|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-sixth General Assembly
6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)
World Confronts Complex, ‘Practically Seamless Web’ of Crime, Corruption, Drugs,
Which Touches Every Country, Spans Every Region, Third Committee Told
Deputy Head of Drugs and Crime Office Describes Integrated Response to Threats,
But Warns Office’s Efforts Hindered by Governance Structure, Unpredictable Funding
The world community was facing a series of complex and interconnected threats that together formed a web of drugs, crime, corruption and even terrorism, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told today, as it began its general discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
“This is a practically seamless web which touches almost every country and spans every region,” said Sandeep Chawla, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), underscoring the magnitude and complexity of the threat.
To address the interconnected threats, he said UNODC had devised an integrated response that promoted the multilateral instruments aimed at controlling the problem, kept the world community informed about evolving and emerging dangers and provided technical assistance to help countries build their national capacities.
But, despite a number of successes – he said UNODC’s technical assistance offered good value for the money and its state-of-the-art publications were regarded as a standard source of statistical information on the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs – the Office’s work was jeopardized by its incoherent governance and insufficient financing, leaving the Office in a particularly precarious position.
“Unless our governance is streamlined and our funding made more predictable, we will not be in a position to fulfil the many responsibilities you have given us,” he warned, noting that an intergovernmental working group on UNODC’s governance and finance had been working for two years without any appreciable impact.
He stressed that the core of the problem revolved around two fundamental questions that only Member States could answer. First, did they want UNODC to be a normative and analytical agency – or a development agency? Second, did Member States want UNODC to be a Secretariat entity or a specialized agency? He suggested that UNODC could be both an analytic and a development agency, but not if it had the governance structure of a normative agency and the funding system of a development agency. In addition, it could not be both an entity of the Secretariat and a specialized agency, although it was currently operating as if it were.
During the day-long debate, which featured nearly 40 speakers, a number of delegations expressed alarm over the impact that continued funding constraints would have on UNODC’s critical mandates. Pointing to their limited institutional capacity and financial resources, many underscored their reliance on UNODC for much-needed technical and capacity-building support in combating crime, drugs and corruption.
“There is no doubt that this will continue to impact the ability of UNODC to promote policymaking and provide expertise to Member States,” Jamaica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said, as he voiced strong concern over the impact that limited regular budget resources and reductions in general purpose funding would have on UNODC, even as its programmes were being expanded.
He further stressed that, with crime and violence threatening the development agenda of the entire Caribbean region, international cooperation was critical to reducing violence, fostering social inclusion, promoting integration, empowering victims and protecting the environment and economic resources. “Active collaboration with and assistance from our regional and international partners are crucial in our efforts to develop and implement effective border control methods, practices and procedures,” he said.
Speakers from other regions particularly hard hit by the nexus between drugs and crime — including West Africa, Latin America and countries surrounding Afghanistan — underscored the need for a coordinated global response, including joint efforts by consumer and producer countries. Afghanistan’s representative said that, among the many devastating effects of decades of war and insecurity in his country, increased poppy cultivation carried the largest consequences. It threatened efforts to rebuild a stable and democratic Afghanistan with a legitimate economy.
Calling for more regional and international cooperation, he also stressed that sustainable progress would require strengthening Afghan security forces and providing alternative livelihoods for farmers. In that context, he noted that international partnerships must be continued, or hard-won gains would be at risk.
Noting that West Africa was on its way to becoming a drug trafficking hub, Senegal’s representative said efforts to address that region’s vulnerability must be redoubled. In particular, technical assistance was needed to enhance monitoring and law enforcement. Synergy at the national, regional and international levels was also required.
Testifying to the violent consequences of these interconnected issues, the representative of Mexico said the increase in illicit trafficking in firearms across borders was reflected in the aggression and military capacity of organized groups, who used their power against law enforcement. She pointed out, however, that as long as there were drug consumers prepared to pay billions of dollars to satisfy their addiction, there would be organized crime.
The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria and the Solicitor General of Kenya also made comments.
Also speaking today were representatives of Zambia (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community), Tajikistan (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States), Kazakhstan (on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization), Kyrgyzstan, Liechtenstein, Israel, Thailand, Nicaragua, China, Ukraine, India, Malaysia, United States, Norway, Egypt, Venezuela, Brazil, Russian Federation, Pakistan, Japan, Belarus, Yemen, Syria, Peru, Algeria, Cuba, Singapore, South Africa, Bolivia and Morocco.
The representatives of Liechtenstein and Bolivia also participated in a short question-and-answer session with Mr. Chawla.
The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 6 October, to conclude its discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to begin its general discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
It had before it the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/66/131), which describes the activities undertaken by the Institute to offer African countries technical support in preventing crime and strengthening their criminal justice systems. The report describes practical measures proposed by the Institute that emphasize collaboration even as they take into account the role of local and outsourced resources. Among other things, the report also highlights the challenges Africa faces in litigation and management of correctional institutions, especially with regard to sophisticated crime trends. The report states that the Institute’s precarious financial situation has significantly undermined its capacity to deliver its services effectively and outlines opportunities for realizing the much-needed funding to support its programmes.
Also before the Committee was the report of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on its twentieth session (3 December 2010 and 11‑15 April 2011) (document E/2011/30 Supplement No. 10), which summarizes the Commission’s work. It also includes four draft resolutions to be recommended by the Economic and Social Council for adoption by the General Assembly concerning: the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice; technical assistance for implementing international counter-terrorism conventions and protocols; trafficking in cultural property; and strengthening international cooperation in combating illicit financial flows resulting from criminal activities.
Also included are four draft resolutions recommended by the Commission for the Council’s adoption on the use of new information technologies to abuse and/or exploit children, programme development at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), economic fraud and identity-related crime, and illicit trafficking in endangered species. Two draft decisions for the Council’s adoption on its report and improving UNODC’s governance and financial situation also feature in the report, along with matters brought to the Council’s attention on such topics as trafficking in fraudulent medicines and cybercrime. The report further summarizes deliberations, as well as action taken by the Commission, on such issues as world crime trends and United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Secretary-General’s report on the implementation of the mandates of the
United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, with particular reference to the technical cooperation activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (document A/66/303) summarizes the activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to support Member States in their efforts to counter transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism, as well as to prevent crime and reinforce criminal justice systems. The report also refers to developments relating to the governance and financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Information on the status of ratifications or accessions to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto and the United Nations Convention against Corruption is also included.
