Remarks by Head of the Russian Delegation to the 61st session of the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov, Vienna, March 12, 2018
We are pleased that the current session of the Commission is chaired by a representative from Mexico, a country that is on the frontline of the fight against drugs. Our task is to further strengthen the global drug control regime based on the three core UN conventions. Russian President Vladimir Putin made this statement on February 28, 2018, stressing the need to enhance the coordination of the Russian public associations and authorities’ anti-drug activities at all levels, to strengthen cooperation with our partners from countries where the main drug flows originate, and also as part of international organisations such as the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). The first international conference Parliamentarians Against Drugs in December last year made a call for immediate, decisive and consolidated action in response to the global drug challenge, thus laying the groundwork for the parliamentary dimension of countering illicit drug trafficking.
Russia is deeply concerned about the current drug boom in Afghanistan, where opiate production has reached about 9,000 tons in opium equivalent. Furthermore, drug money actively nourishes terrorism, thereby strengthening its deadly arsenal. We are determined to further strengthen the Paris Pact Initiative (PPI), a unique interstate anti-drug framework.
At the same time, our aim is to build up the anti-drug potential of the SCO. It is significant that the current session of the Commission will further develop the dialogue between the SCO and the UNODC aimed at consolidating the joint effort against the narcotic threat.
The CSTO has rallied to protect Eurasia from opium expansion. In 2017, the CSTO member states together with their partners conducted two major operations, Channel - Western Cordon and Channel-Volga Front to curb illicit drug trafficking and related cash flows.
The BRICS group is gaining an increasingly clear anti-drug profile in its intercontinental dimension.
The CARICC has become a reliable stronghold in the system of deterring Afghan drug trafficking, confidently entering the second decade of its activities.
Last year, an important step was taken towards the development of our anti-drug dialogue with ASEAN, which, we hope, will become progressive and dynamic.
To further the requirements of the resolution adopted at the 60th session of the Commission, Russia is stepping up its activities to train drug police officers from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asian countries at the relevant educational institutions under Russia’s Interior Ministry. The contribution of the Japanese government, which is a clear example of the unity of interstate efforts to repulse a common enemy – drugs – is highly important. Russian instructors are part of successful anti-drug training programmes in Nicaragua and Peru. The Federal Service for Financial Monitoring provides assistance in the training of officers in South-Eastern Europe in combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
Our policy is based on the international anti-drug law, whose inviolability was confirmed at a special session of the UN General Assembly in 2016. The International Narcotics Control Board is the custodian and guarantor of its consistent application. In November 2017, an INCB mission led by its President Viroj Sumyai visited the Russian Federation; we tried to demonstrate maximum openness and transparency during our meetings.
We are confident that our Commission is obliged to contribute to improving access to painkillers for those who need them. The current situation, when pain relief is only available to 20% of the global population, cannot continue. We must change this unfair state of affairs.
Every effort should be made to promote alternative development programmes, so that many thousands of people have real sources enabling them to live decent lives.
Today, drug-related crime is increasingly aimed at children. Children become not only drug users, but they are often used as drug traffickers. We need to put an end to this shameful practice as soon as possible. This is why Russia is presenting a resolution on protecting children from illicit drugs at this session. We hope that the initiative will receive broad approval.
We need to work together to address these matters in the context of the upcoming full-fledged review of the implementation of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action for 2009. We believe we should be guided by Resolution 60/1, in which the Commission clearly spelled out its vision of the preparations for 2019.
We strongly reject any calls for the legalisation of narcotic substances. We do not think it acceptable to legalise death and human suffering. In addition to this, drugs legalisation goes against human rights, including the right to life and health.
Madam Chairperson, our ideal vision is a world free of drugs. If we all combine our efforts for the embodiment of this dream, then it can become a reality.