HAUCH FENGER LAWFIRM
The use of cannabis-based medicine to be brought
before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK (21 APRIL 2016) - For the first time, a case on the use of cannabis-based medicine will be brought before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR). The illegalisation must be put to an urgent test. To save lives.
My client, Ms. Marianne Højgaard Jensen, suffers from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CPRS) type 2, stage 3.
All possible avenues for the treatment of my client have been exhausted. She also suffers from severe allergic reaction to regular medication including morphine-based painkillers, thus forcing her to a life of almost unbearable agonising constant pain. Only cannabis-based medicine brings her some relief.
Under Danish law she is prevented from receiving the only possible medical treatment that can let her live a descent, bearable life. Safe from pain, safe from harm.
Time has come to seek vindication of her rights at the international level by lodging a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Committee against Denmark for violation of her rights inherent and protected inter alia in the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Ms. Marianne Højgaard Jensen:
“I become a criminal when I, as a patient, act in self-preservation by using cannabis-based medicine, as it is currently illegal in Denmark.” -
“It is not only about being disabled, but about being sick. Regardless of diagnosis or stage of the disease, the right to a free choice, apply to all. Based on this I will, with my lawyer Mr. Poul Hauch Fenger refer the matter to the United Nations Human Rights Committee. For my own sake and for the thousands of other people in Denmark and abroad who are in an equally intolerable legal, moral and human no man's land.”
On behalf of first and foremost my client, but also the thousands of people in the world, who live a similar life with diseases that can be treated with cannabis-based medicine, we wish to submit that the positive obligation of a state to protect the life and dignity of it’s citizens, also includes facilitating adequate legislation that will allow them to use cannabis-based medicine. Cannabis-medicine is scientifically established to alleviate pain for patients suffering from certain severe diseases, with little or no side effects.
Until now, these people live in a medical and legal vacuum, with only little dignity left. This is not in keeping with international human rights and will be challenged in the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
In the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights, in the ICCPR, and in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights it is clearly stated that all people are entitled to the rights and freedoms contained therein, without any kind of discrimination.
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) similarly contains provisions by which the rights holders themselves have entitlements to choose their own medicine. It is our position that it constitutes a breach of a number of international conventions when a state prevents a patient’s access to the only medicine that can treat the disease they suffer from.
Article 15 of the UNCRPD establishes that “No one shall be subjected to medical or scientific experimentation without his or her free consent”. This is exactly what these people are.
The Preamble of the Convention recognises the importance of people with disabilities and that they have the right to personal autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own decisions of fundamental personal importance, such as decisions about their health and medical condition and the choice of recommended treatments approved by their professional health care practitioner.
Articles 10 and 17 of the Convention reconfirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and that States Parties should take all necessary measures to ensure that people with disabilities can effectively enjoy this right and ensure the respect for his physical and mental integrity on an equal basis with others.
None of these rights, however, can be enjoyed by my client or anyone else in Denmark and numerous other countries. Possession of cannabis is contrary to the law and there is no exception for reasonable access for medically approved use.
In Canada, everyone, not just citizens, has the right to life, liberty and the security of their person in the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with principles of fundamental justice (Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms forming part of the Constitution of Canada).
The right to “liberty” has been interpreted by the Canadian courts to grant the individual a degree of autonomy in making decisions of fundamental personal importance, including in particular decisions intimately affecting their private lives. Liberty is not only threatened by criminal prosecution and possible imprisonment but includes the right to make a decision of fundamental importance, including the choice of medication to alleviate the effects of an illness with life-threatening consequences. Consequently, Canada has been required to enable “reasonable access” by “medically approved patients” to cannabis best treatment for their medical condition.
The above statement of the law arises from decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada and was recently reaffirmed in a “medical marihuana” context in the case of Allard v. Canada, 2016 FC 236, a decision of the Federal Court of Canada Trial Division, Mr. Justice Phelan on 24 February, 2016. The Government of Canada announced on March 24, 2016 that it would not appeal that decision, and is therefore in the process of putting together a new medical marihuana regulation that complies with the Canadian Constitution by the deadline set by the Court of 24 August, 2016 that must at least include “reasonable access” that, in turn includes the right of the patient to produce cannabis for him or herself or have a caregiver assist or do so for them. The Canadian Government reaffirmed this at UNGASS 2016.
Canada has set an example on the enjoyment of human rights, which should be followed by the United Nations Human Rights Committee (CCPR). The complaint to be lodged will pursue this objective in the shared interest of Ms. Marianne Højgaard Jensen and thousands of other individuals.
POUL HAUCH FENGER | ATTORNEY-AT-LAW ⎪MASTER OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
HAUCH FENGER LAWFIRM ⎪HALLINSGADE 27 DK-2100 COPENHAGEN ⎪
+45 26 24 06 22 ADVOKAT@HAUCHFENGER.DK HAUCHFENGER.DK CVR 36625139