Additionally, the report provides an overview of responses to emerging policy issues such as piracy, abuse and exploitation of children, and illicit financial flows. It concludes with recommendations aimed at enhancing the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
The Secretary-General’s report on the follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/66/91) provides a brief overview of follow-up to the outcome document — the Salvador Declaration on Comprehensive Strategies for Global Challenges: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Systems and Their Development in a Changing World — adopted at that meeting, which was held in Salvador, Brazil, from 12 to 19 April 2010. The report also contains information on the views and proposals of Member States for ways and means of improving the efficiency of the process involved in the United Nations congresses on crime prevention and criminal justice. Among other things, it outlines the work of two open-ended intergovernmental groups convened to study cybercrime, best practices, and the revisions of existing United Nations standard minimum rules of the treatment of prisoners to reflect advances in correctional practices.
Also before the Committee was a note by the Secretary-General transmitting the report of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime on its fifth session, held in Vienna from 18 to 22 October 2010 (CTOC/COP/2010/17) (document A/66/92).
The Secretary-General’s report on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/66/130) provides an overview of the status of implementation of the mandates relating to international drug control by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, other parts of the United Nations system and international organizations. In its overview of the world drug situation, the report says that although the total number of illicit drug users has increased since the late 1990s, prevalence rates have remained largely stable, as has the number of problem drug users, which is estimated at between 15 million and 39 million. In addition, it says that while there were stabilizing or decreasing trends in heroin and cocaine abuse, these have been offset by increases in the abuse of synthetic and prescription drugs.
In its conclusions, the report says illicit financial flows and their linkages to drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime are an important area requiring attention in tackling the illicit drug trade. It also calls for a more efficient governance system and a sustainable, predictable and stable funding model for the UNODC to ensure it remains viable in the medium to long term.
Also before the Committee were four draft resolutions recommended by the Economic and Social Council on: strengthening international cooperation in combating the harmful effects of illicit financial flows resulting from criminal activities (document A/C.3/66/L.2); technical assistance for implementing the international conventions and protocols related to counter-terrorism (document A/C.3/66/L.3); follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/C.3/66/L.4); and strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to protect cultural property, especially with regard to its trafficking (document A/C.3/66/L.5).
SANDEEP CHAWLA, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the world community was confronted with a series of complex and interconnected threats that, taken together, formed a web of drugs, crime and, sometimes, terrorism. “This is a practically seamless web which touches almost every country and spans every region,” he said, underscoring how that web linked the whole world.
To address those interconnected threats, UNODC had created an integrated response with three main pillars: a normative umbrella, under which multilateral instruments to control the problem could flourish; research and analysis, which kept the world informed about evolving and emerging threats; and a technical assistance arm, to help countries build the capacity needed to face the threat and solve the problem.
Outlining UNODC’s work across those three pillars, he said that in its normative and policy functions, the Office served as the guardian of the landmark drugs, crime and corruption conventions. In the area of “soft law,” the Office updated the United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which was a compendium of regulations, guidelines and good practice accumulated over the last half century. Although those various legal instruments provided a wide mandate — even, at times, a difficult-to-fulfil mandate — they also gave UNODC’s research and field operations a substantial legal basis.
To that end, UNODC’s research and analysis functions fulfilled the obligation of the United Nations to act as a reliable, unbiased source of information, he said, highlighting the Office’s wide array of state-of-the-art publications and surveys that were regarded as a standard source of statistical information on the trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs. Threat assessments on organized crimes had been done in several subregions, including Africa, Central America, the Caribbean and the Balkans, with several more to come. The next Global Transnational Organized Crime Threat Assessment was planned for 2012, as was the next Global Report on Trafficking in Persons.
He said UNODC’s field operations delivered technical assistance on five main themes: preventing and treating drug abuse; supporting fair and humane criminal justice systems; stopping trafficking of illicit drugs, human beings and firearms; tackling corruption; and preventing terrorism. The Office was involved, in that context, in areas as diverse as training judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, public health officials, prison officials and farmers. Its extensive field network included 10 regional offices, nine country offices and more than 40 programme offices.
UNDOC’s integrated programme approach ensured that its technical assistance offered good value for the money, he said. By that approach, regional and country programmes were given ownership of their work. Normative, analytic and technical expertise was integrated in design and delivery. The framework for funding, managing and implementing the many small and inevitably fragmented projects was inclusive. Furthermore, the integrated programme was always delivered in close operation with other United Nations entities and multilateral donors.
But, while UNODC had achieved internal coherence, the same could not be said for its governance and financing, which suffered from serious deficits, he said. Although UNODC was a relatively small office, it had five governing bodies, none of which even provided the majority of the Office’s funding. Indeed, the General Assembly approved less than one tenth of UNODC’s regular budget. Only 5 per cent of UNODC’s total revenue was “general purpose income”, in other words, voluntary contributions that were not earmarked.
What made that situation particularly precarious was the intersection of governance and financial deficits, he said. Over roughly the last decade, the regular budget share of the UNODC budget had fallen from 15 per cent to 8 per cent. The general purpose income had fared worse, falling from 18 per cent to 5 per cent. Paradoxically, and in stark contrast to these contracting “core funds,” the Office’s extra-budgetary funding had grown dramatically, tripling from $150 million in 2002-2003 to more than $450 million in 2010-2011.
“Unless our governance is streamlined and our funding made more predictable, we will not be in a position to fulfil the many responsibilities you have given us,” he warned, noting that an intergovernmental working group on governance and finance had been working for two years without any appreciable impact. The core of the problem included two fundamental questions that only Member States could answer. First, did they want UNODC to be a normative and analytical agency – or a development agency? He said that while it could be both, it could not do so with the governance structure of a normative agency and the funding system of a development agency. Second, did Member States want UNODC to be a Secretariat entity or a specialized agency? In this case, he stressed that the Office could not, in fact, be both, although it was currently operating as if it were, with the funding structure of a specialized agency and the governance of Secretariat entity.
The representative of Liechtenstein asked how UNODC planned to get involved more in the principle of complementarity outlined in the Rome Statute.
The representative of Bolivia asked whether UNODC was familiar with or had read the June 2011 report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which addressed how the international fight against drugs could be a straightjacket for countries that wished to explore alternative solutions to drug problems. Bolivia believed chewing of coca in its natural state should be legal as it was not harmful to health, but the reaction by other Member States had been negative, he said.
