71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly
Item 107: International Drug Control
H. E. Dr. A. Rohan Perera, Ambassador and
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
06 October 2016
The Delegation of Sri Lanka associates itself with the statement made by Thailand on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
We also take note of the report submitted by the Secretary General under this agenda item.
One of the key events that took place here in the UN last April was the convening of a Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem. This Session brought together the political leadership and the experts to agree on a Political Declaration and an Action Plan on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. This Action Plan defined action to be taken by Member States as well as goals to be achieved by 2019.
His Excellency Maithreepala Sirisena, the President of Sri Lanka while addressing the General Assembly last week, underlined that the drug problem is a serious threat faced by most countries in the world including Sri Lanka. If I may quote from his speech;
“the problem of drugs poses a serious threat to human society itself, preying on school-going children and causing much destruction to communities I urge the General Assembly of the United Nations to look at developing a strong international framework that is more effective than existing measures that are in place, to eradicate the drug menace that has afflicted our societies and threaten the younger generation, especially children in schools. Such a programme must include plans and efforts to combat this menace at national level in all countries, and at international level”
Therefore Mr. Chairman, Sri Lanka views the agreement reached on an Action Plan to Counter the World Drug Problem as a laudable achievement and an ambitious way forward, in dealing with a major problem which is persistent throughout the world.
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) of Sri Lanka has pertinently pointed out that, the challenge before Sri Lanka is not the production of drugs, but in combating trafficking. There is substantial evidence to prove that Sri Lanka has been used as a trans-shipment destination by international drug traffickers. Indeed, some portion of these drugs will invariably go to the local market. Heroin consumption has also become a major problem in Sri Lanka, as evidenced by the increased amount of seizures of the drug from users themselves. Incidence of abuse of other psychotropic substances has been minimal, but still considered sufficiently severe for the Ministry of Health to take steps to control and monitor these substances.
The Government of Sri Lanka is fully conscious of its international obligations, particularly those stemming from the Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs of 1961, Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 which have been subscribed to by Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka also steered the negotiations on the SAARC Regional Convention on Narcotic Drugs and Psychtropic Drugs and Substances and is a party to the SAARC Convention Narcotic Drugs. This comprehensive legal framework enacted at the domestic level gives effect to Sri Lanka’s treaty obligations under international and regional Conventions. The revised National Policy on drug control implemented in 2005 also complements to these obligations.
Sri Lanka, through the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, and other government and non-governmental organizations have taken measures to setup residential care treatment and rehabilitation services for drug dependents, with compulsory facilities set up under the provisions of the Drug Dependents Act No. 54, 2007.
The GoSL has taken initial steps to establish “A Center for Sharing Intelligence on Drug Trafficking” to empower national institutions for accurate information dissemination in South Asian and South East Asian regions.
Further, the GoSL provides treatment and rehabilitation services to those who abuse drugs using accepted screening and assessment methodologies implemented by the government, non-governmental and private institutions in the country. We have adopted the requisite legislation on treatment of drug offenders which, inter-alia, empowers our judicial authorities to prescribe treatment to offenders in State or recognized private institutions, in lieu of punishment.
The overall goal of the government in relation to the drug problem is an ambitious one, to reduce the drug supply and drug use to minimum levels by 2020. The government will adopt a broader approach to drug abuse control within the context of human development, focusing particularly on the links between drug abuse, poverty reduction, crime prevention and improving health. Sri Lanka is working very closely with the United Nations Office on Drug Control (UNODC), other UN entities and civil society in combating the drug related problems in the country.
Given the international dimension of the drug problem and its inextricable linkage with international terrorist and criminal networks, no State can combat this problem, alone. It requires enhanced cooperation and coordination amongst states and international organizations.
Therefore, in conclusion I wish to assure you Mme. Chairperson, that Sri Lanka stands committed to extend our fullest cooperation to all international efforts to combat the world drug problem, a problem which has no boarders, which threatens to destabilize all our societies.
I thank you, Mme. Chairperson,.