Archive for the ‘UN’ Category

How to stop the drug wars

March 6, 2009

Mar 5th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution

Illustration by Noma Bar

A HUNDRED years ago a group of foreign diplomats gathered in Shanghai for the first-ever international effort to ban trade in a narcotic drug. On February 26th 1909 they agreed to set up the International Opium Commission—just a few decades after Britain had fought a war with China to assert its right to peddle the stuff. Many other bans of mood-altering drugs have followed. In 1998 the UN General Assembly committed member countries to achieving a “drug-free world” and to “eliminating or significantly reducing” the production of opium, cocaine and cannabis by 2008.

That is the kind of promise politicians love to make. It assuages the sense of moral panic that has been the handmaiden of prohibition for a century. It is intended to reassure the parents of teenagers across the world. Yet it is a hugely irresponsible promise, because it cannot be fulfilled. (more…)


August 7, 2008

Who will watch the watchmen?

June 20, 2008
May 29th 2008
From The Economist print edition

The harm that is done by people sent to do good

A tainted banner

ORGANISATIONS that send peacekeepers and aid workers to dangerous places are usually concerned about their envoys’ physical safety. But an uglier concern has recently surfaced: how to ensure the moral integrity of people who are supposed to be helping others. (more…)