Responding, Mr. CHAWLA said that UNODC was familiar with the report mentioned by Bolivia. But, while entitled the “Report of the Global Commission on Drug Policy,” it had nothing to do with the United Nations. While it contained interesting detail and data, 95 per cent of those data was from UNODC. Further, many of that report’s arguments originated with UNODC. He stressed that UNODC’s responsibility was simply to put data and evidence before Member States to aid them in making the most-informed decisions about the multilateral drug control system they wished to enact. He further noted that there was a system in place to make changes to the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
He thanked Liechtenstein for its important work on complementarity and noted that UNODC looked forward to a follow-up on that issue.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said that among the many devastating effects of decades of war and insecurity in his country, increased poppy cultivation carried the largest consequences. It threatened efforts to rebuild a stable and democratic Afghanistan with a legitimate economy. “Terrorist groups in our region are financed in part by the profits from illegal drug activity. At the same time, this is the insecurity caused by terrorism that instigates the continuation of the illegal trafficking and cultivation of narcotics,” he said. Afghan farmers had been coerced to cultivate poppies on valuable land, but only received a fraction of crop sales, while 97 per cent of profits flowed into the hands of transnational mafias.
Rather than pointing the finger of blame at the Afghan farmer, more regional and international cooperation was needed, he said. Afghanistan had increased poppy-free provinces from 6 to 20, and raised poppy field eradication by 65 per cent from last year. Large quantities of chemical precursors had also been seized by smugglers who were arrested this year, he said. But, hundreds of Afghan police officers had sacrificed their lives in the eradication of poppy fields and there had been a four-fold increase in security-related incidents during eradication operations over the past year. Sustainable progress would require strengthening Afghan security forces and providing alternative livelihoods for farmers. But, there had already been relapses of some poppy-free provinces — international partnerships must be continued, or hard-won gains would be at risk.
LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said information and communication technologies had given rise to new and increasingly frequent forms of crime, posing threats to confidentiality of computer systems, as well as the safety of users, especially children. “There are numerous commercial child sexual abuse websites, generating profits for organized criminal groups. This has often led to human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation,” he said. In that regard, SADC would prepare a regional plan targeting cybercrime, human trafficking, drug trafficking, armed robbery, fraud, motor vehicle and stock theft, as well as other cross-border crimes.
Poverty and destitution had also created a breeding ground for crime, and growing piracy affected regional food stocks and development, negatively impacting on economic and political stability. SADC would host a summit on piracy at the end of October 2011, with a view of forging a way forward on that issue. “There is no doubt that transnational organized crime is a widespread phenomenon which undermines and destabilizes political, economic and social systems. Its threat to society cannot be fought solely at national level, but needs to be complemented by joint efforts,” he said.
To combat illicit drugs, States in the region had enacted a protocol to coordinate against drug trafficking, money-laundering, corruption and illicit use, he said. They had also undertaken strategies to establish demand-reduction programmes, as well as community prevention and research to address underlying causes of drug abuse. Some countries in the region had also established appropriate facilities for treatment, rehabilitation and social integration of drug-dependent persons. Despite those efforts, much more remained to be done, and international assistance was needed to adequately train demand-reduction personnel and provide other resources to combat drug abuse.
RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said crime and violence threatened the development agenda in his region. International cooperation was needed to reduce violence, foster social inclusion, promote integration, empower victims and protect the environment and economic resources. “The drug trade drives crime in our region in a number of ways, including by creating local drug use problems, unwanted flows of illegal small arms and light weapons, corruption, and undermining legitimate economic activity, including through money-laundering,” he said.
The number of youth that fell prey to illegal activities continued to be alarming, while violence in the region was aggravated by organized crime. “The criminal networks extend across our borders to countries in South America, North America and Europe. For this reason, active collaboration with and assistance from our regional and international partners are crucial in our efforts to develop and implement effective border control methods, practices and procedures,” he said. Organized crime thrived in regions where poverty was prevalent and opportunities limited, and the fact that the Caribbean was located along a principal route for trafficking illicit drugs exacerbated the problem.
CARICOM was strongly concerned about limited regular budget resources and reductions in general purpose funding for UNODC while the organization’s programmes were being expanded. “There is no doubt that this will continue to impact the ability of UNODC to promote policymaking and provide expertise to Member States in accordance with its mandate. CARICOM countries, with limited institutional capacity and financial resources, rely on agencies, such as UNODC, for much-needed technical and capacity-building support in our efforts to combat the problems of crime and drugs in our region,” he said.
KHUSAV NOZIRI ( Tajikistan), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), stressed that the challenges and threats created by transnational organized crime called for strong counter-measures, including by regional organizations. To that end, the central and coordinating role of the United Nations must be strengthened. He reaffirmed the commitment of the member States of the Commonwealth to fulfilling their obligations under international agreements, including the Salvador Declaration. The Commonwealth advocated strengthening the crime prevention work of the United Nations. In that regard, he voiced support for the conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary-General’s report on implementing the mandates of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
Pledging the Commonwealth’s continued support to UNODC in its work to build State capacity, as well as its programmes to combat criminal threats, he said it also intended to strengthen cooperation with the United Nations and other regional organizations. Further underscoring crime prevention as a priority for the members of the Commonwealth, he noted that its December 2010 meeting adopted agreements on joint measures to combat crime and on further cooperation in countering terrorism and illegal trafficking of drugs. Other agreements were made on the boundary policies of member States and cooperation in countering human trafficking.
He went on to say that measures were being perfected regarding practical operations, including those aimed at suppressing poaching, protecting the bio-resources of the Caspian Sea and combating money-laundering. He also highlighted the “Channel” counter-narcotics operation, as well as joint law enforcement training sessions. Finally, he noted that the Commonwealth favoured actively enhancing regional crime prevention policies and mechanisms, such as the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other Eurasian groups.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan), speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said the problem of illicit drug trafficking continued to be a global challenge and could not be solved separately from the problems of organized crime, international terrorism, extremism, corruption and illegal migration. Welcoming the World Drug Report 2010 of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), she nonetheless said that it was too early to discuss the reduction of heroin production from the cultivated crop area in Afghanistan, as noted in the UNODC World Drug Reports of the past three years. That production, 90 percent of the world’s total, remained the main threat to the region and affected all parts of the globe.
Heroin use was rising in CSTO countries, despite the fact that they were not final trafficking destinations, she said. The “northern route,” passing through the countries of Central Asia and Russia, was a principal trafficking route to Europe, but left half of the 120 tons of heroin, so transported, in those countries. Consumption in CIS countries resulted in 50,000 deaths annually. Regional cooperation was essential to eradicate that traffic. Counter-narcotics cooperation between the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and CSTO would increase effectiveness in combating drug trafficking. She further noted that the “Paris-Moscow Process” had contributed substantially to fighting Afghan drug expansion.
