Damon Barrett

Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy

Damon Barrett is a co-founder and Director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy and a Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Centre, University of Essex. He is researching a PhD on international law and drug control at Stockholm University. Views expressed here are his own.
Indonesia's Executions: Drugs Diplomacy in a Diplomatic

Indonesia's Executions: Drugs Diplomacy in a Diplomatic Crisis?

The ambassador of Indonesia will make his allotted intervention at the beginning of the Commission meeting with the usual self-congratulatory script that most governments will follow. So it always proceeds. But it will be all the more difficult to stomach this year. It takes just one representative to stand up and walk out to make a diplomatic statement far greater than any consensus resolution.
26/02/2015 12:19 GMT
Drug Use Is Not a Sustainable Development Issue - The War on Drugs Certainly

Drug Use Is Not a Sustainable Development Issue - The War on Drugs Certainly Is

If drugs issues are to be included in the SDG targets then ideas must come from official, considered sources, including NGO consultations. They must be based on what is really happening, and real solutions, not the same discredited fantasies of the past. Drug use is not a sustainable development issue. The war on drugs certainly is.
27/05/2014 13:03 BST
War in Reverse: Drugs, Consensus and

War in Reverse: Drugs, Consensus and Killing

Today the fighting is as intense as it has ever been but it is right at this moment that the war on drugs may be coming to an end. What we are seeing now at the UN in Vienna, over half a century since the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs was adopted, is the breakdown of the all-important consensus.
14/03/2014 13:31 GMT
Time to Face Up to One of the Key Human Rights Challenges of Our

Time to Face Up to One of the Key Human Rights Challenges of Our Time

At the 2016 summit human rights must be central to any evaluation of the drug control system. As usual many states will resist and will claim that human rights are not relevant to drug control. This is false. They will claim that this 'politicises' a technical issue. It's already political (and not very technical because of that).
10/12/2013 12:38 GMT
Drug Testing University Students Would Be a Bad

Drug Testing University Students Would Be a Bad Move

Neuroscientist Professor Barbara Sahakian is concerned about university students using Ritalin and other 'smart drugs' (a daft label) to improve concentration. Many, myself included, share that concern. It clearly shows the stresses and pressures students are under, likely made worse by the knowledge that the job sector is worse than it has been for a long time.
05/07/2013 11:16 BST
Marijuana legalisation: Sometimes Violations of International Law Are Cause for

Marijuana legalisation: Sometimes Violations of International Law Are Cause for Celebration

Ending the war on drugs, moreover, will be a victory for international human rights law. It will be a victory for international law itself - for environmental law, anti-corruption agreements, international security, for the achievement of international development agreements and improved health - all of which have been damaged by decades of prohibition. Colorado and Washington have taken us one step closer. For that we should all celebrate.
08/11/2012 15:08 GMT
Why a New UN Resolution on 'Legal Highs'

Why a New UN Resolution on 'Legal Highs' Matters

The <em>Guardian</em>/<em>Mixmag</em> drugs survey, published this week, highlighted the fact that there are many people out there using drugs without significant health harms. Among them are 'legal highs' or, more accurately, 'new psychoactive substances'.
19/03/2012 14:20 GMT
Harm Reduction International: Questions for leaders on World AIDS

Harm Reduction International: Questions for leaders on World AIDS Day

This 1 December, as with every other year, will see political speeches and statements from high level UN officials and others in positions of power and influence reaffirming their commitment to stopping HIV in its tracks, and sending out messages of hope and how much we've achieved.
30/11/2011 17:27 GMT
Blaming Cocaine Users Dodges Policy

Blaming Cocaine Users Dodges Policy Responses

Is demand for cocaine here in the UK and elsewhere contributing to violence and environmental damage in Colombia? Yes. It is nonsensical to deny this. We are all responsible for our own actions. That prohibition makes things vastly worse says nothing about a personal choice made in the knowledge of the damage the drug trade inflicts today.
22/11/2011 16:12 GMT