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BOLIVIA / PERU
UN against coca leaf
Latinamerica Press
3/19/2008
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Called on Bolivia and Peru to create and carry out education programs that lead to the elimination of chewing coca leafs.

The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) called on Bolivia and Peru to create and carry out education programs that lead to the elimination of chewing coca leafs and other uses of the coca leaf that have non-therapeutic purposes.

In its 2007 report presented on March 5, the INCB states that the only licit uses of the coca leaf described in the 1961 Convention are medical or scientific or preparation of a saporific agent extracted from alkaloids.

However, authorities from both countries say that the suggestion goes against the United Nations 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, which establishes that the measures adopted to avoid illicit coca leaf cultivation, destined for cocaine production, “shall respect fundamental human rights and shall take due account of traditional licit uses, where there is historic evidence of such use, as well as the protection of the environment.”

Bolivian President Evo Morales said that “to abolish what is known in Bolivia as ‘acullicu’ [chewing] is an attack against the indigenous peoples of the Andean region.”

Peruvian Foreign Minister José García Belaúnde said that his country will continue to respect “the traditional use of the coca leaf,” including chewing, using it as medicine, in rituals and its legal industrialization.


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