Regional entities engaged in fighting the growing threat included Operation Channel, undertaken by CSTO in 2003, and the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre, the coordinating mechanism in fighting transborder drug trafficking, opened in Kazakhstan in 2009, she said. CSTO was making serious efforts to build and strengthen anti-drug “security belts” around Afghanistan. The input of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in fighting Afghan drug infrastructure was growing. It was important for the Afghan Government to stimulate economic growth to combat drug production. The international community should provide resources to that end. The Security Council could expand the mandate of the UN Mission in Afghanistan to strengthen coordination between Afghan authorities and other entities in implementing anti-drug activities at all levels.
DANIAR MUKASHEV ( Kyrgyzstan) said his country had been making significant efforts to combat organized crime in all its forms, including by improving its legislative framework and reforming its law enforcement system and judiciary. In July, Kyrgyzstan adopted a law on combating organized crime. Among other reforms to the law enforcement system, the procedural powers of the prosecution bodies and the financial police were divided and enhanced. Further, the country’s Drug Control Body and its Agency on Prevention of Corruption functioned independently. For the first time in the country’s modern history, its law enforcement bodies could now effectively combat organized crime. As a result, large numbers of members of organized criminal groups had been arrested.
At the international level, Kyrgyzstan was particularly focused on fighting organized crime by preventing human trafficking, he said. Among other things, it fully supported the implementation of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, as well as the role of UNODC in uniting efforts to fight organized crime. Kyrgyzstan was also concerned about illicit drug trafficking, particularly in light of the flow of illicit drugs from Afghanistan through its territory. At the same time, it was concerned about the north-to-south flow of so-called “heavy” synthetic psychotropic drugs from Europe to Central Asia. That flow paved the way for Central Asia’s organized drug cartels to integrate into the international drug trafficking systems, which worsened Kyrgyzstan’s overall crime situation. As a result, the Government was working closely with UNODC, as well as regional organizations, to combat and address the impact of illicit drug trafficking. In that regard, it welcomed UNODC’s new initiative on developing a regional programme for Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.
AHMADU GIADE, Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for Nigeria, said his country’s strategy to control illicit drugs involved cracking down on production at home, while preventing it from being used as a transit point for drug cartels. It had made substantial progress this year, arresting 3,531 suspected drug dealers and confiscating over 120,000 kilograms of various drugs. Cannabis made up the largest share of drugs, and Nigerian authorities had destroyed 365 hectares of the plant so far this year.
His country appreciated recent assistance from the United States and Germany, and cooperated with the United States to share intelligence on potential narcotic couriers and high-risk travellers. Nigeria’s drug enforcement agency remained open to all initiatives, as no country could fight and win the war against narcotics itself, and it would continue to participate in West Africa Joint Operations to prevent the region from becoming a hub. Nigeria was also determined to control prescription drug abuse — especially codeine containing substances. Its national food and drug administration had cut down on the codeine allocation to some drug manufacturers and collaborated on preventive drug abuse campaigns, he said.
GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said that the Arab Spring was an impressive reminder that governance without a fundamental commitment to justice and the rule of law was not sustainable. In that context, the focus of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme on building capacity in criminal justice systems was more relevant than ever, and the assistance of UNODC in the transition from arbitrary justice to systems based on the rule of law should be stepped up. Further, he added, the Office should respond to States requesting it to assist in strengthening their capacity to investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes under international law, including genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to help end impunity and allow justice to be obtained domestically, rather than through international mechanisms.
In strengthening good governance in post-conflict and transitional States, the fight against corruption was central, he said, noting his country’s legal reforms to address the problem from the demand side as a party to the anti-corruption convention. Against that background, he stressed the harmful effects of so-called “grand” corruption on developing countries and underlined his country’s support for the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative of the World Bank and the International Centre for Asset Recovery of the Basel Institute on Governance. At the same time, he pointed to the serious effect of so-called “petty” corruption on the enjoyment of fundamental rights by individuals, and welcomed the Committee’s intention, during its next session, to address the problem from that perspective.
PAPA DIOP ( Senegal) underlined the magnitude of the threats posed by drug trafficking and transnational organized crime. Indeed, drug trafficking required networks that threatened the legitimacy of States and the lives of their citizens. In addition to the myriad public health problems stemming from addiction, drug trafficking harmed the fragile economies of developing countries. It was also clear that drug trafficking also contributed to other problems, such as money-laundering, corruption, arms trafficking, trafficking in human beings and terrorism.
He stressed that the intensification of international efforts to combat drug trafficking had improved the international legal framework. The 1989 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances was the first international response against that scourge, while the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption offered further support to that effort. Nonetheless, the phenomenon threatened to grow and become more complex. West Africa was on its way to becoming a drug trafficking hub, with severe implications to the entire region. Efforts to address the region’s vulnerability must be redoubled. In that regard, technical assistance was needed to enhance monitoring and law enforcement. Synergy at the national, regional and international levels was also required.
MARINA ROSENBERG ( Israel) said national police, customs, army and prison services worked closely with their international counterparts and United Nations bodies to combat illegal trafficking and crime. As a signatory to all three international drug control treaties, Israel sought opportunities for partnerships with other Member States and had enhanced its cooperation with the European Council, the European Union and the Pompidou Group. Without demand, there would be no market for illicit drugs and no end-buyer for traffickers. Thus, Israel viewed prevention as integral to any comprehensive drug reduction strategy. To protect children and teenagers, Israel’s drug prevention strategy was implemented in school curricula from kindergarten through university.
That strategy also addressed drug addiction as a chronic health disorder, she said, and aimed to provide rehabilitation to victims through programmes that respected human rights and dignity. Particular attention was placed on women’s needs through a women’s-only-treatment centre that ensured a safe environment for rehabilitation. More broadly, she said evidence-based prevention and treatment programmes had been implemented throughout the country. To tackle cannabis, the Government would adopt the recommendations of a committee recently appointed by the Israeli Parliament to assess how the legal system coped with cannabis use. In sum, to win the battle against organized crime and drug trafficking, suppliers must be penalized, and the incentives for drug use among citizens must be removed. In Israel, education was the key to winning that battle.
PIYAPORN PUTANAPAN ( Thailand) said her country looked forward to continuing the important discussion on finding ways and means to address the long-term financial situation of UNODC. The global situation on crime and drugs over the past year had been a story of successes and continuing challenges; Thailand was committed to continuing work with its neighbours in the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) to concretely fight trafficking, and looked forward to the report and recommendations on Thailand later this year by the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons.
The Thai Government had recently made drug suppression and prevention a national priority, she said. Awareness would be promoted while law enforcement would be strengthened, with stricter punishment for drug traffickers and corrupt officials. It would also work to ensure drug addicts were treated as patients and provided health care, including methadone treatment. Thailand tried to make access to social welfare and health care a priority, in the belief that such safety nets helped prevent the descent into a vicious cycle of crime.
