Security Council stresses need for comprehensive global response to tackle piracy

A crew member prepares to board a tanker that was hijacked by pirates in Benin on 24 July 2011. Photo: IRIN/Daniel Hayduk

21 November 2012 – The Security Council today reiterated its condemnation of all acts of piracy and armed robbery against vessels in the waters off the coast of Somalia, and stressed the need for a comprehensive response by the international community to repress the scourge and tackle its root causes.

The 15-member body, in a unanimously adopted resolution, recognized that one of the underlying causes of the problem is “the ongoing instability in Somalia” and underlined the Horn of Africa nation’s primary responsibility in fighting it.

The Council “requests the Somali authorities, with assistance from the Secretary-General and relevant UN entities, to pass a complete set of counter-piracy laws without further delay,” it said in the resolution.

It also called on the Somali authorities to interdict, and upon interdiction to investigate and prosecute pirates and to patrol the territorial waters off the Somali coast to suppress acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea, noting the importance of strengthening the country’s maritime capacity.

In addition, the Council renewed its call on States and regional organizations that have the capacity to do so, to take part in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Somali coast, in particular by deploying naval vessels, arms and military aircraft and through seizures and disposition of boats, vessels, arms and other related equipment used in the commission of such crimes.

The Council also reiterated its decision to continue its consideration, as a matter of urgency, of the establishment of specialized anti-piracy courts in Somalia and other States in the region with substantial international participation and/or support.

Today’s resolution follows a day-long debate in the Council on Monday, at which Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson noted that although there was a sharp decline in pirate attacks in waters off the coast of East Africa this year, compared to 2011, this trend could easily be reversed if the causes of piracy such as instability, lawlessness and ineffective governance are not addressed.

“Combating piracy requires a multi-dimensional approach,” he said. “In Somalia, this has meant stabilizing the country through a Somali-owned process. The new President of Somalia has made an impressive start, but challenges remain significant. We need to move swiftly to support the Government so that it finally can provide the security and peace dividends that Somalis deserve.”

Necessary measures in Somalia to end piracy include focussing on modernizing counter-piracy laws, strengthening capacities for maritime law enforcement and crime investigation, supporting regional networks, as well as knowledge sharing. To do this, Mr. Eliasson stated, Member States, international and regional organizations must continue to build consensus on a joint response.


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