Breaking the taboo

Morgan Freeman - Breaking the taboo

Breaking the tabooLet us break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now. Sign the petition

Breaking the Taboo is a global grass-roots campaign website against the War on Drugs, run by the Beckley Foundation in association with The Global Commission on Drug Policy, Virgin Unite, Avaaz and Sundog Pictures. The Mission Statement of the campaign is the Beckley Foundation Public Letter calling for a new approach to the War on Drugs, signed by nine Presidents, twelve Nobel prize winners, and many other world figures. The site hosts a coalition of international NGOs, united in their belief that the War on Drugs has failed and that global drug policy can and must be reformed. An Avaaz petition is hosted on the site, which will be presented to the UN. We hope that by collecting together so many voices calling for change, we will finally be able to persuade governments and lawmakers into adopting a humane and rational approach to drugs.

Mission Statement:

The global war on drugs has failed. It is time for a new approach.

We call on Governments and Parliaments to recognise that:

Fifty years after the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was launched, the global war on drugs has failed, and has had many unintended and devastating consequences worldwide.

Use of the major controlled drugs has risen, and supply is cheaper and more available than ever before. The UN conservatively estimates that there are now over 250 million drug users worldwide.

Illicit drugs are now the third most valuable industry in the world, after food and oil, all in the control of criminals. Fighting the war on drugs costs the world’s taxpayers incalculable billions each year. Millions of people are in prison worldwide for drug-related offences, mostly personal users and small-time dealers.

Corruption amongst law-enforcers and politicians, especially in producer and transit countries, has spread as never before, endangering democracy and civil society. Stability, security and development are threatened by the fallout from the war on drugs, as are human rights. Tens of thousands of people die in the drug war each year.

The drug-free world so confidently predicted by supporters of the war on drugs is further than ever from attainment.The policies of prohibition create more harms than they prevent. We must seriously consider shifting resources away from criminalising tens of millions of otherwise law abiding citizens, and move towards an approach based on health, harm-reduction, cost-effectiveness and respect for human rights.

Evidence consistently shows that these health-based approaches deliver better results than criminalisation. Improving our drug policies is one of the key policy challenges of our time. It is time for world leaders to fundamentally review their strategies in response to the drug phenomenon.

At the root of current policies lies the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. It is time to re-examine this treaty, which imposes a “one-size-fits-all” solution, in order to allow individual countries the freedom to explore drug policies that better suit their domestic needs.

As the production, demand and use of drugs cannot be eradicated, new ways must be found to minimise harms, and new policies, based on scientific evidence, must be explored.

Let us break the taboo on debate and reform. The time for action is now.

Yours faithfully,

President Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia

President Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala

President César Gaviria, Former President of Colombia

President Lech Wałęsa, Former President of Poland, Nobel Prize winner

President Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Former President of Poland

President Jimmy Carter, Former President of the United States of America

President Fernando H. Cardoso, Former President of Brazil

President Ruth Dreifuss, Former President of Switzerland

President Vincente Fox, Former President of Mexico

Sir Richard Branson, Entrepreneur and Founder of the Virgin Group

Bernardo Bertolucci, Oscar-winning Film Director

Carlos Fuentes, Novelist and essayist

Sean Parker, Founding President of Facebook, Director of Spotify

Thorvald Stoltenberg, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs (Norway) and UN High Commissioner for Refugees

Asma Jahangir, Former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Execution

Louise Arbour, CC, GOQ, Former UN High-Commissioner for Human Rights

Professor Sir Anthony Leggett, Physicist, Nobel Prize winner

Dr. Kary Mullis, Chemist, Nobel Prize winner

Maria Cattaui, Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce

Wisława Szymborska, Poet, Nobel Prize winner

Professor Sir Harold Kroto, Chemist, Nobel Prize winner

Professor Sir Harold Kroto, Chemist, Nobel Prize winner

Gilberto Gil, Musician, former Minister of Culture, Brazil

Professor Thomas C. Schelling, Economist, Nobel Prize winner

Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, Economist, Nobel Prize winner

Professor Niall Ferguson, Professor of History at Harvard University

Professor Colin Blakemore, Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Oxford and University of Warwick

Professor David Nutt, Former Chair of the Advisory Council for the Misuse of Drugs

Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, Professor of Economics at Cambridge

Dr. Julian Huppert, MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform

Dr. Muhammed Abdul Bari, MBE, Former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain

Trudie Styler, Actress and producer

Professor Peter Singer, Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University

Lord Mancroft, Chair of the Drug and Alcohol Foundation

Professor A. C. Grayling, Master of the New College of the Humanities

General Lord Ramsbotham, Former HM Chief Inspector of Prisons

Lord MacDonald, QC, Former Head of the Crown Prosecution Service

Sir Peregrine Worsthorne, Former Editor of The Sunday Telegraph

Tom Brake, MP, Co-chair of the Lib Dem Home Affairs, Justice and Equalities Parliamentary Policy Committee

Professor Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT

George P. Schultz, Former US Secretary of State

Yoko Ono, Musician and artist

Mario Vargas Llosa, Writer, Nobel Prize winner

Jaswant Singh, Former Minister of Defence, of Finance, and for External Affairs, India

Sting,  Musician and actor

Michel Kazatchkine,  United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS

John Whitehead,  Former US Deputy Secretary of State

John Perry Barlow,  Co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Javier Solana, KOGF, KCMG,  Former EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy

Professor Kenneth Arrow,  Economist, Nobel Prize winner

Jeremy Thomas,  Film Producer

Professor John Polanyi,  Chemist, Nobel Prize winner

Pavel Bém,  Former Mayor of Prague

Dr. Jan Wiarda,  Former President of European Police Chiefs

Professor Lord Piot,  Former UN Under Secretary-General

Professor Martin L. Perl,  Physicist, Nobel Prize winner

Lord Rees, OM,  Astronomer Royal and former President of the Royal Society

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore,  Former President of the Royal College of Physicians

Professor Trevor Robbins,  Professor of Neuroscience at Cambridge

Caroline Lucas, MP,  Leader of the Green Party and MP for Brighton

Professor Jonathan Wolff,  Professor of Philosophy at UCL

Carel Edwards,  Former Head of the EU Commission’s Drug Policy Unit

Professor Robin Room,  School of Population Health, University of Melbourne

Gary Johnson,  Former Republican US Presidential Candidate

Bob Ainsworth, MP,  Former UK Secretary of State for Defence

Nicholas Green, QC,  Former Chairman of the Bar Council

Peter Lilley, MP,  Former Secretary of State for Social Security

Tom Lloyd,  Former Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire

Professor Robert Grayling,  Dean of School of Medicine, KCL

Paul Flynn, MP,  Labour MP for Newport West

Dr. Patrick Aeberhard,  Former President of Doctors of the World

Amanda Feilding,  Director of the Beckley Foundation

Author: Jeffrey Dhywood

Jeffrey Dhywood is a European-born investigative writer, lecturer and public speaker, drug policy analyst, author of "World War D – The Case against prohibitionism, roadmap to controlled re-legalization" Jeffrey Dhywood holds a degree in Mathematical logics (Model Theory). He lived 20 years in the US and is currently living in Latin America. He is also very familiar with Asia, which gives him a good grasp of the global dimension of the War on Drugs, and its global failure. His academic background and his direct experience allows him to bring common sense and sanity to an issue often mired in confusion, misconceptions and preconceptions.

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