CLARISA SOLORZAND ( Nicaragua) said humankind was afflicted by an epidemic in the consumption, production and trade of drugs controlled by organized crime — no society was free from the epidemic. Most epidemics killed people physically, but that one killed people morally. Her country supported the principle of shared and differentiated responsibility as the premise in the fight against drugs and organized crime. Nicaragua, which itself had low drug use and crime rates, had to divert domestic resources to combat transnational crimes, and appealed for resources from the international community. Nicaragua currently devoted a bit more than 3 per cent of its gross domestic product towards combating drug trafficking, she said.
At the national level, Nicaragua itself had seen a reduction in crime from 15.7 per cent in 2007 to 6.5 percent in 2009; it also had one of the lowest homicide rates in the region. Aware that the goal must be zero crime, the Government had redoubled efforts against organized crime to keep it the safest country in the region. The Nicaraguan police model had been praised internationally for citizens’ safety, but in a world where crime crossed national borders, challenges to police were increasingly complex, and States were obliged to work together to detect and disband criminal networks. It was impossible to eliminate an enemy with unlimited resources that worked across borders, if the world community did not work together.
LI XIAOMEI ( China), stressing that strengthening international cooperation offered an effective way to fight drug trafficking and other transnational organized crimes, said greater attention should be paid to the concerns of developing countries, while efforts to help them build capacity should be ramped up. Stronger international cooperation was vital to containing corruption, which seriously undermined the social stability and sustainable development of all countries. Given the ongoing review of the Convention against Corruption, the Chinese Government hoped the Fourth Conference of State Parties to that instrument would yield positive results. China also believed the paramount authority of the Conference of the States Parties to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime must be preserved. At the same time, an implementation mechanism for that Convention and its Protocols should be set up, while priority areas for technical assistance should be identified, based on countries’ actual needs.
China regretted that no global law or regulation governing cybercrime yet existed, she said, stressing that countries should work together to formulate a comprehensive convention to respond to the growing challenges posed by that phenomenon. Meanwhile, the International Code of Conduct for Information Security provided basic principles that could contribute positively to the international response to cybercrime. For its part, China had taken legislative, administrative and judicial steps to enforce the provisions of the conventions against drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption. Among other actions, it had taken concrete measures to prevent precursor chemicals from flowing into illegal channels. Finally, China called on the international community to pay more attention to ketamine abuse and related crimes.
YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) said the strength of criminal organizations stemmed from unrestricted purchases of weapons and the proceeds of drug sales. The increase in illicit trafficking in firearms across borders was reflected in the violence and military capacity of organized groups, who used their power against law enforcement. The principle of common and shared responsibility called for strategies that were integrated so international efforts could be effective, and was supported by her country.
As long as there were drug consumers prepared to pay billions of dollars to satisfy their addiction, there would be organized crime, she said. Mexico shared a border with one of the biggest markets for narcotics. At the same time, the connection between drugs and corruption must be recognized and dismantled. Mexico was introducing wide-ranging institutional reforms to combat that transnational scourge, and welcomed a strategic alliance with the Organization to work in a coordinated manner. Mexico would continue to strengthen its international cooperation and hoped to have the support of the Membership to construct strategies to save the number of lives absurdly lost every day as a result of the drug problem.
VITALII KASAP (Ukraine) voiced support for the enhanced multilateral cooperation of the special institutions of the United Nations and Members States in combating transnational organized crime, and underlined the importance of the technical assistance of United Nations bodies in that sphere. Human trafficking required prompt and effective responses from Member States. National sustainable development strategies were of primary importance in elaborating and developing policies of countering organized crime, corruption and human trafficking. Ukraine was ready to actively implement the measures called for in the Salvador Declaration. It supported the establishment of an open-ended intergovernmental review mechanism, in order to upgrade national activities for ratifying and implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Indeed, such a review mechanism was essential for assessing the Convention’s overall impact and improving national anti-corruption legislation.
Ukraine took an integrated and comprehensive approach to tackling the illicit manufacture, trade in, and use of, drugs in order to prevent the diversion of chemicals, he said. Already this year, Ukraine had eliminated 300 international channels for drug trafficking. That figure indicated the scale of the problem it faced. Moreover, as a transit State, Ukraine had automatically become a country of destination, creating additional problems that required international technical support. Underlining the particular linkages between the spread of HIV/AIDS and illicit drug use, he stressed that the problem required an immediate and effective response. Further, reductions in demand and better prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programmes continued to play a critical role in tackling the problem.
RATNE DE ( India) said recent decreases in coca cultivation and marginal increases in opium production suggested the essential component to fighting illicit drugs remained sustained alternative livelihood development programmes for cultivators of drug crops and overall economic development. But, national efforts would not suffice — an integrated approach among countries was needed to combat the menace, and India was pursuing bilateral and regional arrangements. “ India, as one of the largest producers of licit opiates, follows a balanced drug control approach. This ensures a supply of licit opiates for genuine medical and scientific purposes while precluding the possibility of any proliferation of such opiates,” she said.
There was a deep-rooted nexus between drug mafias, organized crime and money-launderers for financing terrorism. “The United Nations has adopted 12 international conventions and five protocols to combat terrorism to date. Yet, the UN has so far adopted a sectoral approach in these international instruments,” she said, urging Member States to make all efforts to conclude the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. India was also concerned at the growing scale of the worldwide trafficking of persons, and recognizing the complexities of the issue, had comprehensive legislation and policies to address the problem.
WONG CHIA CHIANN ( Malaysia), underlining the threats transnational organized crime posed to international peace and security, called for international cooperation to be enhanced in information exchange, capacity-building, technology transfer, and information and intelligence sharing. Effective legal cooperation should include the provision of mutual legal assistance, assistance in freezing criminal proceeds and extradition arrangements. The Malaysian Government believed that for the Global Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons to provide added value, it must be used as a complement to the Palermo Convention and its Protocol. Integrated international cooperation was also required between countries of origin, transit and destination. Bilateral cooperation — particularly in terms of information sharing — remained a crucial aspect of that fight.
She further stressed the particular challenge drug trafficking posed to Southeast Asia, largely due to its proximity to the Golden Crescent. Malaysia had three drug-related problems: drug smuggling for local consumption, drug abuse among the local population and the transit of drugs. To address them, the Government had formulated a National Drug Policy in 1996 to deal with drug abuse and trafficking aimed at eliminating the demand and supply of illicit drugs. In 1997, it also established the National Anti-Drugs Agency, which focused on prevention, enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation.
