ASSEMBLY'S SPECIAL SESSION HEARS CALLS FOR CREATION OF WORLD FUND FOR FIGHT AGAINST DRUGS WITH MONEY OBTAINED FROM SEIZURES OF CRIMINAL PROFITS19980608 Several Speakers Stress Relationship Between Drug Trafficking, Arms Trading and Armed Conflict
The drug problem concerns all countries, thus "no one can throw the first stone", the President of Colombia told this afternoon the General Assembly special session devoted to countering the world drug problem together. Colombia spends more than $1 billion per year, which is 21 per cent of what it would cost to educate all its children, in the fight against drugs. In return, Colombia asks the international community to accept that the drug market has both supply and demand, and that only by addressing all those aspects will real solutions be found.
Global action in the fight against drugs should be based on joint responsibility, comprehensiveness and multilateralism, he said, calling for a world fund for the fight against drugs to be created with some of the money obtained from seizures of property acquired with criminal profits. The international community is striving to develop a joint strategy against the drug problem, which is what Colombia has been requesting for years. Colombia has been condemned and victimized by unilateral measures that, as with all intervention measures which offend sovereignty, must be buried forever. Forty million Colombians, including many widows and orphans, are awaiting the results of this drug summit. A firm commitment from the international community would be like planting flowers of hope on the tombs of those who had died in the struggle.
Several speakers this afternoon stressed the relationship between drug trafficking and arms trading and armed conflict.
President Burhanuddin Rabbani of Afghanistan said that until peace and normalcy are returned, drug production and trafficking will have a progressive trend in Afghanistan. It is only through the implementation of the United Nations initiated peace process that tangible strides for the restoration of peace and normalcy can be taken. Afghanistan called on the international community and financial institutions to help in the campaign for peace, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.
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The linkage between arms and drugs has resulted in an escalation of violence and violent crime that will continue to undermine international peace and security, said K.D. Knight, Minister of National Security and Justice of Jamaica. His Government called on States that produce arms to exercise more rigid control and accountability over the export of weapons for illicit ends. Those countries should exercise the same degree of control over arms that small countries like Jamaica are called on to exercise over the production, cultivation and export of illicit drug crops.
Some political forces used weapons bought with drug money to destabilize ruling governments, said President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea. Citing examples that occurred in his country, he said a ship of armed mercenaries was detained in Angola in May 1997, and there had been violent attacks on 21 January on Bioko island. In the context of those actions, the international community must take measures to prohibit and sanction the banking institutions involved in drug money-laundering.
Also addressing the Assembly this afternoon were the Presidents of Panama, Peru, Chile, Nicaragua, Tajikistan, Romania, Paraguay, El Salvador, and the Prime Ministers of Latvia and of the Bahamas.
Also speaking this afternoon were the Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, the Minister of the Interior of Finland, the Minister of the Interior of Turkey, the Federal Minister of the Interior of Austria, the Minister of Home Affairs of Zimbabwe, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India, and the representative of Antigua and Barbuda.
The special session will meet again at 7 p.m. this evening to continue its general debate on the world drug problem.
Special Session Work Programme
The General Assembly met this afternoon to continue its general debate of its special session devoted to countering the world drug problem together. (For background information, see Press Release GA/9410 of 5 June.)
ERNESTO PEREZ BALLADARES, Constitutional President of Panama: While the major wars of the world are over, the causes and the consequences of another conflict are in sight. That is a war against enemies who often one does not know who they are or the methods they use. Past conflicts are small compared to what is faced today, where every seizure or confiscation is a significant victory. Given Panama's size and limited resources, it has achieved incredible feats in the war against drugs. The commitment which countries take back from here, however, cannot just be limited to implementation of a plan of action.
Each country has a contribution to make and it must do so with the necessary strength and determination to bring about results. The rule of law often offers recourse and protection which criminals twist into technicalities to avoid prosecution. The media also depict corruption and violence as victims who are worthy of compassion. There is need for cooperation among nations. The war on drugs is the only true world war -- and it is that war which is proposed to be waged today against the scourge of the drug trade.
ALBERTO FUJIMORI, President of Peru: Investment in basic infrastructure is needed to ensure that legal economic activities will be profitable. The capacity of the drug-producing countries to consolidate the process of crop substitution is restricted by debt service commitments entailed by their high level of external indebtedness. This is why developed countries should make every effort to support developing countries and to avoid breakdowns in the process that will generate more frustration and poverty and recreate the conditions for a revival of drug trafficking. That means nipping potential supplies in the bud.
