Public statement against the fast-tracking of Bill 37/2013 that alters the Drug Law

Bill in the Senate raises costs for the State and violates human rights Bill in the Senate raises costs for the State and violates human rights

June 27, 2013

Protests have swept the streets of Brazil in recent weeks. The various demands of civil society around causes of collective interest demonstrate that the debate over what society wants is not the exclusive preserve of political parties, NGOs or organized social movements. The historic significance of recent events is undeniable.


Bill 37 is not an issue from the streets

On the back of the protests, they want to rush through changes to the Drug Law that violate human rights

It is important to point out, however, that this healthy democratic participation in the public debate cannot be used as a justification for the Legislative Branch to hastily approve, with the support of the government, important bills without due debate with the various different actors involved, whether they are organized or not. We were all surprised by the recent decision to grant fast-track status to Bill No. 37/2013 (formerly Bill No 7663/2010) – which revises the National Drug Policy – “to respond to the demands for security” coming from the streets.

Bill 37/2013, under the pretext of updating Brazil’s drug legislation, strengthens the already failed drug policy and disregards the long struggles for improvements in public health, interrupting important breakthroughs in the anti-asylum, pro-citizenship and anti-torture policy. It will not only worsen the stigma faced by people who are suffering, but also reinforce the policy of mass incarceration of the poor, the criminalization of users who are arrested and charged as dealers, and the forced internment industry that is known to be ineffective as treatment, as well as give more priority to religious therapeutic centers that, subject to little oversight, are dangerous places where mistreatment occurs.

The bill significantly raises the costs for the State and, at the same time, drastically reduces respect for the individual rights of people in situations of vulnerability and suffering.

The bill in question does not represent the will of civil society, nor is it grounded in the best national and international practices on the subject. Indeed, the lower house of Congress, which has already passed the bill, disregarded all the statistical, technical, scientific and legal considerations that should guide the creation of any public policy. It also ignored the technical considerations of various government ministries, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Justice and the Office of Human Rights, which to begin with completely rejected the bill. A calm debate on a bill of such importance is essential for the gap between the authorities and civil society to finally be reduced, and not widened, as will be the case if the debate is rushed.

Considering what has been expressed above, the undersigned organizations publicly demand the removal of the fast-track status from Bill 37/2013, and call for members of Congress and the Executive to act responsibly and affirm their declared commitment to democratic dialogue.

ABRASCO – Brazilian Collective Health Association

ABRASME – Brazilian Mental Health Association

ACAT – Christian Action for the Abolition of Torture

Lawyers without Borders Brazil

Justice and Human Rights Group – Jusdh

Brazilian Association of Social Studies on the Use of Psychoactive Drugs – ABESUP

Brazilian Association of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals – ABGLT

Brazilian Multidisciplinary Association of Studies on Drugs – ABRAMD

Association for Prison Reform – ARP

Planta na Mente Carnival Block

Os Seareiros Shelter

CEBES – Brazilian Center for Studies on Health

CEBRID – Brazilian Center for Information on Psychotropic Drugs

Psychosocial Treatment Center of Canoinhas – CAPS I

É de Lei Community Center

Center for Studies on Security and Citizenship of Candido Mendes University

Center for Studies and Therapy on Drug Abuse – CETAD/UFBA

Reference Center for Childhood – INCERE/Ceará

Reference Center for Human Rights of the Federal University of Paraíba

Reference Center for Drugs and Associated Vulnerabilities/UnB

International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood – CIESPI/PUC-Rio

Active Ingredient Anti-Prohibition Group

Reviving Reason (DAR) Group

Planting Information Group

Brazilian Commission on Drugs and Democracy – CBDD

Conectas Human Rights

Federal Psychology Council – CFP

Federal Social Services Council – CFESS

National Health Council

Regional Psychology Council of Mato Grosso do Sul, 14th Region

Regional Social Services Council/Rio de Janeiro

DDH – Defenders of Human Rights

Dignitatis – Grassroots Technical Aid

Clínico Política team

School of Higher Education of the Public Defender’s Office of the State of Bahia

National Federation of Pharmacists

Intersectoral Drugs and Human Rights Forum of São Paulo

State Drugs and Human Rights Front/Paraíba

State Drugs and Human Rights Front/Rio de Janeiro

State Drugs and Human Rights Front/Rio Grande do Sul

Oswaldo Cruz Foundation (Fiocruz)

Interdisciplinary Group for Social Studies on Psychoactive Drugs – GIESP

Torture Never Again Group/Rio de Janeiro

IBCCRIM – Brazilian Criminal Sciences Institute

IDDD – Defense of the Right to Defense Institute

Igarapé Institute

Pro Bono Institute

Sedes Sapientiae Institute

Sou da Paz Institute – SDP

ITTC – Land, Employment and Citizenship Institute

Global Justice

Workers’ Party Youth – JPT

Marijuana March, Curitiba

Socialist Action and Identity Movement – MAIS PT

Change Movement

Movement for the Legalization of Marijuana

Psychoanalysis, Autism and Public Health Movement (MPASP)

Center for Advanced Studies on Alcohol and Other Drugs – NEAAD/CETAD/UFBA

Center for Interdisciplinary Studies on Psychoactive Drugs (Neip)

Center for Studies, Research and Extension in Mental Health and Psychosocial Treatment – NEPS-UERJ

Center on the Prison Situation of the Public Defender’s Office of São Paulo

Pastoral Carcerária prison care service

PROAD – Program for the Guidance and Treatment of Drug Users of Unifesp

Transversions Project of the School of Social Services of UFRJ

Psicotropicus – Brazilian Center on Drug Policy

State Mental Health and Solidarity Economy Network/São Paulo

Criminal Justice Network

Pense Livre Network – for a drug policy that works

REDUC – Brazilian harm reduction and human rights network

RENILA – National Inter-Center Network of the Anti-Asylum Movement

ResPire Damage Reduction

SBNeC – Brazilian Society for Neuroscience and Behavior

UNE – National Union of Students

Viva Rio

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