WILLIAM R. GROWNFIELD ( United States) said drug use, especially rising prescription drug abuse, continued to be a serious problem in his country. But, it had dropped approximately 30 per cent over the past 30 years; the United States had committed $10.3 billion over the past year to programmes for prevention and support of people in recovery, along with an additional $9.2 billion to domestic law enforcement efforts. In response to unprecedented pressure, drug traffickers had adapted and expanded their reach. International cooperation, the keystone for the Organization, was the foundation for defeating those challenges. “Despite the power, ruthlessness and reach of transnational organized crime groups, experience shows that they can be successfully countered. Colombia, after years of violence by terrorist groups and drug cartels, restored public safety, revitalized its economy and strengthened and expanded the rule of law,” he said.
The United States had committed $361 million in assistance to the nations of Central America since 2008, and was also stepping up support to the Caribbean and Central Asian States. As networks increasingly used West Africa to smuggle narcotics to Europe, the region was at more risk of corruption and violence. To counter those criminal networks, the United States had launched a new partnership with several West African nations. Meanwhile, the United States had committed $238 million to support the Afghan Government’s efforts to counter links between narcotics, insurgency and corruption — a critical part of a sustainable transition of security matters. The United States had also contributed $34 million in 2010 to UNODC. “It is critical that all Member States support this institution both politically and financially,” he said.
ODD BERNER MALME ( Norway) said war had declined over the last 25 years, but many now faced cycles of repeated violence from organized criminal groups. “We need to respond in a concerted way. We need to do it effectively. We need to do it right. Acceptance of corruption and corrupt practices makes it possible for criminal groups to operate and grow. We need to do more to end corruption,” he said. Measures to increase transparency and identify illicit financial flows had contributed substantially to Norway’s fight against organized crime; the Financial Action Task Force standards against money-laundering needed to be implemented, he said.
The fight against drugs, organized crime and terrorism, however, needed to take into account human rights and the rule of law. “We do not accept the death penalty for these offences or any denial of offenders’ or victims’ basic rights,” he said. And, while targeting organizers of crime required long-term police work and effective international cooperation, crime also had to be made less profitable by minimizing illegal markets and continuing to focus on the demand side. Norway was also concerned by the spread of drug-related HIV infections among those with drug-dependency problems in prison populations. Evidence-based harm reduction measures needed to be implemented to promote the health and dignity of those persons, in order to stop the spread of HIV among users.
AMIRA FAHMY (Egypt), aligning with the Group of 77 and China, said her country’s first comprehensive plan of action to combat human trafficking, which included capacity-building programmes for law enforcement officials and health-care providers, had recently been launched. It was also working on a national fund for assisting victims of trafficking. Egypt reiterated the need to appoint a focal point within the Secretariat to follow up on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action on Trafficking in Persons. The Egyptian Government considered the implementation of the Convention against Corruption to be of great importance to all States, particularly developing countries. In that context, it highlighted the need to focus on asset recovery. As a frequently targeted State, Egypt would work closely with UNODC to combat illegal trafficking in cultural property. The State remained deeply concerned over trends in the manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants, and reiterated calls for an effective framework for cooperation, mutual legal assistance, data exchange and monitoring of imports and exports.
She further stressed Egypt’s commitment to combating terrorism, but emphasized that efforts must go beyond a reliance on security measures. Rather, those conditions that were conducive to terrorism should be addressed, while drawing linkages between terrorism and any religions, culture or ethnic group must be avoided. Following its revolution of 25 January, Egypt would make full use of the Convention against Corruption to deal with current cases against former Government officials. It was also developing a national action plan for combating corruption and promoting a culture of responsibility and non-tolerance of corruption. Among other actions, it was intensifying its efforts against human trafficking and combating cybercrime, especially when it was used for terrorist purposes.
J0RGE VALERO ( Venezuela) said the fight against drugs must be waged jointly between consumer and producer countries. Cooperation was a necessary and complementary element to all efforts to combat the problem. International and bilateral cooperation must be based on respect for national laws and international instruments. Emphasizing the General Assembly’s competency in those matters, he stressed that the Security Council had no competence whatsoever in dealing with the illicit trafficking of drugs. Noting that Venezuela had become a reference country for the fight against drugs, he said its programmes to curtail the drug trade were as successful as they were sovereign. Among other things, the creation of a national anti-drug fund formed an integral part of Venezuela’s anti-drug strategy.
He went on to say that, as the fifth-ranking country in terms of drug seizure, Venezuela had seized 33,000 kilograms and had eliminated hundreds of small airfields used in the drug trade. On the demand side, over 9,000 interventions had been made. Venezuela disagreed with the “illegitimate” and “unilateral” report of the United States on drugs. The Global Report on Drugs for 2011 indicated that Venezuela had been declared free of those illicit crops used in drug production for the sixth consecutive year. The Venezuelan Government had also entered into alliances with the competent multilateral agencies. In that effort, there was no place for the imposition or domination of one country by another, he stressed.
ALAN SELLOS ( Brazil) said repressive measures would not suffice against crime, if underlying socio-economic factors were not tackled. “Fighting poverty and promoting the social inclusion of vulnerable communities is just as important”, he said. “By creating economic opportunities and empowering people, we prevent them from being lured or victimized by criminal activities.” Crime prevention among vulnerable youth was especially important, and there had been significant headway in promoting citizen participation in Brazilian Government initiatives in areas affected by crime.
But, no possible solution for the world drug problem could be found without the active engagement of the world’s largest consumers of illicit drugs. At its own national level, Brazil had updated legislation and policies to integrate aspects of public health and human rights. The Brazilian Drug Law had followed the same path, establishing a legal difference between traffickers and drug users, and including financing of drug trafficking as a serious crime. Brazil had also been making efforts to strengthen multilateral, regional and subregional cooperation to face the drug problem, focusing on working with its neighbours in Latin America.
DANIIL MOKIN ( Russian Federation) said that, on account of the Organization’s unique legitimacy, the anti-crime activities of the United Nations must be bolstered. He called for the establishment of a unified anti-crime strategy to be enshrined in specialized United Nations bodies, including UNODC. He also called for strengthening of the Organization’s analytic capacity and underlined the need to expand the number of State Parties to the Convention against Corruption. Any review mechanism for the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime should be intergovernmental, unobtrusive and non-politicized, he said. For its part, the Russian Federation supported efforts to combat cybercrime, including through the elaboration of an international convention. It also welcomed the adoption of the Global Plan of Action on human trafficking and the creation of a global trust fund for victims.
