UN to call on governments around the world to decriminalise all drugs, says Richard Branson

The British entrepreneur appears to have released details of an embargoed UN report - in case they change their minds

Adam Withnall
Monday 19 October 2015 13:08 BST
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Branson's intervention appears to be designed to prevent the UN from changing its mind
Branson's intervention appears to be designed to prevent the UN from changing its mind (AFP)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

The UN may be about to call on the governments of all countries to end the "war on drugs" and decriminalise the use and possession of all illegal substances.

In an extraordinary post on his Virgin website, Richard Branson said he had been showed a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) which dramatically changed the organisation's stance on drug control.

He said the "as-yet unreleased statement" had been sent to some of the world's media under embargo - but that he has gone public with it early for fear the UN will "bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move".

The UN was preparing to declare "unequivocally that criminalisation is harmful unnecessary and disproportionate", Branson wrote. A document changing the UN stance on drug control was supposed to be released at a conference in Malaysia on Sunday, he said, but that has now been delayed.

20 tonnes of drugs destroyed

"As I'm writing this I am hearing that at least one government is putting an inordinate amount of pressure on the UNODC," he said. "Let us hope the UNODC, a global organisation that is part of the UN and supposed to do what is right for the people of the world, does not do a remarkable volte-face at the last possible moment and bow to pressure by not going ahead with this important move. The war on drugs has done too much damage to too many people already."

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