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Drug laws violate Bill of Rights

Drug laws violate Bill of Rights


The Misuse of Drugs Act breaches fundamental human rights, The Cannabis Party says.

A senior United Nations official said last year that "the criminalisation of possession and use has been shown to cause significant obstacles to the right to health".

Now New Zealand's Attorney-General Hon Christopher Finlayson has admitted that New Zealand's drug laws were never assessed against the Bill of Rights Act.

"The Attorney-General reports to Parliament under section 7 New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 when he considers a Bill appears to be inconsistent with the Bill of Rights. The Misuse of Drugs Act was passed before the passage of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 and therefore never received consideration under section 7 of the latter Act," his office said.

"The Attorney-General has no ability to review existing Acts under section 7 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act."

According to the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Flavia Pansieri, the global drug problem violates human rights in five key areas – the right to health, the rights relating to criminal justice and discrimination, the rights of the child and the rights of indigenous peoples.

“It is clear that the world’s drug problem impacts the enjoyment of a wide range of human rights, often resulting in serious violations,” she said.

“It is, nevertheless, a positive development that human rights are increasingly being taken into account in the preparations for the General Assembly’s Special Session on the world drug problem to be held in April 2016,” she said.

The Cannabis Party are calling on New Zealand's representative to support legal cannabis at UNGASS 2016.

ENDS

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