Political will must necessarily be translated into financial resources that will allow the programme to be implemented in a sustainable manner and with the required degree of celerity and timeliness. Peru has invited friendly countries to attend a donors round table, to be held in October. The purpose of the meeting is to secure the complementary financial resources required to implement alternative development, prevention and rehabilitation programmes within the context of anti-poverty policies and the sustainable management of natural resources. This will make it possible to obtain credit for the fight against drugs at a much lower cost.
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It should also be feasible to exchange foreign debt for alternative development activities. In this manner, a significant portion of the annual debt service obligations payable by developing countries to the creditor States could be earmarked for specific programmes and activities to facilitate a global strategy to fight illicit drug trafficking. That method of generating resources will involve an indirect type of investment by the creditor States, consistent with the principle of solidarity and shared responsibility.
GUNTARS KRASTS, Prime Minister of Latvia: Latvia is striving to control the problem of drugs through legislation, prevention and enforcement. The difficulty of implementing these measures is compounded by the disastrous legacy of 50 years of Soviet occupation. Latvia is a low-priority country for the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) in regard to drug-related crimes. However, the country is increasingly vulnerable to the illicit drug trade, in part because it is positioned on a two-way highway for illicit drug traffic: natural narcotics such as hashish and poppies move from the Caucasus and Central Asia to the West, while synthetic drugs such as amphetamines move East from Western Europe.
Drug use is increasing in Latvia, as is the level of related criminal activity, often taking the form of organized crime. Latvia's stand on drug control is that demand reduction is as important as reducing supply; it, therefore, attaches great value to early recognition and treatment. Regarding legalization, Latvia's view is that all drugs cause dependence and therefore should not be legalized. Drug control measures should be integrated into other programmes, including alcohol control. In Latvia, alcoholism has created more social and health problems than narcotics use, and the country is thus working to reduce both in a coordinated manner.
Latvia was the first Baltic State to adopt legislation on precursor drugs, and the first to introduce a pre-export notification system of ephedrine. Its Drug Enforcement Bureau has improved its performance in the past few years, with training from the UNDCP. Latvia hosts the Baltic regional office of the UNDCP, and is working to adopt a national drug control strategy plan. However, because of their transnational nature, drug problems must be tackled in a coordinated manner at the bilateral and multilateral levels, with involvement by all Member States. Latvia will continue to support the United Nations as the largest forum to carry out such cooperation.
ARNOLDO ALEMAN LACAYO, President of Nicaragua: The crusade against drugs is not only governmental but should involve all sectors of society constituting a supranational effort to build a common front against the drug trade. The powerful enemies of mankind operate on world scale with immense resources and networks. Their crimes are multinational in range and scope, enormous and daunting, and call for responses that are similar in magnitude.
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The pursuit of justice must be done, however, so that there is no loss of respect or dignity to permit friendly and cordial relations in collaborations between fraternal nations.
Drugs are one of the most serious universal threats. The tendency of the advance of these crimes is usually the increase in violence and criminality. It is hoped that the draft political declaration will be unanimously approved. Nicaragua maintains a continuous effort to comply with all bilateral, multilateral and regional initiatives. It also adheres to the various international conventions on drugs. The challenges are great, but even greater is the decision to face them with courage and fortitude, assured that success will come through the efforts that nations invest in this common struggle for the security, health and well-being of the world's cities and nations.
EDUARDO FREI RUIZ-TAGLE, President of Chile: More than 30 years after the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the legal instrument which encouraged international cooperation in fighting illicit drugs, the balance is negative. The international community has achieved only precarious advances in this work and it has not been able to develop renewed strategies to deal with an ever-changing phenomenon, which undoubtedly has powerful means at its disposal. The international community has constantly asserted that it is essential and urgent to tackle the problem jointly, but it has not been capable of applying this reasoning, or at least not to the necessary extent.
At the Santiago Summit of the Americas, held this year in Chile, a Plan of Action was adopted that defines very specific activities to be executed in the years to come. The Plan of Action recognizes and highlights the necessary commitment on the part of civil society, business and grass-roots organizations to this task. Also at the Summit, the heads of State and government of the Americas affirmed their conviction that abuse in the consumption of drugs calls for preventive and especially educational measures addressed to minors and the most vulnerable groups.
