Civil Society Organizations Call for New Security Model, Demilitarization, Human Rights

(Antigua, June 6) More than 160 civil society organizations representing hundreds of thousands of citizens in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua and the United States, sent an open letter to the OAS General Assembly today calling for alternatives to the war on drugs that guarantee respect for human rights.

Our organizations have documented an alarming increase in violence and human rights violations. While we recognize that transnational crime and drug-trafficking play a role in this violence, we call on our governments to acknowledge that failed security policies that have militarized citizen security have only exacerbated the problem, and are directly contributing to increased human suffering in the region,” the letter states.

Today regional leaders will close the XLIII General Assembly of the Organization of American States with a call to “seek improved policies in the fight against the drug problem in the Americas.”

The discussion follows the recent OAS report on the issue that notes that the current military/police strategies have not been sufficiently flexible to take into account new situations and calls for evaluating the legalization of marijuana.

The letter, originally sent to regional leaders gathering at the Central American meeting last month, calls on the U.S. government, the major proponent of the military/police model in the region through its security aid, to end military foreign aid for the drug war and focus on domestic efforts, including cracking down on money-laundering and arms smuggling and ending prohibitionist policies.

The civil society organizations of human rights defenders, women, farmers and professionals asked their governments to:

“Propose a new model for security cooperation that provides alternatives to the ongoing war on drugs, such as regulation rather than prohibition, strong regional anti-money laundering efforts, and withdrawal of the armed forces from domestic law enforcement.”

You can see the whole letter with all the signers here.

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