Jaitley asks UN to recognize drug-terror nexus
India asked the global community to toughen its collective fight against the growing nexus of organized drug trafficking and terrorist networks. In his address to a special UN General Assembly session on the drug problem, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said "growing nexus of drug trafficking and terrorist networks endangers peace across regions." He asked nations to focus on disrupting financial networks of such organizations.
A special session of the UNGA is one that is called to either mark an occasion or at the behest of one or more of its member states. The first special session of the UNGA was held in 1947, and was chaired by the Brazilian diplomat Osvaldo Aranha over the creation of Israel. It can only be convened if a majority of members accept.
Special sesssions have been called for many reasons including to commemorate the UN's 50th anniversary (1995), to put forward the Millennium Development Goals (2000) and to discuss and admit proposals for the HIV/AIDS crisis in 2001.
The United Nations International Drug Control Programme initiated the first UNGA special session on drugs in 1998. The aim of the summit was to organize law enforcement across the world to prevent the illicit growth, trafficking and consumption of narcotic and psychotropic substances. The leaders at the summit agreed to work toward achieving a drug free world by 2008.
The 1998 special session failed to achieve a consensus on the issue of tackling drugs and was criticised for its harsh stance on drug offenders. By 2001, countries like Portugal and Switzerland had decriminalised all drugs, while countries like the US, Canada and Urugauay decriminalised selective drugs like marijuana in selective regions. However, hard line Islamist nations like Indonesia continued to execute drug offenders.
The UNGASS 2016 was called for by Colombia, Mexico and Guatemala who have seen spiralling drug related violence in the past years. The summit would be held for three days in New York, USA from 19 April to 21 April 2016. Hoping to reform approaches to tackling drug offenders, leaders of these countries said harsh penalties "create a vicious cycle of marginalisation and crime".
Activists expressed hope that the current summit would adopt people centric approaches to combating the drug menace by focusing on rehabilitation and generating awareness rather than pushing for incarceration and use of force against drug offenders.