In 1995, Chile promulgated new legislation dealing with the drug problem and new crimes that until then had been non-existent in Chile, such as money- laundering and the diversion of precursors and other chemicals. This modern legal instrument has enabled Chile to tackle the work of suppressing illicit drug trafficking and its associated crimes. In the field of prevention, it established in 1996 a National Fund for the Prevention of Drug Consumption, which includes citizen initiative and participation and encourages responses based on specific needs of vulnerable groups.
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ERNESTO SAMPER PIZANO, President of Colombia: The drug problem concerns all countries; "no one can throw the first stone". Although progress has been made in the fight against drugs, the problem advanced faster than the remedy. Twenty years ago, Colombia was a peaceful country with a healthy economy. The arrival of drugs resulted in drug money taking over honest businesses, contaminating politics and corrupting values. Thousands of persons fell victim to the violence of drugs. No other country has done so much -- and in such lonely circumstances -- to combat drug trafficking. Colombia spends more than $1 billion per year, which is 21 per cent of what it would cost to educate all its children, in that fight. Social crop substitution programmes are being developed. The two largest drug cartels have been dismantled, and more than 9,000 drug traffickers are in prison. Extradition has been re-established so that Colombian nationals can be prosecuted abroad. All of Colombia's seas and skies are electronically surveyed to avoid transport of narcotics.
In return, Colombia asks the international community to accept that the drug market has both supply and demand, and that only by addressing all these aspects will real solutions be found. Global action in the fight against drugs should be based on joint responsibility, comprehensiveness and multilateralism. As an agenda for global action against drugs for the next 10 years, there should be agreement on the elimination of coca, poppy and cannabis crops through environmentally sound programmes, with satellite surveillance systems to verify compliance. Also, such a strategy should include agreements on sea, air and land interdiction, as well as on money- laundering. A world fund for the fight against drugs should be created with some of the money obtained from seizures of property acquired with criminal profits. Such a fund should be aimed at the social substitution of illicit crops, interdiction and prevention of use. Demand reduction through prevention, health and education programmes and agreement on legal cooperation are other elements on which international cooperation should be based.
The international community is striving to develop a joint strategy against the drug problem, which is what Colombia had been requesting for years. Colombia had been condemned and victimized by unilateral measures that -- as with all intervention measures which offend sovereignty -- must be buried forever. He himself had paid dearly and personally as a result of that attitude. The international community must continue to fight against drugs for the stability of its institutions, the transparency of its economies and for a world free from the destructive power of drugs. Forty million of Colombians, including many widows and orphans, are awaiting the results of the drug summit. A firm commitment from the international community would be like planting flowers of hope on the tombs of those who had died in the struggle.
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EMOMALI RAKHMONOV, President of Tajikistan: After gaining independence, Tajikistan was faced with numerous problems. A civil war inflicted huge material and moral damage. While the Government was striving to further the peace process, that had been the result of the wisdom of the Tajik people combined with help from the international community; however, armed groups continue to attempt to undermine those efforts. The country's changing geopolitical position, inadequate protections on the border with Afghanistan, and inadequate technical logistical support of the border mechanisms in trying to control illicit traffic has weakened its ability to combat the drug problem. Drug use has led to an increase of crime, particularly among young people. Growing drug abuse and increase in prices are creating conditions for the establishment of criminal organizations.
In the country's period of transition, the formation of the State is directly connected to the resolute escalation of the struggle against illicit drug trafficking. Tajikistan has prepared a national anti-drug strategy, with both long- and short-term plans of action, and has joined the three United Nations anti-drug conventions. The Drug Control Programme must hasten its development of a strategy to control drugs and crime in Tajikistan, since any further delay will mean that more nationals will be pulled into the drug web. Another matter of priority is the achievement of a solution to the Afghan conflict. Effective measures to halt the flow of drug money into that country will help ease the conflict, since such funds result in heightened instability. Because it lacks centralized authority, Afghanistan has become one of the world's major suppliers.
