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61st UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Darknet

The CND for “Commission on narcotic drugs” also known as the 61st Commission on Narcotic Drugs met from 12 to 16 March in Vienna (Austria). Present at the meeting were: Head of Advocacy and Claims; Enzo Poultreniez (AIDES activists), Human Rights Project Coordinator; Nicolas Denis and two African partners in the Human Rights Project thus, Alain Kra (Africa Coordinator of the Côte d’Ivoire-based undertaking) and Charles Somé (promotion officer situated in Burkina Faso).61st UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Darknet

The UN Commission on Narcotics (CDN)

The CND was created in 1946 and serves as the decision-making and monitoring body for the implementation of the three international treaties that govern world drug policy, thus, the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (1961), the Convention on Psychotropic Substances (dating from 1971) and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (1988). These three criminalize the utilization, ownership, trafficking, and production of certain psychoactive products as well as money laundering. The commission also decides the products which are legal or illegal at the world level (through the International narcotics control board – INCB). Additionally, the CND is the governing body of the UNODC, thus, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Furthermore, the CND comprises of 53 countries (including France), who are intensely negotiating several decisions and resolutions. However, as these decisions must be taken by consensus, compromises are extremely difficult to find between states which, on one hand, apply the death penalty or increase the number of extrajudicial executions of drug users and on the other hand, authorize cannabis for instance. This gives the impression that, divergences are tended to increase in recent years. Nevertheless, IDPC, the international consortium on drug policy, of which AIDES is a member, has conducted a webinar on the issues of the CND.

How the discussions went

The 61st CND opened with a long “general debate”: all the State who were represented got a chance to address everyone in the gathering, for some instances, to review their standards and to congratulate themselves. In any case, it was an opportunity to see the priorities of some States. Canada in this way has a discourse profoundly praised by non-government associations on the regard of human rights, the need to wellbeing, which includes a commitment to risk reduction. Other states, such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Pakistan, and Egypt, unfortunately, did not set aside positive surprises. However, summaries of all interventions (and also workshops reports) are available online on the IDPC blog. While the ultra-formal speeches follow in plenary, the negotiations on the resolutions advance between the official delegations of the countries, either in the “Committee of the whole – Cow for the intimates”, or in bilateral discussions (from one state to another).

Drugs and the darknet

The darknet which is largely an unknown platform for trading a range of illegal good and services was discussed. The part of an event to discuss the relationship between drugs and darknet was facilitated by the Government of Bulgaria and the European Union. The chairman of the event, who is also a permanent representative of Bulgaria to the UN, Svetoslav Spassov, presented the issue reminding members that it is assessed that, about 2/3 of the offers on darknet are drug-related. The accessibility and quick adaptability of online markets represent a developing danger.

Furthermore, Director of EMCDDA, Alexis Goosdeel, presented facts from the current report which demonstrates the extreme development of criminal activities on Internet and darknet in particular. EMCDDA found in a few cases that the stuff being sold were what was promoted thus, there is a good system of rating the products and sellers. However, the majority of such activities are done in Germany, UK, and The Netherlands with most of the products being non-cocaine stimulants and new psychoactive substances. Alphabay grew quickly since its creation in December 2014 and in two years traffic it becomes twice larger than one of the pioneers thus, Silk Road (which was shut down by law enforcement in 2017). Nevertheless, because of anonymity and the risk associated, there is no wholesale at the darknet.

Liamonas Vasiliauskas from the Operations Directorate stated, as affirmed by Europol, many dealers offer a variety of drugs. Explicitly, the monthly income of 8 major criminal groups on darknet was between 10 – 12 million Euro. What Europol don’t know are the drug sources, chemicals and equipment, money streams, and so on. Nonetheless, because of the darknet, normal post package services developed significantly in recent years. However, Europol composed a model of building up an investigating team for the EU nations due to the fact that, almost all of them don’t have a particular darknet investigation team. FBI, DEA and Dutch Police closed down two networks thus, operations Bayonet (Silk Road) and GraveSac (Hansa). Europol, in any case, doesn’t have data if this seizure of networks has caused the decline of activity on the darknet.

Lastly, Peter Mihoc from the European Commission included that one of the primary issues is the knowledge gap and another being the lack of equipment needed for operations of law enforcement agencies.


  1. I think certain governments should rejoice with these figures….I mean at least they are making some money from the postage duty…..

  2. “Europol, in any case, doesn’t have data if this seizure of networks has caused the decline of activity on the darknet.”…….Let me give you a hint: DNM’s are making so much money…..they are even too embarrassed to admit it….. Yes, maybe the rise in number of DNM’s isn’t on the rise. It’s not easy to set one up and you need several trusted people to work with, but I think the ones that are there now have learnt from others mistakes and won’t be disappearing anytime soon….Good luck LE…….you’re going to need it!

  3. It’s the UN. It’s not like they are going to get anything done anyway.

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