Input for the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD)

Release contribution to UN group on punitive drug policies, discrimination, decriminalisation and racism

Release is pleased to share this submission with the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent (WGEPAD) to assist in their examination of racism and discrimination faced by people of African descent in the UK.

This submission focuses on how the enforcement of drug laws drive and sustain racial disparity in the UK. Policing practices such as stop and search disproportionately affect the Black community and other ethnic minorities. Moreover, there is an overrepresentation of Black people and ethnic minorities in the criminal justice system. Finally, the submission looks at how punitive drug policies affect all strata of the Black community, including children. Here, we will explore how Black children are disproportionately subjected to strip-searches, which are typically conducted under the racist assumption that Black children are more likely to possess drugs. The case of child Q, outlined below, is emblematic of the ‘adultification’ of Black children and how carceral approaches to drug policies infringes the human rights of vulnerable populations, such as young school children.