|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fifth General Assembly
7th Meeting (AM)
Transnational Organized Crime Extending Reach into New Areas — Cyber Crime, ‘High
Seas Poaching’ — Which Needs Coordinated Response, Third Committee Told
Hears from Some 20 Speakers on Second Day of Crime, Criminal Justice Debate;
Drug Trade’s Impact on Environment, Food Security among Other Issues Addressed
From cybercrime and trafficking in cultural property to poaching on the high seas, speakers in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today drew attention to new forms of transnational crimes that warrant an international response.
Twenty-one delegations, as well as one organization, took the floor, as the Committee concluded its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.
“ Indonesia is of the view that it is important to identify emerging issues,” its representative said. “Cybercrime and illicit trafficking of cultural properties, often referred to as emerging crimes, are criminal activities that are undeniably linked to transnational organized crimes.”
He went on to refer to “criminal activities impacting on the environment”, citing as examples illegal fishing — an issue of concern shared by his colleague from Sierra Leone, who lamented “high seas poaching” — and illicit international trafficking in forest products.
The representative of Peru told how drug production could trigger soil depletion and deforestation, while Venezuela told how transnational drug traffickers have turned to using semi-submergible boats capable of carrying 10 tons of cocaine, while avoiding radar. Nigeria told how cannabis had become a preferred crop for some of its farmers, “with obvious consequences for food security”.
A number of African countries, such as Ethiopia, told how vulnerable they had become as transnational drug traffickers exploited their territories as transit points to move narcotics between continents. Several delegations alluded to the ongoing problem of trafficking in persons, while India underlined the ongoing threat of terrorism. “ India has been a victim of terrorism for decades,” its representative said, as he appealed for the international community to show political will and conclude the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
Also speaking today were the representatives of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, El Salvador, Maldives, Qatar, Yemen, South Africa, Serbia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar, Morocco, and Colombia.
The observer from the International Organization for Migration also spoke.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 11 October, in Conference Room 1, to begin the consideration of the advancement of women, with the Under-Secretary-General of UN Women, Ms. Michelle Bachelet, scheduled to address the Committee and entertain questions.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its general debate on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control. (For more information, please see Press Release GA/SHC/3975.)
K.C. VENUGOPAL ( India) said that a steady reduction in the cultivation of crops for illicit drugs since 2007 was a significant finding in this year’s World Drug Report. The international community had to build on that success and India was resolved to fight the menace of illicit drugs. Supply reduction strategies, incorporating sustained alternative development programmes for cultivators, were the keystone in the fight against illicit drugs. On the demand side, social awareness about the adverse consequences of drug addiction had to be raised, particularly among young people. “Societies should strive to inculcate the highest moral values in our youth,” he said. India was the world’s largest producer of licit opium, and it appreciated the work of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) for monitoring the balance between supply and demand for opium required for legitimate medicinal and scientific purposes.
India has been a victim of terrorism for decades, with innocent lives lost in heinous terrorist attacks, he said. “Our resolve against the perpetrators of such attacks should be strong and resolute.” India was party to all United Nations conventions relating to terrorism and it agreed with the Secretary-General that implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy would not be complete without the conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. It was time for the international community to show its resolve and solidarity for collective action against international terrorism and to send a clear message that terrorism, in any form, for whatever cause, would not be tolerated.
KANIKA PHOMMACHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), affirming the seriousness of the threats described by the Secretary-General’s report, stressed the importance of a concerted global effort to wipe out the roots of illicit drug trafficking and related criminal activities. Welcoming the outcome of the fifty-third Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, he said that the international approach should continue to be based on the principles of common and shared responsibility. Supply and demand strategies should be mutually reinforcing elements of comprehensive strategies and actions.