He said the Russian Federation was improving its domestic legal foundation to fight human trafficking and had also stepped up training of law enforcement officials. Expressing concern about the drug threat from Afghanistan, he called for stepping up efforts to implement the Paris Pact initiative, which aimed to curb drug flows originating from that country. He called attention to the links between drug production and terrorism in Afghanistan, highlighting Security Council resolutions 1735 (2006), 1822 (2008) and 1904 (2009) in that regard. Resolution 1817 (2008), on strengthening international cooperation in stopping the introduction of precursors for drug production in Afghanistan, must also be implemented. Indeed, the spread of synthetic drugs required an immediate response from the international community.
MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT ( Pakistan) said the increased demand for drugs, cheap labour and the illegal transfer of money in the developed world resulted in increased supply from the developing world. Pakistan, therefore, welcomed and supported the Secretary-General’s call to focus more on consumer countries, who needed to reduce illicit drug use within their own borders to decrease the pull of their strong demand. Pakistan believed in enhanced international cooperation against the drug problem and had made phenomenal gains in eliminating illicit opium crops. However, it continued to suffer as a transit country for drugs.
Pakistan successfully launched a country programme with UNODC last year to cover all facets of the drug problem. It had also contributed to international efforts to stop the outflow of drugs and inflow of precursor chemicals from neighbouring regions. But, the enormity of the drug problem called for comprehensive assistance, including provision of technical equipment to the Triangular Initiative member States. Pakistan had also joined international efforts against money-laundering to curb terrorist financing, but crime, whether international or local, could not be fought without an effective judicial system. Collaborating with the Asian Development Bank, Pakistan had reformed its criminal justice system and made its police force accountable and responsive.
TETSUYA KIMURA ( Japan) said the world community faced three obstacles in coping with those serious crimes: weakened rule of law, weak economies and the vulnerability of individuals. Illicit proceeds from organized crime and drug-related crimes were often used to fund armed conflict, or to bribe corrupt officials, and the resulting damage to the rule of law made fighting crime more difficult. At the same time, lucrative proceeds from those crimes diverted funds from sustainable development and worsened poverty, which tended to further criminal activity. The most vulnerable were often targeted or seduced by criminal syndicates. In that context, multi-pronged measures were required to address corruption and promote sustainable and human resource development. At the international level, Japan applauded the Political Declaration of the Ministers of the Group of 8 adopted on 10 May. That declaration emphasized the common and shared responsibility of producer, consumer and transit countries.
Japan supported the activities of UNODC, he said, noting that it had contributed $11.3 million dollars to its budget in 2010. The majority of that amount was allocated to programmes in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries, on the understanding that drug control in that region was critical to its security and development. The Japanese Government also supported Southeast Asian countries, training personnel and supplying equipment involved in fighting the drug trade. Support was also given to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Japan also jointly operated the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. Japan’s penal code and criminal procedures had been amended to tackle cybercrime. A “zero-tolerance” policy regarding drug-related crimes had also been adopted.
IRINA VELICHKO ( Belarus) said a fundamental activity of international cooperation was the fight against various manifestations of organized crime. The most horrifying aspect of organized crime was trafficking in persons, and Belarus had taken up a number of national efforts, which had been bolstered by international bodies. States could hardly deal with that crime alone, and Belarus was pleased to note that Organization bodies were undertaking the efforts, which were initiated by Belarus during the sixty-fourth General Assembly with the resolution on the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons.
Belarus would also continue to actively cooperate with the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, and was ready to assist by providing information and intelligence wherever it was needed. Strengthening the international legal framework was of utmost importance to counter threats from organized traffickers, she said, urging all Members to adopt measures to curb human trafficking.
TAHA ALAWADHI ( Yemen) stressed that his country was working to combat organized crime. It was convinced that combating corruption was the basis for development and had consequently created a body to curtail that phenomenon. Clearly, drugs posed a security threat to individuals around the world, and Yemen had signed a number of conventions and bilateral protocols to bring those involved in the drug trade to justice. The Yemeni Government considered human trafficking to be a violation of human dignity and had criminalized the trafficking in persons. He reaffirmed the need to protect victims, underlining the need to raise awareness in that regard.
MONIA ALSALEH ( Syria) said effective means must be found to reduce the dangers posed by the drug trade and trafficking in persons, and her country had endeavoured to modernize its own domestic laws to combat both crimes. The Syrian Government welcomed regional and international events on questions related to human trafficking, illegal immigration and the prohibition on trafficking in human organs. Although human trafficking was uncommon in Syria, the Government had, nevertheless, enacted a decree in 2010 to stop that trade and protect its victims. Laws against other emerging crimes had also been adopted, including those against electronic signatures, money-laundering, trafficking in human organs and terrorism.
Highlighting the sophistication of criminal groups, she stressed the need for appropriate responses, including to the creation of specialized police units. To that end, Syria had organized a meeting with Interpol in June 2010. It had also sponsored a workshop on the legal framework for the fight against terrorism. The Syrian Government called for the strengthening of UNODC to allow it to carry out its responsibilities. Finally, it hoped that the United Nations would carry out a study on the root causes of those crimes and analyze options for prevention.
ALFREDO CHUQUIHUARA ( Peru) said drug trafficking also had a negative effect on the environment, as production often caused deforestation, soil degradation and water pollution. It was important to adopt measures of prevention and alternative agriculture projects; production of the coca leaf was a source of income for tens of thousands of Peruvian farmers who had no other means of subsistence. But, Peru’s Government was working to eradicate coca crops and provide other sources of income, in some cases, providing farmers the means to transition towards coffee and cocoa crops.
In 2012, Peru would host a meeting of ministers of foreign affairs and international agencies to improve cooperation against the drug problem. The country had been investing enormous resources from its own budget in the struggle against the global drug problem, but it required more funds to keep up the effort. It was important that developed countries, in particular, consumer countries, adhere to the principle of shared responsibility. International cooperation could also support compilation of more complete data, to produce better analysis and responses to the issue. The only way to combat the drug problem was collective and transparent action. Peru was ready to do its part by exchanging intelligence on transnational crime networks.
KAMEL CHIR ( Algeria) said that, as drug production increased and reached new regions, it impacted new and greater numbers of people, and it was time to demonstrate the international community’s determination to address the issue. In that regard, supply and demand must be addressed simultaneously. The time had also come to establish a mechanism to review the implementation of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Further, the Salvador Declaration, which posited that crime prevention must be part and parcel of all approaches to social and economic development, must be implemented.
Algeria welcomed the Secretary-General’s recommendation on strengthening UNODC, he said. His Government was equally committed to combating money-laundering, urban delinquency, terrorism financing, environmental crime and cybercrime, among other emerging crimes. Further underscoring Algeria’s commitment as a transit country to implementing the drug-related conventions, he said domestic measures were being taken to counter the drug scourge through prevention, treatment and legal mechanisms. Among other things, Algeria welcomed the global action plan to combat human trafficking. Finally, he assured UNODC of his country’s full support and cooperation.
