President of the INCB, firstname.lastname@example.org
President of UNESCO, email@example.com
President of OHCHR, firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently a report was published on the official website of the INCB concerning the world situation on drugs in 2010. In point 284 of this report it is explained that a series of plants and herbal preparations such as Ayahuasca and the botanicals Iboga, Peyote, Psilocybin mushrooms, etc. 'are not currently controlled under the 1971 Convention or under the 1988 Convention.' In point 286 'The Board notes increased interest in the recreational use of such plant materials.' to follow in 287 'The Board notes that, in view of the health risks associated with the abuse of such plant material (...) The Board recommends that Governments should consider controlling such plant material at the national level where necessary.'
The plants which the INCB invites to place under national control by the governments are generally botanicals, and above all, belong to the cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples. Very rarely has abusive use of these herbal preparations been detected and the references in the scientific literature conclude that the health risk associated with the consumption of e.g. Ayahuasca is very limited, and not in line with the exaggerations mentioned in the report.
The INCB, advising the control of these plants in an indiscriminate manner to the member states of the UN is inviting the criminalization of many people who have not committed any crime. This is the situation of the last weeks in Spain, where at least four citizens have been detained for having received Ayahuasca by post, and the judges understand that Ayahuasca is a form of elaboration of DMT, an internationally controlled substance since 1971. However, because Ayahuasca is not under international control, as explained by the INCB in its 2010 report, and because Spain doesn't have a specific legislation of Ayahuasca, the arrests are violating international law according to the conventions. Other arrests have occurred recently in Peru, where Ayahuasca is recognized as cultural heritage, as well as other countries such as the US and Belgium. In the US more arrests have occurred for the traditional use of Iboga, another plant which is not under international control.
The INCB advises that the preparation and ritual use of these plants be controlled by the governments (the INCB possibly does not include these plants in the lists of controlled substances because this would be in contradiction with the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People of the UN, where it explicitly recognizes the rights of the indigenous people for the use of their traditional plants). Due to the fact that such ritual use of these plants belongs to the cultural trans-generational heritage of humanity, we ask that:
- the INCB rectifies its recommendation directed towards the member states of the UN, as found in point 287 of the 2010 annual report of the INCB, and after rectification to inform the political representatives of the associated countries and their respective agencies responsible for the control of narcotics of these corrections.
- the UN recognizes the empirical use of these botanical species as well as the important cultural value of the oral transmission of its ritual preparation, as this knowledge implies a trans-generational cultural heritage; therefore, we solicit to the UN to protect these ethnobotanical materials and the related trans-cultural practices by considering them World Heritage with the objective to preserve them from eradication.
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Labels: Ayahuasca, Indigenous People, International Narcotics Control Board, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Secretary-General of the United Nations, UNESCO, United Nations