Bolivia renounces UN anti-drug convention over coca leaf controversy
The Telegraph (UK), 1 July 2011

UN HEADQUARTERS, NEW YORK: Bolivia’s government has denounced the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs because it classifies coca leaf as an illegal drug. Bolivian officials contend that coca leaf in its natural form is not a narcotic and forms an age-old part of Andean culture. Coca is a mild stimulant with high religious and social value in the Andean region. While it fights hunger and alleviates altitude sickness, it is also the raw material of cocaine. The withdrawal will enter into effect on 1 January 2012. At that time, Bolivia will re-accede to the Convention with a reservation on the coca leaf and its traditional uses. Bolivia’s step – the first of its kind in the history of the UN drug control treaties – comes after the rejection earlier this year of its proposal to delete the Single Convention’s obligation that “coca leaf chewing must be abolished” (article 49). A number of countries, including the United States, objected. The International Narcotics Control Board, an independent UN body, voiced regret at the decision, noting that “while this step by Bolivia may be in line with the letter of the convention, such action is contrary to the convention’s spirit.” Read the article … Read a UN News Centre release, 5 July 2011 … Read a release of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy, 1 July 2011 …

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