OSCAR LÉON GONZ ( Cuba) said the fight against organized crime required fighting against underdevelopment and also creating a more just and equitable economic order. Respect for sovereignty and the territorial integrity of States was essential, and Cuba rejected any attempt to magnify the phenomenon of organized crime to control other countries. It was not up to the Security Council to deal with those topics, he said. But, of all forms of international organized crime, none had the volume of resources as drug trafficking. Cuba was ready to cooperate in any serious and coherent effort against drug trafficking. Understanding the problem could not be resolved in drug-producing or intermediary countries, but rather must be confronted in big drug consumption hubs.
Lists produced for political and manipulation purposes by the United States State Department were a tool of political pressure to punish Governments that did not go along with the United States, or to justify unilateral actions, such as sanctions against Cuba, he said. The United States itself promoted illegal migration that had caused the death of thousands of Cuban citizens, and many who had confessed to terror acts against the people of Cuba were walking freely on the streets of United States cities. Meanwhile, the United States held five Cuban anti-terror fighters in its prisons. But, Cuba was committed to complying with all its international obligations against organized crime and stood ready to cooperate with any State, including the United States, against terrorism.
WANJUKI MUCHEMI, Solicitor General of Kenya, said crime and drugs were among the factors that hampered the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many countries. Despite international efforts to combat rising crime levels and drug sales, both phenomena were spiralling out of control, and it was necessary to ask if the world community should not change tact and consider a completely novel approach to dealing with those problems. Kenya remained concerned over the continual proliferation of small arms and light weapons in Africa, which fuelled conflict, violence and crimes across the continent. The Horn of Africa was awash in those weapons to particularly devastating effect, and the international community must do more to stem the flow of those deadly weapons. Similarly, the problem of piracy off the coast of East Africa and in the Gulf region posed major challenges to neighbouring countries, and that problem would only be resolved when the conflict in Somalia was ended.
Continuing, he said the implementation of Kenya’s Governance, Justice and Legal Reform Programme signified the Government’s resolve to improve the quality of life of ordinary citizens. Its partnership with UNODC revolved around reviewing the State’s legal framework, supporting the training of law enforcement officers and refurbishing court and prison facilities. Recent judicial reforms had culminated in the inclusion of specific and ambitious constitutional provisions relating to the powers, independence and effectiveness of the judiciary. A supreme court had also been established as the country’s highest court, while various specialized courts had been set up and expanded even in rural areas. Meanwhile, an ethics and anti-corruption act had been enacted, and, with the Government’s revamped anti-corruption body, Kenya was poised to deal firmly with the problem of corruption.
JANICE TAN (Singapore), acknowledging the need for countries to employ anti-drug strategies that best fit their situations, noted the history of drug use in her country from the consumption of opium in the nineteenth century through today’s proliferation of new substances. She said the country’s zero tolerance policy stemmed from its unwillingness to take chances with the negative impact of drugs on its youth and its refusal to take the defeatist position that labelled the drug problem unsolvable. To that end, it adopted an integrated approach that comprised tough legislation, high-profile preventive education, vigorous enforcement and comprehensive treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration programmes for addicts.
Due to that approach, she said, the drug situation had remained under control, despite Singapore’s proximity to the Golden Triangle and methamphetamine production centres. The arrest of drug abusers had been on the decline for 16 years and there were no systemic, large-scale trafficking operations in the country. Noting that Singapore was attractive for drug trans-shipment, she added that the country held international cooperation critical, with its narcotics bureau sharing expertise and information and engaging in joint investigations, operations and training. Her country, she pledged, would continue its efforts to reduce demand and free abusers from their habits, so they can rejoin society without discrimination. It would also continue supporting the efforts of the United Nations and other partners to combat the global problem of addiction.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), aligning with the statement delivered on behalf of the Southern African Development Community, said the fight against crime and corruption was a priority of his Government, due to their negative impact on socio-economic development. “Crimes affect public health, security and the well-being of all humanity, thus jeopardizing our efforts towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said. As the international community collectively addressed that scourge, it was also important to address the root causes, including poverty.
Drug abuse, particularly amongst youth, was also a serious concern, and the South African Police Service was developing strategies to counter diversions of chemicals used to make illicit drugs and dismantle clandestine drug laboratories. South Africa was developing plans to prevent and treat addiction, he said, but there was much work to be done at the subregional and regional levels. UNODC had helped establish the regional programme for Southern Africa.
RAFAEL ARCHONDO ( Bolivia) said his country was reducing coca crops with the help of UNODC, while fully respecting human rights. Bolivia was also destroying illicit crops in national parks, eradicating 7,389 hectares of surplus coca earlier this year. In spite of those internationally recognized efforts by the country, it came as a surprise that the United States had once again this year disregarded Bolivia’s efforts by “decertifying” it. That did not reflect the reality Bolivia put forth at the United Nations. Bolivia stood ready to combat the global drug problem, trafficking and corruption. It was cooperating with neighbouring countries, showing the global drug problem was a shared responsibility.
Bolivia had lodged a complaint against the 1961 Convention on Drugs — a pending issue in the country that needed to be resolved as soon as possible. The chewing of the coca leaf–which was not a narcotic drug—was an age-old ancestral process, part of national identity, he said. In making the complaint, Bolivia had announced it planned to re-adhere to the Convention as soon as the issue had been addressed. To make it clear it was not an attempt to avoid the Convention’s framework, Bolivia had enacted a law that would ensure it continued to fulfil all its provisions.
FAROUK ABDELMOUNAÏM ( Morocco) said his country had created a national commission on the struggle against drugs, while international action had also helped progress through a multidimensional strategy that used laws, systematic eradication of crops and alternative forms of integrated development. All those efforts had drastically reduced production of drugs and cultivation of cannabis in Morocco, he said. But, there was no doubt criminal networks had become a complex transnational reality. Morocco had committed itself to progress against drugs, enacting laws on money-laundering and the fight against corruption, to consolidate good governance in public affairs.
But, Morocco wished to convey its concerns about arms, drug and human trafficking by organized crime groups which threatened the whole Sahelo-Saharan region. Morocco was actively promoting regional initiatives against organized crime, and in November 2011 would host the third conference of security ministers of the region to facilitate cooperation, exchanging experiences and good practices. No country could face the threat of trafficking alone – regional and subregional cooperation against those scourges were required. Morocco hoped UNODC would continue to play its role as coordinator. The international community should strengthen its commitments, so UNODC could work effectively.
* *** *For information media • not an official record