14 April 2003

Teenagers Bring Signatures Representing 1.3 Million People Who Support the UN Conventions on Drugs

VIENNA, 14 April (UN Information Service) -- Young people from five countries came to the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna today to say: "'No' to drugs -- 'Yes' to the UN Conventions on Drugs". They handed over to Mr. Antonio Maria Costa, Executive Director, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and Ms. Patricia Olamendi, Chairperson of the Commission, signatures from over 60 countries, including 294 parliamentarians and 185 organizations, as proof of the support that the Conventions enjoy among civil society at large.

The delegates gave a round of applause to Ms. Eleanor Frisk, a 15 year old from Sweden who until recently, was a regular abuser of cannabis and ecstasy. She spoke movingly about her experience and exhorted national delegations to work with NGOs and civil society to protect and promote national compliance with the UN drug-control Conventions.

Ms. MaLou Lindholm of Sweden, former member, European Parliament, and one of the campaign organizers, told delegates: "We are convinced that you all feel and acknowledge the enormous worldwide support you have received, and will continue to receive, in your important work to fight drugs and drug-addiction -- be it in the United Nations or in your national parliaments."

Thirty thousand signatures arrived from Lithuania whose Parliament also passed a resolution in support of UN Conventions; 50,000 signatures from the city of Izhevsk in Russia; and over 30,000 from Italy and 20,000 from Iceland.

In his remarks, Mr. A.M. Costa, Executive Director, UNODC, reiterated the crucial role NGOs must play in drug-abuse prevention, and echoed the call of the youth when they exhorted delegates to fulfil their responsibility to safeguard the Conventions and to protect young people around the world. "This is a magnificent example of the power of partnership with civil society in drug-abuse prevention," he said.

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