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If only we had some kind of “Constitution”

May 8, 2013
By

That would be really cool.

They have one in Brazil, and seven former ministers of justice have sent a letter to the Supreme Federal Court.

Rio de Janeiro, April 16th, 2013.

To His Excelency Mr. Gilmar Ferreira Mendes
Minister of the Supreme Federal Court

Subject: Manifest for the unconstitutionality of the penal repression of drug possession for personal consumption.

Your Excelency Mr. Minister

Considering that Brazil is a constitutional State founded on the principles of human dignity and pluralism and that every citizen has the freedom to live as they deem, so long as said freedom does not interfere with that of a third, the criminalization of a behavior that is practiced within the sphere of an individual’s personal privacy and does not harm a third party is not legitimate.

For this, we the subscribers of this document- all having served as State Minister of Justice – manifest our position on the unconstitutionality of the penal repression of drug possession for personal consumption.

The failures of the war on drugs, based on the criminalization of the consumer, reveal the impropriety of the strategy used to this day. Treating drug users as citizens and offering them treatment and support by means of harm reduction, is more adequate than stigmatizing them as a criminals.

Experiences in Portugal, Spain, Colombia, Argentina, Italy, Germany, amongst others, have shown that the decriminalization of the use of narcotics is an important step towards rationalizing a policy that combats drug traffickers without transforming the primary victim of the illicit product into the object of penal persecution. Drug users deserve respect and access to dignified treatment, not time behind bars.

In response to the above, the subscribers of this document stand united behind the manifests stated in the case of Extraordinary appeal number 635.659, requesting this Court the recognition of the incompatibility of the crime of drug possession for personal consumption with the present constitutional model, which is based on human dignity, pluralism and the respect for personal privacy and that of the private lives of its citizens.

Tarso Genro
Ministro da Justiça, between 16/03/2007 and 10/02/2010
Mandato do Presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Aloysio Nunes Ferreira Filho
Minister of justice, between 14/11/2001 and 03/04/2002
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

José Gregori
Minister of justice, between 14/04/2000 and 14/11/2001
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Márcio Thomaz Bastos
Minister of justice, between 01/01/2003 and 16/03/2007
Presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

Miguel Reale Júnior
Minister of justice, between 03/04/2002 and 10/07/2002
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

José Carlos Dias
Minister of justice, between 19/07/1999 and 14/04/2000
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Nelson Jobim
Minister of justice, between 01/01/1995 and 08/04/1997
Presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Impressive.

I wish our founding fathers had had the foresight to set up some kind of system that granted only limited powers to the government and preserved basic human rights.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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