In his country, where he said opium production, addiction and poverty were closely interrelated, there had been a recent worrisome resurgence of poppy cultivation. As the retail price of opium escalated to nearly $1,300 per kilogram, resuming cultivation appeared to be a very tempting source of income for poppy farmers. Parallel to that, transit trafficking of heroin and amphetamine-type stimulants had soared alarmingly. All opium producing areas were the poorest regions of the country and a reduction of cultivation was dependent on the creation of sustainable livelihood opportunities. Further, an increase in drug arrests and seizures indicated that transnational organized criminal groups still considered the country a major transit route. To tackle emerging challenges and the poverty of the former opium growers, the Government approved a comprehensive drug control plan for 2009 to 2011 focusing on all elements from data analysis and demand reduction to chemical precursor control and law enforcement. He stressed that the continuing support of other Governments and international organizations was crucial to ensure that successes achieved in the effort were not reversed. He reaffirmed his country’s unwavering commitment to continue working at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels through effective coordination mechanisms to combat the scourge.
CARLOS ENRIQUE GARCÍA GONZÁLEZ ( El Salvador) focused on the issue of crime prevention and criminal justice as they related to the illicit activities and violence of the drug cartels, noting that 14 individuals in the recent massacre of 72 migrants in Mexico by drug traffickers had been identified as Salvadorans. He noted that an angle not previously considered by the international community when studying strategies of organized crime was the dangerous link between criminal activities and international migration. He called upon the international community to redouble its coordination efforts at all levels to respond to that scourge, while considering that the most vulnerable groups of society were being stereotyped and were in extreme poverty. He also called on the United Nations system and its programmes to promote a broad, integrated focus in the coordinated fight against international criminal activity of the drug cartels and gangs. Although Central America was at the epicentre of the problem, it affected the entire world. If it did not receive the needed attention, it could become unmanageable, he said.
His Government was aware of the root causes that deepened the grip of international crime, drug cartels and gangs, especially the lack of opportunities, social exclusion and impunity. His country’s President, Mauricio Funes, had said in the General Assembly that the map of poverty traced that of trafficking in people and arms, money-laundering and all kinds of large-scale crime. He believed that the international community should increase the political level at which it dealt with those issues that affected the development of countries. Further, the convention against organized crime was an international framework for cooperation that could be improved, as it should not exhaust the scarce resources of developing countries. Firm political actions to strengthen international coordination, including non-governmental actors, in the enforcement of those issues, and the support of the United Nations systems through the preparation and implementation of a global strategy against organized crime, drug cartels and gangs was needed. He reiterated his gratitude to donor countries and United Nations agencies that were supporting the country in the fight against drugs, and reiterated its political will to redouble efforts and cooperate on all levels in battling transnational crime, drug cartels and gangs.
ABDUL GHAFOOR MOHAMED ( Maldives) said his country had started its transition to democracy two years ago, undertaking a reform of institutions to reflect the doctrines of accountability, transparency and the rule of law. But, “corruption currently cripples our efforts to remedy the wrongs of the past” and threatened to undermine the convictions of those who spoke at ballot boxes. Maldives had jointed the United Nations Convention against Corruption in 2007, believing that its measures to thwart corruption through criminal law, international cooperation and technical assistance were integral to addressing the nefarious activities that had eroded success in the country and the region. He believed rooting out corruption and protecting human rights required vigorous civil societies, and welcomed cooperation with the international community to develop such a society. On another issue, the Maldives regretted its placement on the Tier-2 watch list in the United States 2010 Trafficking in Persons Report and had taken steps to address the situation, increasing police and immigration department training. But the Government lacked resources and welcomed international cooperation to aid its capacity to investigate human trafficking and holistically treat its victims.
Located near the opiate producing Golden Triangle and Golden Crescent, the Maldives had seen an increase in drug trafficking and drug-related issues from increased poppy growing in those regions. The Government had undertaken efforts to identify and treat drug addiction and sought help from UNODC, which conducted a detailed assessment of the country, which aided the creation of a Drug Control Master Plan. He also supported last year’s General Assembly resolution on the problem, believing its promotion of international cooperation based on shared responsibility to respond to increasing links between drug trafficking, corruption and other forms of organized crime was a healthy first step towards addressing social ills.
GRUM ABAY ( Ethiopia) said that drug abuse and illicit drug trafficking were among the greatest challenges facing the world. The world drug problem undermined sustainable development, political stability and democratic institutions; Member States were obliged to keep investing in drug control measures and take further stringent steps. Ethiopia’s strategic location in the Horn of Africa, and the fact that its capital city, Addis Ababa, was a multidirectional air transit hub, made it very vulnerable to illicit drug trafficking. Its Government had put in place a National Drug Policy to deter the illegal manufacture, distribution and consumption of narcotics and psychotropic substances, and a Criminal Code was in place that stipulated severe penalties for drug traffickers and abusers.
