A human rights-based approach to drugs policies

A human rights-based approach means the incorporation of all applicable human rights standards into a specific policy and not merely addressing specific violations.  This entails the need to integrate human rights standards into drug policies, action plans and implementation processes.

Human rights entail both rights and obligations. States assume obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect and to fulfil human rights. The obligation to protect human rights requires States to protect individuals and groups against human rights abuses. This means that States must take positive action to facilitate the enjoyment of basic human rights and.


 The Pompidou Group: putting human rights at the heart of drug policies

At the 18th Ministerial Conference the Pompidou Group adopted the Lisbon Declaration” reaffirming the Group’s commitment to be a fore rider for a human rights centred approach to address drugs, addictions and related disorders. Furthermore, the revised mandate of the Pompidou Group adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe in 2021 explicitly mandates the Group "to promote respect for human rights in the framing, adoption, implementation and evaluation of drug and addiction policies".

In pursuing its mission to promote drug policy compliance with Human Rights the Pompidou Group has constantly taken action in a variety of formats over the last decade. These include policy papers, expert repots, tools and guidance documents and a broad range of capacity building activities. As a result, this work has led to several lasting initiatives and brought about important insights and understandings to advance drug policies.


 Self-assessment Tool for Drug Policy Compliance with Human

In 2022 the Pompidou Group launched this unique new online application to assess if drug policies are in line with human rights standards: https://pghumanrightsapp.com

With his tool the Pompidou Group addresses the key questions in practically assessing drug policy compliance with human rights. The aim of the application is to provide a straightforward on-line entry point for human rights assessment across key drug policy aspects.

By linking key topics to human rights standards and more specific probing questions, it provides a practical framework to investigate and assess the human rights implications for drug laws, policies, and practices. This tool is therefore intended for analysis by those who are responsible for drug policy development and implementation. Ideally it should be put to use in collaboration with civil society and those with lived experiences.


 The Expert Group on Human Rights and Drug Policies

The self-assessment tool is intended to be a dynamic instrument meeting the needs of drug policy as they emerge and take into account drug policy contexts as they evolve. This requires a regular review and update of the content of the tool, its functionality and user friendliness.

Under the 2023 – 2025 Work Programme the Pompidou Group has mandated its Expert Group on Human Rights and Drug Policy to oversee the application, use and further the development of the self-assessment.

Furthermore, the Expert Group has been given the task to prepare draft guidelines on aligning drug policies for human rights standards. It is expected that these will be presented to the Permanent Correspondents of the Pompidou Group for adoption in 2025.