Tajikistan requires more support to close the channels through which drugs travelled through the country. Urgent measures are required to provide support for furthering the peace process, combating drug activities, improving social and economic conditions and developing an anti-drug safety zone around the country. Concerted and cooperative efforts are needed to combat the most profitable crime in the history of the human race. Tajikistan is open to fruitful cooperation with all international organizations and interested countries. The documents to be adopted, especially the political declaration, will become real tools to combat the dangers of drug abuse.
EMIL CONSTANTINESCU, President of Romania: Since liberation from communist dictatorships and the deepening of the globalization process, Eastern and Central European countries have suddenly become vulnerable. The rapidity with which criminal organizations launch their conquests of new territories is in direct contrast with the forcibly slow rate of institutional development. The protection that the law can offer against the perverse and toxic nature of globalized crime is still fragile and insufficient. Romania has started a threefold process which includes: improving its legal framework, reform of institutions and an intense education programme aimed at preventing the spread of narcotics.
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Romania has ratified all United Nations conventions on drug control and will implement all resolutions adopted at the current session. Only through international cooperation can this world scourge be stopped. Romania's actions in this field have always taken place both within the country and with the close cooperation of its neighbours. After the political changes which occurred in Romania in 1996, it initiated actions against drug trafficking since its roots were growing within the region. Trilateral agreements with regional countries are already in force and more are being forged with other East and Central European States. This year, Bucharest will host the Regional Conference on Drug Trafficking. The establishment of the Initiative of Cooperation of South-East Europe (SECI) has also taken place and one of its purposes is to control the increasing flow of drug trafficking across borders and to close the links to organized crime.
JUAN CARLOS WASMOSY, President of Paraguay: His Government and the people of Paraguay will continue to be firm and resolute allies of the United Nations in combating drugs. That scourge jeopardizes the future development and survival of democratic nations. That fight cannot be successful, however, until there are legitimate democratic governments that can mobilize their citizens for the ideals promoted by the session. Paraguay has been involved in the war against drug trafficking since the beginning, mainly through its involvement with the Rio Group. The challenge continues to be complex due to the new operating methods of organized crime.
At the second meeting of the heads of State of the Americas, held in Santiago in April, the countries of the region adopted a hemispheric strategy to prevent drug problems and related crimes. Cooperation between countries and United Nations technical and specialized agencies will help States deal with the problem at the national level. For its part, Paraguay adopted a national anti-drug strategy in 1996, and in 1997 promulgated a law dealing with money-laundering. Paraguay and its citizens are committed to wage a real struggle against illegal drug trafficking and related crimes.
HUBERT INGRAHAM, Prime Minister of the Bahamas: The escalation in the international trafficking of drugs is being facilitated by the rapid expansion in international trade, improved production technologies and new sophisticated methodologies employed in the transport and sale of illicit drugs. While the Bahamas is not a producer, manufacturer nor major consumer of illicit drugs, it has not been spared the calamities of the drug trade. The islands have become a favoured route for the movement of drugs in the Americas. The imported violence associated with the drug trade, particularly the use of guns, has ravaged the Bahamas. The Bahamas was poorly prepared to confront the effects of the drug trade. The invasion of organized drug criminals quickly overwhelmed the limited resources of the country's police and defence forces.
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On the positive side, as a result of numerous anti-drug measures, the level of drug trafficking through the Bahamas has been substantially reduced. That trend is further strengthened by additional anti-drug legislation against money-laundering. In addition, the number of new drug addicts seeking assistance has declined appreciably. The Government has introduced anti-drug education in schools and in local communities. By 1996, marijuana and cocaine seizure had reached "irreducible levels", and the court dockets contained fewer drug and drug-related cases. Yet, drug criminals have proved to be resilient and have infiltrated small countries throughout the Caribbean and in Central America.
The Bahamas urges all its partners in the anti-drug campaign to resist the temptation to withdraw, or to relocate, critical resources. The international community must maintain its strength in all areas of this fight. The special session will have value only if the Assembly convinces the world that its recommitment to the eradication of drugs is total and absolute.
ARMANDO CALDERON SOL, President of El Salvador: The 1988 United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is one of the most important conventions on narcotics today. Drugs are a global menace that endanger not only the lives and health of citizens, but the cohesion and stability of social structures. The international community demands that a more firm and determining role be taken in preserving the life and health of the world's people. This action should be based on a comprehensive and well-balanced approach to the drug problem that is in line with the principles of the Charter of the Organization. The United Nations must deploy the same strength in the war on drugs as it uses to maintain world peace.
