Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916
Days before a delegation of civil rights and religious leaders against the drug war leaves for Durban, South Africa for the World Conference Against Racism, a letter will be sent to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan urging him to make the U.S.-led drug war a top priority.
Over 100 religious, civil rights and congressional leaders and entertainers have signed the letter, including Rep. John Conyers, Harry Belafonte, Gloria Steinem, Danny Glover, former U.S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, NAACP Chair Julian Bond, former Congressman Ron Dellums, and Governor Gary Johnson of New Mexico.
The letter, to be released on Wednesday, August 22, urges UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to address the war on drugs at the upcoming conference, August 31 – September 7, as one of the primary instigators of racism in the U.S. and abroad. It charges that the enforcement of current U.S. drug policies violates the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), to which the U.S. is a signatory. The letter also states that ethnic minorities around the world, from Roma populations in Eastern Europe to Colombians of African descent, bear the brunt of the global enforcement of U.S. drug policies.