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TOPIC 1 – Gender Issues in the Fight Against Terrorism

When it comes to terrorism and terrorist attacks, an image is created where only men participate in these acts. This issue became forefront when on December 2, 2015, Tashfeen Malik and her husband, Syed Farook, opened fire at the Inland Regional Center in California. This attack killed 14 people and injured 22 which begins to question the role of women in terrorism activities.

It has been called by the United Nations (2015) that women are surely the key to countering terrorism and extreme violence. This questions what role men may have in countering terrorism and violent attacks as their role is often ignored for women who are seen as the nurturers and supporters of the family. These positions assume gender roles which can be an issue itself.

Female terrorists often fall under three roles categories: Plotters, Supporters and Travelers. Plotters design, attempt and can even carry out terrorist attacks. Supporters garner support for their cause through propaganda, or concealing information of upcoming threats to advance their extremist agenda. Travelers are those who migrate to participate in the extremist movement directly. For the most part, women may find their roles within these groups change over time and their duties may change from organization to organization.

Due to bias, people often ignore a woman’s contribution to these groups. This is due to the fact that many terrorist groups employ gender-based violence and subordinate women. These misconceptions will often paint women as naïve and infantilize them, believing that they do not know better.

Altogether, these misconceptions see women rarely going to jail for their misdeeds or not receiving the same punishment as male terrorists. Mainly men receive the accusation of belonging to a terrorist group.

These gender issues in the fight against terrorism must be properly addressed so both men and women see equal treatment. Both in their punishments for partaking in such acts as well as their roles in helping to counter extreme violence.

Citations

Alexander, A. (November 2016). Cruel Intentions – Female Jihadists in America. Retrieved from https://cchs.gwu.edu/sites/cchs.gwu.edu/files/downloads/Female%20Jihadists%20in%20America.pdf

Role of Women in Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism. Retrieved from https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/focus-areas/womens-role/

 

TOPIC 2 –  Re-evaluating the Definition of Narcotics

Since 1961 and the subsequent amendment in 1972 regarding the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs,  narcotics and the drug control has been an important topic to the UNODC. With cannabis’ recreational use becoming more popular and the opioid epidemic on the rise in many nations since 2010, it is important to look at the Convention to redefine narcotics. This is in hopes to control the use of narcotics and adjust to the current trend in some nations. Narcotics has two definitions. The medical definition states a narcotic is:

a chemical agent that induces stupor, coma or insensibility to pain (also called narcotic analgesic). The term usually refers to opiates or opioids, which are also named narcotic analgesics. In common parlance and legal usage, it is often used imprecisely to mean illicit drugs, irrespective of their pharmacology. (Chung, Iversen, Lim Jong Lee, Tagloaro, Umpierrez, Oulton, 2016, p. 66)

For the most part, the medical definition will be ignored in favour of the one more relevant to the committee. In the context of international drug control, a:

“narcotic drug” means any of the substances, natural or synthetic, in Schedules I and II of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961, and that Convention as amended by the 1972 Protocol Amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. (Chung, et al., 2016, p.66)

As mentioned above, there are schedules that define narcotic drugs. There are four schedules and certain narcotics fall under each.

Schedule I focusses on substances that are “highly addictive and liable to abuse, or are convertible into drugs that are similarly addictive and liable to abuse” (Chung, et al. 2016, p. 9).

Schedule II concerns substances that are “less addictive and liable to abuse than those in schedule I” (Chung, et al. 2016, p. 9).

Schedule III focuses on substances “containing narcotic drugs that are intended for medical use and are unlikely to be abused” (Chung, et al. 2016, p. 9).

Schedule IV focusses more on certain substances in Schedule I that are “highly addictive and liable to abuse and rarely used in medical practice” (Chung, et al. 2016, p. 9).

Cannabis, Synthetic Cannabinoid Receptor Agonists, Opium and Opiates, Opioids, Coca and Cocaine, Amphetamine-type Stimulants, Central Nervous System Depressants, and Hallucinogens are all drugs that may potentially find their products under new categories with the potential redefining of what narcotics are. Narcotics are important to address so that UNODC can continue to enforce drug control globally and prevent unnecessary death due to these narcotic epidemics.

Citations

Chung, H., Iversen, L., Lim Jong Lee, W., Tagloaro, F., Umpierrez, E., Oulton, S. (2016). Terminology and Information on Drugs 3rd Edition. Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/documents/scientific/Terminology_and_Information_on_Drugs-3rd_edition.pdf

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961 As amended by the 1972 Protocol amending the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961. (March 24, 1972). Retrieved from https://www.unodc.org/pdf/convention_1961_en.pdf