At the legal level, El Salvador's National Assembly is examining constitutional reforms which will facilitate extradition treaties. At the educational level, programmes on prevention are being formulated and realized. At the financial level, there is a project to address money-laundering. Control over the fiscal havens that control money-laundering is necessary. There is also need to enter into a formal commitment to apply the strategies on drugs now being discussed. On the eve of the new millennium this was an opportunity to test the political will of Member States and to work together for the eradication of the drug problem.
TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO, President of Equatorial Guinea: His Government has continued to contribute to the efforts of the international community in the fight against drugs. It has done so by joining the international instruments dealing with drug control and by executing an efficient programme against the proliferation and use of drugs in the country. In 1993, Equatorial Guinea promulgated a law that prohibited the production, sale, consumption and illicit trafficking of drugs. During that same year,
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his Government, along with 10 other members of the Permanent Consultative Committee of the United Nations on Security Affairs in Central Africa, agreed on a compromise measure, which was based on the reinforcement of internal structures that fight illicit drug trafficking nationally and regionally. Those States also decided to act to eliminate all problems connected with the illicit circulation of weapons in Central Africa and money-laundering from drug dealing.
In order to review and treat the world drug programme, Member States must understand the root causes of drug consumption and trafficking. Extreme poverty and feeble social and economic structures in a great number of countries lead to a deviation of labour. In such a situation, workers seek more lucrative jobs, and the production of drugs is far more profitable than simple farming. Therefore, there must be more active participation of the international community in eradicating poverty and illiteracy in the world, particularly in Africa.
Some political forces use weapons bought with drug money to destabilize ruling governments. A ship of armed mercenaries was detained in Angola in May 1997, and there had been violent attacks on 21 January on Bioko island. Those actions had been carried out with the proceeds from drug trafficking. In that context, action must be taken to prohibit and sanction the banking institutions involved in drug money-laundering.
BURHANUDDIN RABBANI, President of Afghanistan: Lack of a consolidated preventive programme and foreign-sponsored proxy wars continue to create suitable conditions for poppy cultivation and expansion of fields in different parts of Afghanistan, particularly in the eastern and southern provinces of the country, currently ruled by the Taliban. Farmers were further inclined by the Taliban to engage in massive poppy cultivation for "addicting infidels" and financing the Taliban war machine. In addition, cross-border drug dealers, working closely with certain regional elements and institutions continue to influence and encourage farmers to grow poppy. Combating illicit production, trafficking and the abuse of drugs is currently one of the most serious problems facing the international community. The phenomenon has transnational dimensions that require an effective and well-coordinated international response, particularly within the United Nations system.
The Government of Afghanistan fails to understand how a United Nations agency, as an executive body, can undertake a political decision and enter into an agreement with a mercenary group, given such a privilege is only reserved for a sovereign State. A mercenary group, which may occupy part of a country, could not be entitled as a legally binding valid party. A blind eye cannot be turned to the symmetry that exists between the extraordinary increase in drug production and the rise of the Taliban. For the first time in the history of Afghanistan, a joint venture with the Taliban in promoting
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poppy cultivation and providing overseas market access and export traffic has been initiated. To finance their war machine, the Taliban are using newly transported refineries inside Afghanistan to transfer raw opium into heroin. This mercenary group continues to defy and violate all international human rights instruments and thwart any peace process.
The magnitude of the drug problem and the collective capacity of the international community to deal with it should be effectively and efficiently coordinated. In this connection, the action of the UNDCP and its role as a system-wide coordinator is commendable. Until the return of peace and normalcy, drug production and trafficking will have a progressive trend in Afghanistan. It is only through the implementation of the United Nations initiated peace process that tangible strides for the restoration of peace and normalcy can be taken. Afghanistan calls upon the international community and financial institutions to help in the campaign for peace, rehabilitation, reconstruction and development.
IZZET RUSTAMOV, Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan: The drug situation in Azerbaijan was complicated by the occupation of 20 per cent of its territory by Armenia and emergence of 1 million refugees and displaced persons. As a result, a 130-kilometre segment of the southern border of Azerbaijan is out of control of its customs, border-guard and other law- enforcement agencies. This situation brings about conditions that make it possible for this territory to be used as a transit route of narcotic drugs into the region and further into Europe. It is common knowledge that there is close interrelation between the narco-business and terrorism, smuggling and illicit arms trade.
