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Jakarta – AIDS Research Center of the Atma Jaya Catholic University (Pusat Penelitian HIV & AIDS Atma Jaya), hosted the “Civil Society Forum on Developing Recommendation for the UNGASS on Drugs 2016″ on 10 – 11 November 2015. Located in Ruang Bincang Ilmiah, Atma Jaya University, Jl. Jend. Sudirman No. 51, Jakarta, the meeting discussed the UN drug conventions, and the implications of drug conviction policy in Indonesia. The purpose of the meeting is to summarize community input on handling drug situation in Indonesia. The recommendation as result of this meeting will be submitted by representatives of civil society organizations to the UN General Assembly on drugs in 2016 (UNGASS on Drugs 2016).
The UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs or the 2016 UNGASS on Drugs will be held on 19-21 April 2016 in New York. The last UN General Assembly on drugs were held in 1998. UNGASS on Drugs is a forum conducted to generate support from member states in maintaining worldwide drug eradication program or more popularly known as “war on drugs”. Today, political leaders and the world community are required to rethink the world drug policies that are ineffective and threaten the lives of millions of human beings.
During this time, the UN meetings on drugs always produce the inaugural anniversary on drug criminal system that is already running. But there are some differences in the UN General Assembly in 2016. Like never happened before, so many emerging countries voiced dissatisfaction over the international drug control policy as it is today. Thus, more community involved in the reform of global drug policy. Various popular campaigns released to support these changes. Referendum for alternative drug policies carried out in a number of UN member states.
By many, the UN General Assembly on drugs in 2016 is considered as a valuable opportunity to end the horrors of the “war against drugs”, and became a turning point for prioritizing health, human rights, and safety; in addressing the drug problems.
Turmoil of rejection on drug sentencing policy also occurred in Indonesia. Community groups who argue that Indonesia needs a new approach that is not a total prohibition on drugs, thrives. After ratified the UN drug convention 1961 since 1976, Indonesia imposed a policy of drug criminalization. The program is adapted into the current program conducted by the National Narcotics Agency ; Abuse Prevention and Eradication of Illicit Drugs (P4GN).
Recommendations then collected at a meeting facilitated by Atma Jaya AIDS Research Centre. On the first day of the meeting, Prof. Irwanto, Ph.D, founder and member of the Advisory Board of AIDS Research Centre Atma Jaya University stated his willingness to assist participants at the meeting to prepare a report of drug problems in Indonesia. He hoped that the report prepared by the civil society organizations can be accommodated in a government report to be brought to the UN General Assembly on drugs in 2016. But if the government’s response is not satisfactory, then the public should take the path of independent reporting. “For indeed members of the UN member states is the people, not the government,” added the professor who is familiarly known as Pak Ir.
Pak Ir explained that Indonesia’s position in the drug war is defensive, while people are asked to fight the war alone. “The way Indonesia handling the drug problems were dominated by police and security sectors. And there are no intimate relationship between government institutions,” said Pak Ir. He recommended that the National Narcotics Agency to clarify the direction of its mandate, whether as a legal institution, or as a strategic studies institute. Governments need to gather experts in various fields related to drugs, to proceed in determining the strategic direction of drug policies, at least annually.
On the same day, Ade Aulia, Program Officer of HIV / AIDS UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Indonesia explained the procedure of submitting a country report, as well as reports from civil society to feed into the UN General Assembly on Drugs in 2016.
Patri Handoyo, spokesman for The Indonesian Forum on Drug Policy which initiated this meeting stated, “17 components of civil society organization, which came from Denpasar, Surabaya and Tangerang contributed to this community recommendation to the UN General Assembly on Drugs 2016. (Yvonne Sibuea)