Six Former Presidents, Richard Branson and Other World Leaders: Criminalization of Drug Use Fuels the Global HIV/AIDS Pandemic

Press Release June 19, 2012
Media Contact

Tony Newman 646-335-5384</p>

On June 26, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release a groundbreaking report at a press conference in London followed by a worldwide teleconference. The report describes how the global war on drugs is driving the HIV pandemic among people who use drugs and their sexual partners. It condemns the drug war as a failure and recommends immediate, major reforms of the global drug prohibition regime to halt the spread of HIV infection and other drug war harms.

The report is being released in advance of the International AIDS Conference, the world’s largest gathering of HIV/AIDS experts. It will be held in the U. S. for the first time in 22 years this July 22-27, in Washington DC.

This is the second report published by the Global Commission. Its first report, released in June 2011, generated unprecedented media coverage and catalyzed international debate about the urgent need for fundamental reforms of the global drug prohibition regime. The Global Commission is the most distinguished group of high-level leaders to ever call for such far-reaching changes – including alternatives to incarceration, greater emphasis on public health approaches to drug use, decriminalization, and experiments in legal regulation.

Press Conference

When: Tuesday, June 26 at noon BST/ London Time

Where:  IQ Studios, Millbank, London

 There will be a feed for  television via the BT Tower, line identifier: MillbankV3 available of the press conference. Any technical questions about this should be directed to IQ Studios, 4 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA (Phone: +44 207 7993 655 Email: [email protected])


When: Tuesday, June 26, at 4pm BST/ London Time (11am NY/US East Coast Time)

How To Call-In: Please call Tony Newman for call-in information. 646-335-5384

Commission Members (those italicized and underlined will be speaking at the press conference and/or teleconference)

Aleksander Kwasniewski
Former President of Poland

Asma Jahangir
Human rights activist, former UN Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary, Extrajudicial and Summary Executions, Pakistan

César Gaviria
Former President of Colômbia

Ernesto Zedillo
Former President of Mexico

Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Former President of Brazil (chair)

George Papandreou
Former Prime Minister of Greece

George Shultz
Former Secretary of State, United States (honorary chair)

Javier Solana
Former European Union High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Spain

John Whitehead
Banker and civil servant, chair of the World Trade Center Memorial, United States

Louise Arbour
Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Crisis Group, Canada

Maria Cattaui
Former Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Switzerland

Marion Caspers-Merk
Former State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Health, Germany

Mario Vargas Llosa
Writer and public intellectual, Peru

Michel Kazatchkine
Professor of medicine, former Executive director of the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria

Paul Volcker
Former Chairman of the US Federal Reserve and of the Economic Recovery Board, US

Pavel Bém
Former Mayor of Prague, member of the Parliament, Czech Republic

Ricardo Lagos
Former president of Chile

Richard Branson
Entrepreneur, advocate for social causes, founder of the Virgin Group, cofounder of The Elders, United Kingdom

Ruth Dreifuss
Former President of Switzerland and Minister of Home Affairs

Thorvald Stoltenberg
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Norway

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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