Ethiopia appreciated technical assistance from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), but drug control and abuse prevention were not the responsibility of a few institutions, he said. Closer collaboration and the firm commitment of Governments, international organizations, civil societies and the people at large were needed. In Ethiopia, development partners and civil society organizations were among those present for the inauguration in May 2010 of an inter-ministerial committee to implement a national drug control master plan. More resources are needed to minimize the potential risks of drug abuse and illicit trafficking; the gravity of the problem called for strengthened coordination and collaboration.
GONZALO GUTIÉRREZ ( Peru) stressed how drug trafficking was “unavoidably” associated with violence and organized crime; in some countries, it was linked to terrorist activities as well. In addition, it had a negative impact on the environment; the growing of drug-related crops led to deforestation and soil depletion, which combined with the effects of the disposal of chemicals used to make illicit drugs, posed a real threat to biodiversity. Synchronized procedures and tailored legislative measures were needed to address the problem, as well as alternative development programmes focusing on agriculture.
He recalled the efforts and achievements that Peru has been making vis-à-vis illicit drugs. Under a national strategy on drugs, some 10,025 hectares of coca were eradicated in 2009, and 7,276 people were arrested for possession or unlawful use of drugs. Alternative development programmes have also been implemented. At the international level, Peru stood ready to participate in joint efforts on exchanging intelligence-based information, experiences and best practices. It was also important that developed countries, especially those in which illicit drugs were consumed, made cooperation against drug trafficking a pivotal issue on their agendas.
ALYA AHMED S. AL-THANI ( Qatar) highlighted the seriousness of human trafficking and the need to address the problem with resolve, as it was among the most difficult challenges that humanity faced today. Qatar had taken steps to adjust its legislative and institutional structures concerning the phenomenon, with the support of the Crown Prince and in compliance with international commitments. Stating that it had exceeded its responsibilities with regard to the protocol concerning trafficking in persons, he noted that, on the executive level, it had issued Decree No. 8 in 2005, establishing a bureau on human trafficking that could transition into a national institution. At the international level, Qatar had helped launch the Arab initiative to build national capacities in the field of human trafficking, with the support of the Crown Princess. It called for joint cooperation in building national capacities and taking measures to end the problem of trafficking and to promote the results of the Doha Forum.
In addition, he said that his country’s efforts concerning drugs included the promotion of a national strategy for combating drugs and preventing their entry into its territories through the comprehensive, integrated activities of State institutions. The Ministry of the Interior had also participated in community programmes to develop community police, such as workshops that established police strategies and mechanisms to cope with contemporary security challenges.
JORGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said drug trafficking, while generating millions of dollars for drug cartels, had physically and morally destroyed millions of people. Venezuela had become a country of reference on an international level in the fight against drug trafficking, thanks to policies and strategies that were as successful as they were sovereign. With the challenges posed by its 2,219-kilometre border with Colombia, Venezuela had taken daring steps to prevent its territory from being used by powerful drug cartels supplying markets in the United States and Europe, where demand for illicit drugs was greatest. A new challenge was semi-submergible boats that could each carry 10 tons of cocaine while avoiding radar detection; more than 50 such vessels had been seized.
Venezuela ranked fourth in the world in terms of drug seizures, a fact that had been recognized by competent authorities of the United Nations, he said. So far this year, the security services had seized 46.39 metric tons of illicit drugs, bringing to 559.83 metric tons the amount seized since the start of the Bolivarian revolution 11 years ago. That was a historic record. Up to September this year, 16 big drug chiefs had been arrested and immediately extradited to their respective countries, mainly the United States, Colombia and Europe. The United States, through its Department of State, has published an annual report about the fight against drugs that was unilateral, immoral and illegitimate. Venezuela had demonstrated that it did not need foreign Powers or foreign troops to confront drug trafficking; its own institutions and security forces had the expertise and competence to do the job.
