BOLIVIA: Congress approves law to withdraw from drugs convention

Posted on | juli 1, 2011 | No Comments

The Plurinational Legislative Assembly has approved a law which will withdraw Bolivia from the 1961 Vienna Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The law stipulates that Bolivia will re-join the convention in January 2012 with a reservation concerning sections which prohibit traditional uses of the coca leaf.

Foreign minister David Choquehuanca attended the plenary session of the chamber of deputies on 22 June to explain the government initiative. He had previously been on an international tour to lobby for an amendment to remove articles in the convention that prohibit the cultural practice of coca chewing, but this was blocked by objections from a group of 18 countries including the UK and USA.

Choquehaunca stressed that the legislative measure was to protect cultural practices and traditional uses of coca, bringing Bolivia’s international obligations into line with the 2009 constitution, which recognises the coca leaf as part of Bolivia’s cultural heritage. He also emphasised the fact that withdrawal from the convention would not affect Bolivia’s continuing efforts to fight against illegal drug production and trafficking.

The rules around international treaties mean that it is necessary to withdraw from the convention first in order to register a reservation such as that proposed by Bolivia. Bolivia lodged a similar reservation, abstaining from sections prohibiting licit consumption of coca, when it joined another international drug convention: the 1988 United Nations Convention against the Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

AUTHOR: Bolivia Information Forum
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