Press advisory – Six Former Presidents, Richard Branson and Other World Leaders: Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic


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Press advisory – Six Former Presidents, Richard Branson and Other World Leaders: Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

June 26, 2012

Landmark Report Released in Advance of  2012 World AIDS Conference in Washington, DC

Global Commission Calls for Drug Decriminalization and Expansion of Proven, Cost-Effective Solutions to Reduce HIV/AIDS – Including Sterile Syringe Access, Safer Injection Facilities, and Prescription Heroin Programs

While Some Countries Have Virtually Eliminated Drug-Related HIV Transmissions, Drug War Policies in U.S., Russia, Thailand and China Cause Millions of Needless Infections and AIDS Deaths

On June 26, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release a groundbreaking report at a press conference in London followed by a worldwide teleconference. The report describes how the global war on drugs is driving the HIV pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. It condemns the drug war as a failure and recommends immediate, major reforms of the global drug prohibition regime to halt the spread of HIV infection and other drug war harms.

The report is being released in advance of the International AIDS Conference, the world’s largest gathering of HIV/AIDS experts. It will be held in the U. S. for the first time in 22 years this July 22-27, in Washington DC.

This is the second report published by the Global Commission. Its first report, released in June 2011, generated unprecedented media coverage and catalyzed international debate about the urgent need for fundamental reforms of the global drug prohibition regime. The Global Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders to ever call for such far-reaching changes – including alternatives to incarceration, greater emphasis on public health approaches to drug use, decriminalization, and experiments in legal regulation.

Press Conference:

When: Tuesday, June 26 at noon BST/ London Time

Where:  IQ Studios, Millbank, London

There will be a feed for  television via the BT Tower, line identifier: MillbankV3 available of the press conference. Any technical questions about this should be directed to IQ Studios, 4 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA (Phone: +44 207 7993 655 Email: info@iqstudios.co.uk)

Teleconference: 

When: Tuesday, June 26, at 4pm BST/ London Time (11am NY/US East Coast Time)

How To Call-In:

USA: 1-800-311-9402 (Password: AIDS REPORT)

From Outside the USA: 1-334-323-7224 (Password: AIDS REPORT)


Commission Members (those italicized will be speaking at the press conference and/or teleconference):

Aleksander Kwasniewski

Former President of Poland

Asma Jahangir

Human rights activist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan

César Gaviria

Former President of Colômbia

Ernesto Zedillo

Former President of Mexico

Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Former President of Brazil (chair)

George Papandreou

Former Prime Minister of Greece

George Shultz

Former Secretary of State, United States (honorary chair)

Javier Solana

Former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain

John Whitehead

Banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial, United States

Louise Arbour

Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Crisis Group, Canada

Maria Cattaui

Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland

Marion Caspers-Merk

Former State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Health, Germany

Mario Vargas Llosa

Writer and public intellectual, Peru

Michel Kazatchkine

Professor of medicine, former Executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Paul Volcker

Former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board, US

Pavel Bém

Former Mayor of Prague, member of the Parliament, Czech Republic

Ricardo Lagos

Former president of Chile

Richard Branson

Entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, cofounder of The Elders, United Kingdom

Ruth Dreifuss

Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs

Thorvald Stoltenberg

Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway

Please call Tony Newman (646-335-5384 or  tnewman@drugpolicy.org) Niamh Eastwood (+44 (0) 7900002632 or niamh@release.org.uk) or Rupert George (Rupert@release.org.uk) to request an EMBARGOED copy of the press release and executive summary. The embargo will be lifted on June 26 at 12:01 am BST.