WAHEED ABDULWAHAB AHMED AL-SHAMI ( Yemen) said that corruption was a dangerous scourge that threatened society and development, which was why Yemen had been a pioneer in signing the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The country also promulgated a national law in 2006 and set up a national agency in order to combat corruption, as well as passed legislation concerning official tenders on public property and on money-laundering. To reinforce these legislative measures, Yemen developed a national strategy in 2010 to foster awareness of the serious consequences of corruption and hosted events, such as a regional conference of the Arab network last July, to bolster integrity. Given that globalization and information technology had focused the world’s attention on global crimes, Yemen had also signed the United Nations convention on organized crime to respond to this problem.
Concerning drug trafficking, he outlined that Yemen had arrested and prosecuted many criminals, was endeavouring to raise awareness of the issue, had established a special governmental department, and had engaged an aviation unit in the fight. Believing that human trafficking was an odious crime and a flagrant violation of human rights, Yemen also had ratified several relevant conventions and protocols to criminalize all human trafficking, conducted awareness-raising campaigns at the regional level, and established cooperation systems. He believed that the best way of combating the scourge of trafficking was to deal with root causes, such as poverty and unemployment, and strengthen cooperation at the international level. He welcomed the global plan of action to combat human trafficking, and stated that a voluntary fund should be established as soon as possible. Additionally, Yemen was a partner in attempting to counteract terrorism. To bolster security efforts, however, capacity-building and cooperation, in particular in the sphere of information exchange, were required. Financial and technical assistance would contribute to combating the crimes that threatened humanity.
AGUS SARDJANA ( Indonesia) said cybercrime and illicit trafficking of cultural properties were undeniably linked to transnational organized crime. Other forms of emerging crimes that needed serious consideration and international cooperation related to the environment, such as illegal fishing and illicit international trafficking in forest products and other biological resources. In the fight against corruption, one of his Government’s highest priorities, significant progress had been achieved. Indonesia would voluntarily take part in the current year’s United Nations Convention against Corruption review. It was also engaged in the pilot review of the implementation programme of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In that regard, increased international cooperation was needed, including technical assistance and sharing of best practices.
He said that Indonesia’ commitment to fight against trafficking in persons was unwavering, including through strengthening the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference (Bali Process) on the issue. Further, as a nation that had suffered immensely from terrorist activities, Indonesia believed that counter-terrorism should be conducted with full respect for human rights and the rule of law and that terrorism’s root causes should be eliminated. Enhanced regional cooperation was crucial in that regard. Regional and interregional cooperation should also be intensified regarding transboundary drug trafficking. Recognizing the significance of alternative development for effective drug control, his country was expanding its alternative development measures with an initiative to provide sustained livelihood for former and potential drug couriers.
AHMADU GIADE, Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) of Nigeria, said that, as a top priority of his Government, the drug-control efforts of his agency, along with those of the agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, had led to the de-listing of Nigeria from the Drug Majors Watch List by several countries, including the United States, and testified to the national resolve to have a society free of illicit drugs, to prevent trafficking through the country and to address related problems such as money-laundering, violence and addiction. In 2009 alone, 7,042 drug suspects were arrested by the NDLEA and nearly 115,000 kilograms of cannabis was seized, constituting 99 per cent of illicit drug seizures.
Though a small percentage of seizures, heroin and cocaine were also a major challenge due to the involvement of international drug syndicates that use Nigeria as a transit point, he said, noting recent seizures and prosecutions. He also noted public awareness campaigns to reduce the demand for drugs and the activities to manage controlled drugs by the Food and Drug agency. He affirmed, in addition, that international cooperation was necessary and in that effort Nigeria had recently signed a Memorandum of Understand with the United Kingdom and strengthened cooperation with South Africa, Germany and China, including intelligence sharing, joint training and occasional joint operations. Regional cooperation through all relevant West African organizations would be intensified. He reaffirmed Nigeria’s commitment to the various regional and international instruments of which it was a party.
