CICAD: Countries in the region debated the confiscation of assets from organized crime
Plenary of the 50th Ordinary Session of CICAD at Palacio San Martin in Buenos Aires
COUNTRIES OF THE AMERICAS DEBATED, in Buenos Aires, an initiative that will allow the confiscation of assets of drug trafficking groups as a vital means for confronting the transnational criminal organizations that operate in the Western Hemisphere. The initiative was debated during the 50th Ordinary Session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission (CICAD), an organ of the OAS. The meeting was held in Argentina between November 2 and November 4.
During the session CICAD member countries reported that they are using the assets confiscated from illegal drug businesses in order to finance programs that are designed to respond to the issue of illegal trafficking, strengthen agencies responsible for ensuring compliance with the law, and also developed new treatments for recovery and rehabilitation of patients addicted to drugs.
Moreover, based on studies presented on the matter, several countries emphasized that in finding the solution to the problem of violence and drugs, it is important to enhance attempts to reduce demand. All the countries of the hemisphere agreed that a vision for public health is crucial for the completion of the mandates adopted in the Drug Hemispheric Strategy last year.
During the meeting the Commission agreed to expand some of its principal and most innovative programs to other regions, such as Central America and the Caribbean. The project for the establishment of Treatment Courts under Judicial Supervision was highlighted. These courts, which seek to improve the quality of treatment to drug addicts, received decided support from the Member States, who requested the OAS that it implement them in their territories. Furthermore, the countries highlighted the use of scientific evidence produced in the Inter-American Drug Observatory as a pillar for the establishment of public policies in the field, and they requested the Executive Secretariat of CICAD to continue working for the strengthening of National Systems of Information.
OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, during the meeting, urged countries of the region “to continue working on the development and implementation” of the Hemispheric Antidrug Strategy and its Plan of Action, approved in the last two years, and highlighted the CICAD’s Multilateral Evaluation Mechanism as “an example of modern multilateralism.”
The OAS Secretary for Multidimensional Security, Adam Blackwell, said that the “ties between drugs, crime, violence and weapons are evident and demand greater coordination between the countries of the region to be able to face them from an integral and multilateral approach.” Ambassador Blackwell added that “drug demand reduction through education” will be one of CICAD’s working pillars in the next few years.
For his part, the Executive Secretary of CICAD, Paul Simons, highlighted the impact that solidarity has had in the countries of the Americas on the issue of drugs. “We are implementing a new hemispheric strategy on drugs focused on these new subjects, such as participation of civil society, the development of policies based on evidence, the recognition of drug dependence as a chronic and recurrent illness, the best use of resources, and attention to the needs of at-risk groups. All these subjects were discussed,” added Ambassador Simons.
Ambassador Simons also emphasized “the efforts by Drug Observatories in the hemisphere to contribute to anti-drug strategies based on scientific evidence.” Furthermore, the head of CICAD thanked the Government of the Republic of Argentina for all the support provided in the organization of the event and to the other delegations from the hemisphere for their participation.
CICAD members elected José Ramón Granero, of Argentina, and Mauricio Boraschi, of Costa Rica, by acclamation, as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, for the next twelve months. Granero highlighted that “the CICAD meeting is an honor to our country,” added that “the fight to reduce addictions has to be based on measures for social inclusion and poverty reduction,” and mentioned that the fight against drug trafficking must be doubled.
Doctor Granero also mentioned three axes in the strategy for reducing drug consumption: “it is an issue that must be addressed by health organizations, always must be kept under the umbrella of human rights, and any measure taken in this field must be based on scientific evidence, an axis impossible to ignore in drug policies.”
The event featured the participation of 22 Member States of the Organization, 21 observer countries and 216 assistants