Pubdate: Wed, 20 Apr 2016
Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)
Copyright: 2016 Orlando Sentinel
Note: Rarely prints out-of-state LTEs.


UNITED NATIONS - The first U.N. special session to address global 
drug policy in nearly 20 years bristled with tension Tuesday over the 
use of the death penalty for drug-related offenses, as countries 
wrestled over whether to emphasize criminalization and punishment or 
health and human rights.

The outcome document adopted by member states included no criticism 
of the death penalty, saying only that countries should ensure that 
punishments are "proportionate" with the crimes.

"Disproportional penalties create vicious cycles of marginalization 
and further crime," Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto told the 
gathering. He also called for the decriminalization of marijuana for 
medical and scientific purposes and said the international 
community's responses to drug issues are "frankly, insufficient."

He said Mexico in the coming days would announce specific drug 
policies with an emphasis on health and human rights.

Indonesia, which last year executed 14 people, mostly foreigners, 
convicted of drug-related crimes amid an international outcry, 
defended its stance Tuesday, saying the death penalty is not 
prohibited under international law.

China, which along with countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran 
carries out executions for drug offenses, signaled little flexibility 
on its approach.

"Any form of legalization of narcotics should be resolutely opposed," 
Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun told the gathering.

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