XOLISA MABHONGO ( South Africa) stated that South Africa considered the fight against crime and corruption a priority. To that end, his Government had implemented an array of domestic measures, including improved policing, to ensure “conditions of peace, security and stability” for its citizens. These initiatives, he stressed, were being engaged with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Noting both the transnational and the cross-border nature of crime and corruption, he spoke of his country’s participation in joint subregional programmes, including the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation, as well as its participation in international conferences, such as the recent Twelfth United Nations Crime Congress in Brazil which addressed, among others, new and emerging crimes such as cybercrime, and guidelines for the treatment of women prisoners. He looked forward to the upcoming Conference of Parties of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which he hoped would encourage a stronger political commitment to the Convention.
“No country acting alone can successfully address the world drugs problem,” he stated and he urged Member States to fully address their role, either as producers, locations of transit hubs or as countries of destination. In his country, cannabis and cocaine were of concern due to local consumption and smuggling across borders. One response taken was the scheduling of some chemicals, which then decreased the number of illegal imports of precursors. Special programmes aimed at South African youth also tackled the issues of drug use and the benefits of a drug free society. Also, he appreciated the wide scope of the work of UNODC, and said it needed to be given more resources and support, financial and otherwise.
MARINA IVANOVIĆ ( Serbia) spoke of South-Eastern Europe’s significant success in the fight against organized crime, a result of “vibrant cooperation” between the region’s countries. Continuing, she noted the Ministerial Conference, hosted this month in Belgrade by the Serbian Ministries of Justice and the Interior. The conference, “Boosting regional and transnational cooperation as a precondition for successful fight against organized crime in south-eastern Europe” was a platform to share national experiences in combating organized crime, human trafficking and illegal migrations. Also discussed at the conference was the idea of a common regional arrest warrant. At the conference’s conclusion, nine countries signed the Memorandum on Cooperation in the Fight against Organized Crime, which would facilitate the sharing of information, the establishment of joint investigation teams and the harmonization of legislations in the region’s countries.
Continuing, she pointed out that other regional initiatives promoting cooperation between regional States, among others, the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative and Regional Cooperation Council, had also brought about concrete results against illegal migration and drug smuggling. Military intelligence institutions had just recently signed a statement on cooperation and intelligence-sharing at the regional level to deal with security threats. Welcoming the adoption this year of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, she stated that, on a national level, Serbia had taken several actions, including the adoption of the Strategy against Illegal Migrations and the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking, as well as the establishment of the Migration Monitoring and Management Coordinating Body. All these efforts, she said in conclusion, would support an effective fight against human trafficking, as well as provide for victims of human trafficking protection of their human rights and access to rehabilitation.
Mr. MOHAMMED ( United Arab Emirates) told how his country had helped to coordinate international efforts to combat human trafficking leading up to the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons that was adopted by the General Assembly in August 2010. His country had adopted an integrated strategy that incorporated support for the victims of human trafficking, with psychological care being extended to them. Public awareness was being raised as well, and it was important to pursue international partnerships in order to eradicate the root causes of human trafficking.
The United Arab Emirates had been among the first States to cooperate at the international level against money-laundering, he said. For several years it had been undertaking the necessary steps to confront the problem, especially when the problem contributed to terrorism. The United Arab Emirates has been active in regional and international groups in addressing money-laundering and other financial crimes; its success could be used as a model to apply elsewhere.
SULJUK MUSTANSAR TARAR ( Pakistan) said the ills of narco-trade, corruption, money-laundering, trafficking in persons, cybercrime and terrorism were challenges for us all. International organized crime had a two-way relation with the developing and developed world. In developing countries, it had its roots in the poorer, less privileged socio-economic surroundings. Conditions of poverty, underemployment and a weak socio-economic context were a catalyst for such crime. At the same time, their partners in developed countries exploited access to advanced technology. A direct supply and demand dimension existed, especially for drug trafficking, human trafficking and money-laundering. Increased demand for drugs, cheap labour and the illegal transfer of money in the developed world resulted in increased supply from the developing world. Further, Pakistan was a State party to both the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and believed that the world drug problem required and enhanced international cooperation.