Comprehensive measures taken by the leadership of Azerbaijan have facilitated securing stability, enhancing law and order, and decreasing crime in the country. An uncompromising fight against narcotic drug proliferation has brought its results. The last five years have witnessed an increased number of uncovered drug-related crimes and of drug addicts, as well as an increased volume of confiscated illegal drugs. Enhanced assistance to Azerbaijan would contribute to achievement of tangible results in combating illicit drug trafficking, both at the national and regional levels. This assistance is especially important because the border-guard and customs of a young State do not have necessary experience in suppressing drug crimes.
JAN-ERIK ENESTAM, Minister of Interior of Finland: Coming to grips with international organized crime, of which a major share is related to illicit drugs, must be undertaken with instruments permitting the disclosure and confiscation of resources of criminal organizations. These organizations operate increasingly on a worldwide scale when many obstacles still hamper government-to-government cooperation. On the global scale, activities and measures to prevent money-laundering operations should be taken further.
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Finland welcomes the demand reduction declaration as an outstanding achievement. Finnish drug policy remains closely linked with the basic principles of the national welfare policy. Social harm and health damage, connected to drug abuse, are best prevented by influencing peoples' living conditions and life styles. It is especially important to offer the young people sound and gratifying alternatives to drugs. Among other actions, Finland has launched a prevention-network programme. Through the programme, material is being produced in several European countries to be used to balance inappropriate or false information on drugs.
MURAT BASESKIOGLU, Minister of Interior of Turkey: The draft political declaration to be adopted at this session is an expression of the universal commitment to create a more cooperative political climate in the battle against the global menace of drugs. The concept of providing drugs to addicts has serious medical and social consequences that cannot be overlooked. Turkey is concerned that this utilization creates an environment that is permissive to the free supply of drugs and abuse of drugs. Allowing drugs for specific treatment purposes must be accompanied by a firm determination on the parts of governments to reduce demand in their respective countries.
There is a need for more effective demand control policies in developed countries. It would not be realistic to expect international control mechanisms to attain their objectives without reducing demand. There is also a need for more efficient control of precursor substances such as acetic anhydride. Producers should also share responsibility and make every effort to control the export of such substances. Another concern relates to the challenge posed by the closely interconnected threats of illicit drugs, organized crime and international terrorism. The question of coordination within the United Nations system regarding this interlinked problem must be a top priority for the Organization.
Since 1974, Turkey has adopted the world's safest, yet most expensive method of producing poppy straw. To date, there has been no diversion from licit production and Turkey's practice is referred to as an exemplary way of producing opiate raw material by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
KARL SCHLOGL, Federal Minister of the Interior of Austria: Austria, compared to other more affected countries, has remained relatively untouched by serious drug-related crimes. Austrian authorities have largely managed to come to grips with dangerous developments at an early stage. The credit for that success was not only of Austrian law enforcement institutions. The most significant reason for the low rate of drug-related crimes is the fact that Austria has seen social stability and continuous economic growth over the past five decades. A society that is marked by solidarity and prosperity provides
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the best basis for a successful multisectoral policy against drug-related crimes and drug abuse.
Austrian drug policy is based on a "two-pillar mode". While fighting drug-related crimes in an efficient manner, the Government feels the drug problem cannot be solved by law enforcement alone. Addiction and dependence are primarily medical problems which require a medical as well as a therapeutic approach. As an alternative to penalty, the concept of therapy instead of punishment for drug addicts is part of the Austrian anti-drug strategy. The drug addict is provisionally given the chance of treatment, with the aim of full social integration. With regard to crimes related to drug dealing, however, criminal law is fully applied.
DUMISO DABENGWA, Minister of Home Affairs of Zimbabwe: The fact that some countries are producers while others are transit points or the source of markets does not make any difference. The international community must cooperate in the fight against drugs. Zimbabwe and the southern African region have taken a number of steps to deal with production, distribution and abuse of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Zimbabwe has ratified the three United Nations conventions and is a signatory to the 1996 Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Combating Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking. It hosts the Southern Africa Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization, which fosters regional cooperation in the fight against cross-border crime. In 1997, a framework for the development of a national drug control master plan was formulated, with input from governmental, non-governmental and international organizations. The plan is to be in place by the end of 1998.
