of justice officials, as a part of national anti-corruption and drug control strategies.”
I don’t think Callamard even read the UN resolution she was referring to. If she did, she would have read the following statement in it, and shut her mouth in condemning Duterte’s war against drugs;
“We reaffirm our unwavering commitment to ensuring that all aspects of demand reduction and related measures, supply reduction and related measures… with full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of States. “ (Page 2 of resolution)
Whatever term is used to describe it—“interdiction operations” (page 11 of document) or law enforcement measures (page 6 and ten other pages)—, nothing in the UN resolution concluded that such law-enforcement operations using force “doesn’t work”.
After all, who in his right mind would claim that the Mexicans’ war against drugs that led to the capture or killing of 23 notorious drug lords were useless?
Were the dismantling of the drug lords’ command center in our national prison Muntinlupa, the jailing of top Chinese-Filipino drug lords, and the demolition of drug dens in our inner cities, as Callamard would have it, useless?
The UN’s research body, the Office on Drugs and Crime, in fact in its 2016 World Drug Report in effect described the kind of campaign against drugs Duterte has been undertaking, and its impact:
“Law enforcement interventions aim to restore the rule of law, the cornerstone of governance and sustainable development, and can also influence the availability of drugs in illicit markets, not only by reducing supply through interdiction but also by increasing the risk for traffickers, which raises the price of drugs in consumer markets.”
If the global cocaine problem remains unresolved, a big factor for this was the Americans’ stupid and crime-against-humanity invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, just to prove they could avenge the 9/11 World Trade Center bombing. The collapse of these two countries’ states made cocaine production uncontrollable, replacing much of those produced in Central America. Myanmar and Laos producers had also entered the market.
Callamard force-fits her perception of reality with her set assumptions and with flimsy information. She’s concluded—perhaps by spending too many dinners with a billionaire Filipina in Manhattan with her New York Times friends—that since certain newspapers had dramatic photos of Manila’s streets littered with corpses allegedly because of extra-judicial killings, and since she read the news site Rappler’s fake news that such EJKs numbered 7,000 as early as September, then Duterte’s campaign against drugs has been horrific.
Similarly she mistook as reality speculative reports by left-leaning Europeans that the General Assembly would declare the “war on drugs” as having failed, and would adopt a new policy.
The General Assembly didn’t at all declare that. What it did was simply to devote major sections on such aspects of the campaign against drugs as prevention and rehabilitation, on the need for countries to develop “inclusive economies”, and states’ responsibility to protect human rights in anti-drug law enforcement operations.
Before that General Assembly in April 2016, there was a demand by a lobby that thought like the liar Callamard, that demanded that the UN ask its members to legalize what are at present illegal drugs, starting with marijuana which was the most consumed drug in the world, and with most of those arrested due to their use of this weed. The UN resolution, however, rejected that demand.
Callamard and Robredo
That reminds me though of Vice President Leni Robredo’s proposal to decriminalize illegal drugs. Have Callamard and Robredo been exchanging notes?
The Philippine government should not just complain to the UN that it was not notified by Callamard about her visit, violating UN protocols.
It should demand that Callamard be fired because she lied to the world that the UN General Assembly of 193 nations in its April 2016 resolution claimed that the “war on drugs doesn’t’ work” . The Assembly never said such a thing.
The UN’s unique post of “Special Rapporteur” under its High Commission on Human Rights was created only in 2005 to skirt the body’s earlier resolutions that it cannot investigate allegations of a member state’s violations of human rights, much less demand that it stop doing such.
The “Special Rapporteur” is therefore not a UN official and consequently does not receive any form of financial remuneration from the body. This rapporteur does not represent the UN, nor do her views. Her task is to report to the UN CHR cases of human rights abuses, which the body simply accepts but cannot really act on. The Special Rapporteur’s function is in essence simply that of media, to investigate allegations of human rights abuses, and report on this, hopefully for nations to stop doing such.
But how can Callamard be such a rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, when she very inaccurately reported a written resolution of the UN General Assembly in order to discredit Duterte’s successful war against illegal drugs?
And if the UN didn’t finance her trip to Manila for the CHR event, as she isn’t considered UN staff, who did?