His country had undertaken several national initiatives to tackle the issue. Moreover, it had actively contributed to regional and international efforts to stop the outflow of drugs, as well as the inflow of precursor chemicals from neighbouring countries. In efforts to successfully counter human trafficking, Pakistan had promulgated an ordinance which incorporated a role for civil society to work with law enforcement agencies for rehabilitation of victims. His country had also taken measures to combat money-laundering and terrorist financing, and had worked collaboratively to reform its criminal justice system and to secure its border to deter against international crime. In closing, he stressed that the solution to the problem of organized crime lay in an integrated, comprehensive approach with firm long-term political and financial commitments. Such commitments could be realized through capacity-building, technical assistance, financial assistance and the provision of appropriate equipment.
IQBAL AHMED ( Bangladesh) said his Government was taking all necessary measures, within its limited resources and capabilities, to control illicit drugs that entered the country through its long, porous borders which were difficult to guard. His country had strict penalties, even the death sentence, for drug trafficking, considering the damage they did in particular to one of its most vulnerable segments — the youth. While sharing the view in the Secretary-General’s report that “drug abusers should be sent to treatment, not to jail”, he had reservations about the argument in the same report that “people should not be sentenced to death for drug-related offences”.
Addressing money-laundering, he drew attention to the fact that his Government had been trying to recuperate money siphoned abroad illegally. The issue of asset recovery was a complicated one, he said. Tracking the money took a long time. Freezing it and bringing it back home involved multiple jurisdictions. He hoped States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption could help in that endeavour. After describing his country’s resolute efforts against terrorism, he concluded, saying that transnational organized crime, corruption, terrorism, trafficking of persons and money-laundering were interrelated and could not be prevented without all-out cooperation from all sides. That was a daunting challenge for every country, but developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, were especially vulnerable to the rapid proliferation of emerging crimes. Resources and capacity-building were needed.
Mr. AL-HARTHY (Saudi Arabia) outlined the country’s developments in criminal justice with regard to the problem of drugs, stating that legislation had increased penalties for drug-related crimes and that the prosecutor’s office was cooperating with the Ministry of the Interior to fight drug use. The Government was also trying to increase awareness about the dangers of illicit drug use, and to increase treatment for drug addicts. Publications and books had been issued, seminars had been organized in schools, and out-patient facilities had been increased. A coordinated strategy had been adopted by the Arab ministers of justice, and cooperation was taking place with friendly countries to fight drug trafficking. Saudi Arabia had established programmes for the rehabilitation of drug addicts and their re-entry into the school system, as well as leisure facilities, such as sports and youth clubs.
He noted that his country was making efforts with regard to these programmes, security and prevention in order to put an end to the drug scourge, because of the large amounts of contraband and illicit drug trafficking that had affected the country in previous years. Saudi Arabia expressed determination to support the efforts of the international community to fight the drug phenomenon, and said that it was not possible to put an end to the problem without cooperation or sharing information.
SOE LYNN HAN ( Myanmar) said his delegation was happy to note that, on a worldwide basis, opium poppy cultivation, opium production and potential heroin production had all fallen. His country was tackling the drug problem through a comprehensive framework that included all three international drug control conventions, as well as national legislation, a national plan of action, high-level commitment, and bilateral, regional and international cooperation.
Poverty was among the main causes of the drug problem for poppy-cultivating farmers along the border areas of Myanmar, he said. Eliminating narcotic drugs and upgrading the living standards of the national races, especially in the border areas, were the two strategies being pursued by the Government. Supply elimination, demand elimination and law enforcement were the tactics being applied. Poppy cultivation and production in Myanmar has consequently decreased from 81,400 hectares and 813 tons in 2002 to 31,700 hectares and 330 tons in 2009. Myanmar had been combating the drug problem with its own resources; support and assistance from the international community would speed up its efforts and make them more effective.
HASSAN EL MKHANTAR ( Morocco) recounted the steps undertaken by his country to address the problem of illicit drugs, which together with trafficking in weapons and persons was an issue that no one country could tackle alone. It was essential that the principle of shared responsibility be applied at the regional and international levels. Morocco had collaborated with UNODC in producing three studies into cannabis, and hosted a delegation from INCB in December 2009, demonstrating its irreversible commitment to combat cannabis cultivation and trafficking.
