Growing and Production of Drugs: Violator of...
On 23 October 2016, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) published a report the growth of poppies have risen from 183 thousand hectares to 201 thousand, and shows a ten percent increase compared to the previous year, and the growing of opium has increased by 43 percent reaching 4800 tonnes in that year.
While giving this news the UNODC added that Afghanistan produces 90 percent of the opium population in the world, and Helmand Province in the south of the country has the highest drugs production rate. According to this report, in 2016, farmers resisted the efforts to eliminate drugs, and carried out direct attacks against special operations teams, to an extent that in drugs destruction operations 8 people were left dead and 7 others injured, and the success level of these operations dropped by 90 percent compared to the previous year.
Causes in the increase in the growing of opium
- One of the main reasons is the huge economic profit that growing these plants bring, and the will of farmers who are mostly suffering from poverty, and government officials too changes to a weakening process.
- Administrative corruption and the lack of the fighting spirit among government officials can also add fuel to this problem, because the officials themselves resort to taking bribes to turn a blind eye on the farmers’ activities.
- The existence of insecurity and conflict which has created the basis for trafficking without fear and concern for traffickers.
- The lack of an alternative with equal support can be a factor in the continuation of the production of drugs, meaning that due to big profit margins, the farmers do not get impetus to replace the growing of opium with other plants, and even the government’s efforts to get farmers to grow saffron in regions that opium is grown, have failed.
- The profit that foreigners in Afghanistan make is another factor in the increase in the growing of opium. According to political-cultural expert and founding member of the Kosar Scientific-Cultural Foundation, Seyed Vahid Zohoori Hosseini, foreign governments have had the excuse to be in Afghanistan on the pretext of the fight against terror, but in the last 13 years they have exploited Afghanistan geographically for the needs of European and NATO member countries so that the production of drugs be directly conducted without any prevention by these same countries in Afghanistan. Also plants are shipped to Europe and America for medical needs, while their own countries will be immune to the secondary problems of this subject.
The effects of the growing of opium in Afghanistan on Iran
Iran which geographically is the go-between of Afghanistan and Europe, can be vulnerable to serious and numerous damages which can undermine the human and citizen’s rights of the people. The effects of the production and trafficking of drugs, is visible in the rise in various crimes and acts of violence, followed by punishments such as capital punishment, damaging the economic infrastructures, spread of poverty, obstacles in the way of developments, mental and physical injuries to individuals and ultimately violation of human rights.
Iran has always been the biggest confiscator of drugs, and has severe prohibitions in place against drugs legally and practically. Any form of growing and production, storage, transportation, buying, distribution, hiding and transit of drugs is prohibited in Iran, and have repercussions such as cash fines to capital punishment. The total number of individuals and family members in Iran today, who are suffering from drugs in one way or another exceeds 12 million. A look at the destructive effects of this phenomenon on the violation of human rights, familiarises us to its dimensions better.
According to research, addiction is the number one social damage in Iran:
- There’s a meaningful link between trafficking and drugs use with committing of other crimes and social disturbances, various types of crimes such as murder, assault and battery, kidnapping, human trafficking and organised crime are the effects of trafficking and the use of drugs. The higher the crime rates in society, the higher violence and lower security becomes, and the rights and freedoms of citizens become limited or violated. In the last 27 years more than 3750 officials and agents have been killed in the fight against drugs and confrontations with traffickers in Iran, and 12 thousand have been maimed and disabled.1 Approximately 50 percent of the prison population of the country are incarcerated on drugs related crimes. More than 400 thousand addicts are in detoxification centres in the country; and 3600 extremely dangerous schoolchildren addicts have been identified in the country’s schools.
- The use of drugs by addicts and their not observing hygiene, i.e. sharing contaminated syringes are the root cause of various types of contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, hepatitis and so on, among themselves and their family members.
- Rise in unemployment, rise in burglaries to provide the costs of getting drugs, domestic violence, isolation from society, severe impotence and infertility, are all other negative effects that afflict society.
Also economic damages can be pointed out which can at macro and micro levels reduce the economic functionality of society, and have negative effects on the economic rights of citizens:
- The preparation of drugs and their trafficking, inflict heavy costs for the traffickers which cause capital not to be used for legitimate and profitable jobs.
- It also inflicts damages to the national economy, because the money made from is dirty and it must be laundered, which is a vast process the assessment of which is very difficult. Thus, the government’s efforts in trying to manage the country’s economy is faced with serious difficulties, and the increase in money laundering necessitates the reduction in the demand for money from legitimate credible bank and inflation is the activities of the banks.
- Since criminal activities result in a move in the direction of income from long term investments to dangerous and risky short term investments in the trade sector, tax evasion becomes very common in this sector and has damaging effects on long term national long term planning, and will increase economic instability.
- The costs that the government pays to fight this problem (prisons and detox centres) is also at a noticeable level.
The negative effects of addiction and trafficking of drugs also includes legal dimensions:
- Since the punishment for most crimes related to drugs is capital punishment, with the increase in production levels, trafficking, transportation and distribution of drugs, the number of executions also increase, to an extent that nearly 80 percent of executions in Iran are drugs related; and according to the Minister of Justice, have not produced results to-date.
It must be explained that the amendment draft bill to capital punishment in the Fight Against Drugs Act was presented to the Parliament in 2015 and is a commendable move. The draft proposes that capital punishment be reduced in the fight against drugs to life sentence, with the exception to armed drug trafficking. In the event of the passing of this draft, a large number of executions in Iran will be commuted.
- According to courts statistics, 50 percent of divorces are due to the drug addiction of one or two of the partners, which can itself be the basis to create many social problems and damages, also subsequently reduce the enthusiasm of the addict to rehabilitate and amend.
At the end it must be said that the drugs phenomenon is a global issue, and therefore for the reduction of damages assistance must be taken from international cooperation and help. Afghanistan and many its neighbouring countries are weak on resources, and also they have other problems and priorities in their countries, therefore there is a serious need for the moral and material assistance of developed countries in this regard.
Iran has always been one of the forerunning countries in the fight against drugs and through various measures it tries to control and restrict trafficking and the use of drugs, and as a result has been criticised by the international community. Of course it is recommended that a review of the types of punishments available be placed in the parliament’s working agenda, and the volume and cases of executions for drugs crimes be reformed in order to have further practicality in view of the realities of today’s society.
It is also better to disseminate information from childhood in schools, so that a key role is played in prevention. The creation of job opportunities can also reduce the level of youths turning towards drugs.
It is also apt that towards the reduction of supply and demand of drugs, to cooperate closely with other countries and drugs related issues be raised in discourses regarding national and international security and development.2
MA in Human Rights
1.Investigation regarding article 10 of the general policies in the fight against drugs, Office of Research and Training of the Office of Combat against Drugs, Spring 2015, the Combat against Drugs website.
2.For further information see the 2016 Global Report on Drugs: https://www.unodc.org/doc/wdr2016/WORLD_DRUG_REPORT_2016_web.pdf