Human Rights and Drug Policy

Course Status: 
CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Academic Program: 
Master of Laws in Human Rights
Academic Program: 
Master of Arts in Human Rights
Sejal Parmar
OSF Staff

This course looks at the interplay of human rights and policymaking by focussing on the role of human rights in policymaking on drugs from a harm reduction perspective. The course examines how human rights law, principles and values intersect with and influence the development of policy and law concerning drugs at the national and international levels. While the course hones in on human rights considerations, and adopts a harm reduction perspective, it reflects drug policy as a particularly complex area of public policy that is informed by a range of international legal instruments, increasingly diverse national legislation, economic interests and political factors. The course examines the evolution of approaches to the formulation and implementation of drug policy, what a “human rights approach” or “approaches” to drug policy look like in practice and the roles and responsibilities of key actors, at the national and international levels. Following an innovative design, the course is taught by a selection of academic and practising experts in relevant fields, and takes a critical, interdisciplinary and contextual approach to this highly topical subject. Selected topics include: the role of human rights in policy making; the UN human rights system and drug policy; constitutional approaches to drug policy; drug policy and criminal justice; an assessment of selected national drug policies against human rights criteria; drug policy and human rights in drug producing countries; the role of civil society organizations in the protection of human rights of people who use drugs and communities affected by the application of drug policies.