Morocco was concerned by new trends in the consumption of hard drugs and the emergence of new trafficking routes, particularly through Africa, he said. It was equally concerned by the link between drug trafficking, terrorism, organized crime and trafficking in persons, with the sub-Saharan region affording opportunities for criminal networks to step up their illicit activities. Morocco has undertaken a multidimensional approach to confront illicit drug production and demand, while at the same time, promoting economic and social alternatives. A higher level of development in the north of the Kingdom would eventually lead to the total eradication of cannabis cultivation.
CLAUDIA BLUM ( Colombia) reminded the Committee that, in order to combat the global drug problem, the violence and corruption produced by trafficking and organized crime also needed to be addressed. On a national level, Colombia was engaging a comprehensive strategy based on both reducing supply and demand, as well as combating all drug-related crimes, which resulted in 2009 having the lowest production of cocaine since 1999. “As a result, my country is no longer the largest producer of cocaine in the world,” she stated. She also pointed out that, in 2009, 165,000 hectares of coca cultivation had been eradicated, decreasing the acreage by 16 per cent and cocaine production by 9 per cent, as compared to 2008. That amounted to an accumulated decrease of 59.7 per cent between 2001 and 2009. The 5 per cent decrease in the global area of coca cultivation was, thus, mainly due to a significant decrease in Colombia.
Alternative development was an essential part of her country’s policy, she said. To that end, the Forest Wander Families Program, which engaged rural communities, indigenous and African descent persons located in environmentally strategic ecosystems, had, since 2003, benefited 70,000 families in 21 departments and 96 municipalities. However, creating sustainable environments and generating social and economic development for people who had given up illicit crops required national investment and international support, and she called for a greater commitment by donor countries to support these alternative development projects. She stressed that effective efforts which addressed the illicit drug industry on a national level was “reduced by the lack of commitment and cooperation of all States”. Shared responsibility and international cooperation was crucial and, because of her country’s many decades experience with the world drug problem, Colombia was now able to respond to requests for training and technical assistance from many regions of the world.
VICTORIA M. SULIMANI ( Sierra Leone) said that cross-border and transnational organized crimes, including terrorism, trafficking in persons and narcotics, piracy and high-sea poaching, exhibited a high level of sophistication. More innovative efforts were, therefore, needed to tackle them. Sierra Leone had upgraded the Joint Drug Interdiction Taskforce outfit to a Transnational Organized Crime Unit, which would not only strengthen law enforcement capabilities in the subregion, but would also help to bolster up capacities to implement the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) “Action Plan to Address the Growing Problem of Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crimes and Drug Abuse in West Africa (2008-2011)”.
She said that the proliferation of small arms and light weapons was a major concern. Her country had established a national commission in that regard to strengthen the national response to the threat. Such a mechanism could be crucial to the entire West African subregion, which had been “bedevilled” by wars and military coups fuelled by the proliferation of those weapons. It would also enhance sustainable peace in the Mano River Union. The commission would also help to fast track the domestication of the ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms. There was also an urgent need to increase effective surveillance of the coastal and maritime borders in order to combat illegal maritime drug trafficking, piracy and human trafficking. Such surveillance could strengthen wider regional integration and would benefit the security in West Africa and other countries bordering the Atlantic.
MICHELE KLEIN-SOLOMON, Observer for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said the Global Plan of Action against trafficking in persons was encouraging, since there was a need to raise awareness about the phenomenon around the world and draw attention to the human component involved. Approaches to addressing the tragedy of trafficking must first take into account the well-being of victims.
On terrorism, she said migration had come to be seen as a security issue since the terrorist attacks on New York on 11 September 2001 and measures aimed at preventing terrorism were now often explicitly linked to immigration policies. Her organization’s updated publication on the relationship between international terrorism and migration carried a warning against linking migration too closely with security issues, even though migration measures intersected with security issues in areas such as border control, identification systems, information exchange and domestic integration policies. And since migration was destined to increase, it was crucial to strengthen international cooperation to close the door to terrorists wanting to exploit migration channels while facilitating the positive aspirations of legitimate migrants and the societies to which they contributed.
* *** *For information media • not an official record