Moving away from the punitive paradigm: An analysis of the 2023 OHCHR report on drug policy

IDPC: In September 2023, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released a landmark report on human rights in drug policy. Prepared at the request of the Human Rights Council as a contribution to the mid-term review of the 2019 Ministerial Declaration on drugs, this report constitutes the most ambitious and comprehensive UN document to date on the alignment of drug policies with human rights. The report consolidates existing human rights standards, develops new recommendations, and proposes a blueprint for transformative change, from a global punitive paradigm to drug policies based on health and human rights.

This IDPC advocacy note focuses on three key issues. First, the new standards and recommendations developed in the OHCHR report, which update our understanding of the human rights dimension of drug policies. Secondly, the consolidation of prior human rights standards developed by other UN bodies. Lastly, we lay down our recommendations for an effective implementation of the vision proposed by the report.

Year: 2023
Resource Type:
Alternatives to Criminalisation
Human Rights
Public Health
Australia & the Pacific Islands
Latin America & the Caribbean
Middle East
North America
People Groups:
People who use Drugs
People experiencing Homelessness or live in informal settlements
People experiencing Poverty
Women and Girls
Duty Bearers
Policy Reform
Campaign Partner:
International Drug Policy Consortium