UNGASS 2016 and the Heemskerk Declaration
In January 2016… a group of approximately 60 farmers and farmers’ representatives in the Netherlands for the Global Forum of Producers of Prohibited Plants (GFPPP), facilitating a discussion of their views on and experiences with illicit crop control policies. The voices of affected communities involved in the cultivation of coca leaf, opium poppy and cannabis plants are lacking in the global debate on drug policy reform in general and were at risk of being excluded from the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) 2016 on The World Drug Problem. The outcome of the deliberations at the GFPPP, titled the “Heemskerk Declaration”, was presented to the UN through the Civil Society Task Force, and by some representatives of the Forum present at the UNGASS in New York, between the 19th and 21st of April 2016.
Governments and the international community should recognize the historical character of the relationships between plants, humans, communities, and cultures, and States should recognize these plants declared as “illicit” as the natural and cultural heritage of humanity. In many countries where such plants are cultivated, there are traditional and cultural uses, although the differences between plants, countries, and regions of origin have to be taken into account. We demand respect for our community’s right to cultivate plants to satisfy the uses previously mentioned; persons should not be criminalized and/or penalized for cultivating such plants. In all cases, other beneficial uses of plants should be recognized whether in their natural state or in the derivative form for industrial and/or commercial use. Native peoples and other producers of plants declared to be illicit have a preferential right to collective ownership and their use. We appeal for the appropriation of knowledge of these plants and their use by producers and consumers. We producers should raise public awareness through all possible channels and influence the formulation of public policies concerning the use of these plants.
Original Article (WPLA):
UNGASS 2016 and the Heemskerk Declaration : Politics for the 99%
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