Other States should implement similar measures, and existing regional and international frameworks will be strengthened and buttressed by the continuous training of drug enforcement agents. Zimbabwe is formulating a drug law enforcement strategy to improve coordination and cooperation at national, regional and international levels. In Zimbabwe, cannabis is the biggest problem in terms of abuse and trafficking. Regrettably, it is legal in most developed countries. The elimination of cannabis as an illicit cultivated crop should be included in the general global strategy.
K.D. KNIGHT, Minister of National Security and Justice of Jamaica: The linkage between arms and drugs has resulted in an escalation of violence and violent crime. That will continue to seriously undermine the stability of individual States as well as international peace and security. The multinational character of drug organizations, the significant resources available to them, and the movement of drugs and guns across borders have made the problem even more complex. Jamaica calls on those States which are producers of arms to exercise more rigid control and accountability over the export of arms for illicit ends. They should exercise the same degree of
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control over arms that small countries like Jamaica are called on to exercise over the production, cultivation and export of illicit drug crops.
Sustainable programmes for alternative development and crop substitution must be put in place to complement crop eradication exercises. That would ensure that producers of illicit drugs are given a reasonable opportunity to sustain themselves and their families legitimately. The involvement of farmers in drug crop cultivation is exacerbated by a combination of poverty and the negative impact of the international trading system on the traditional agricultural sectors in their countries. His Government urged the international community to back alternative development with tangible, practical support and innovative programmes. Failure to do so will render as meaningless action in law enforcement, judicial cooperation and crop eradication.
Developing countries rarely have the necessary resources to effectively provide treatment for drug addicts. In addition, violence, the disintegration of families and social relationships negatively affect the quality of life of many communities. Countries like Jamaica need international assistance in order to take advantage of the exchange of information and technical expertise at the international level.
JASWANT SINGH, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India: The world drug problem has grown in such gravity that piecemeal measures are not sufficient. The challenge posed by drugs can only be tackled through international cooperation, and the Assembly was the only forum through which it could be achieved. The illicit production and trafficking of drug affects all countries, regardless of the level of development. Unless the countries of the North and the South cooperate, both regions will be devastated. Perhaps that is why the special session is the only session of the Assembly in recent memory where there is complete agreement on the documents before it. Those texts provide an impetus for further action in the fields of demand reduction and money-laundering. Member States must now translate that consensus into effective international action.
The international community must commit to enforcing national supply reduction efforts. States must be willing to implement the international laws and conventions already in place. The Assembly must take a firm stand against all illicit cultivation. There also should be assistance to the developing countries ravaged by drugs and in need of help in order to stand up to a problem of such magnitude. There is also a need to effect legislation against terrorism and the financial crime of money-laundering, which undermines growth and development. There should be an exchange of information between national authorities. In addition, States must not forget to undertake interventions to tackle problems that stem from the use of drugs, including rehabilitation.
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India calls on all Member States to renew their commitment to fight against drugs in the spirit of shared responsibility, mutual assistance and sharing.
PATRICK LEWIS (Antigua and Barbuda): The entire Caribbean region, and small States worldwide, face challenges associated with geographical location, territorial security and poverty. Geography combined with supply and demand have conspired to place the Caribbean on the frontline of the drug trade as transshipment States. The Caribbean comprises five different judicial systems and 2,000 islands. No engineer could have devised a better system for manufacturing and distribution. Governments are forced to shift limited resources from development priorities to law enforcement and rehabilitation. Small island developing and low-lying coastal States of the Caribbean have inadequate defences against the vast resources of drug traffickers.
Caribbean countries that introduced an off-shore financial services sector did so in response to the need to diversify their economies in the face of globalization and trade liberalization. These States are being told they must again adjust their economic policies to encompass alternative development programmes. Yet, when they choose the financial services sector, they are labelled as havens for money-launderers and corruption, and steps are taken to undermine and limit their competitive advantage. That approach is not conducive to partnership and mutual respect. Collaboration, information exchange and technical support are needed to assist States in ensuring that their financial services sector is not abused. Antigua and Barbuda supports the United Nations agenda on drug control for the coming century. By sharing experiences and uniting efforts, the international community presents a formidable obstacle to drug traffickers and abusers.
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