PANEL ON TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AND TERRORISM TO BE HELD ON 8 JULY

7 July 2003
Note No. 5800

PANEL ON TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AND TERRORISM TO BE HELD ON 8 JULY

07/07/2003
Press ReleaseNote No. 5800

Note to Correspondents

PANEL ON TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AND TERRORISM TO BE HELD ON 8 JULY

A panel discussion on the International Rule of Law and Multilateral Treaties against Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism, will take place tomorrow from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at United Nations Headquarters in Conference Room 1.  The panel is in preparation for the annual treaty event that will take place during the general debate of the fifty-eighth General Assembly in September.

Jointly organized by the Treaty Section of the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the panel discussion, led by representatives from Italy, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Germany, will explore the use of international law as a potent weapon against international crime rings and terrorism.

The treaty event, scheduled for 23-26 September this year, -- entitled “Focus 2003:  Multilateral Treaties against Transnational Organized Crime and Terrorism” —- will emphasize that transnational crimes and terrorism cross borders and threaten all countries -- large and small, rich and poor.  Intended to highlight the persistent problems of transnational organized crime and terrorism, it is hoped the event will also encourage international cooperation in combating such threats to civilized society.  Secretary-General Kofi Annan has invited all United Nations Member States to participate.

The 8 July panel has been planned as an early kick-off for the September event.  It will call attention and provide answers to technical questions regarding the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols.

Moderated by Ralph Zacklin, Assistant Secretary-General of the Office of Legal Affairs and Deputy Legal Counsel, it will feature the following speakers:

-- JudgeGualtiero Michelini, Court Magistrate, Rome Court;

-- Ambassador A. Rohan Perera, Legal Adviser, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, and Chairman of the United Nations Ad-hoc Committee on the Elimination of International Terrorism;

-- Mr. Shaukat Umer, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Pakistan to the United Nations Office at Geneva; and

-- Ambassador Dr. Georg Witschel, Federal Government Commissioner for Combating International Terrorism, German Foreign Office.

Secretary-General Kofi Annan is the depositary of over 500 multilateral treaties that cover the spectrum of inter-State activity, from disarmament, human rights, the law of the sea, outer space, trade and the environment, to transnational organized crime and terrorism.  The Secretary-General has consistently made the strengthening of the international rule of law and the maintenance of the multilateral treaty framework a priority for the Organization.

At the Millennium Summit, he first invited Member States to participate in a treaty event to encourage them to ratify or accede to treaties.  The first event was “An Invitation to Universal Participation”.  Since then, the treaty event has become an annual event —- theme-based, and intended to raise awareness about a particular area of international law.

In 2001, treaties on the rights of women and children were the focus.  In November of that year, in the aftermath of 11 September, the Secretary-General invited Member States to participate in a special event highlighting multilateral treaties against terrorism.

The following year, “Focus 2002:  Sustainable Development” was held in parallel with the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.

For further information, please contact Ellen McGuffie of the United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.: 212-963-0499; or Palitha T.B. Kohona, Chief of the Treaty Section, United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, tel.: 212-963-5048.

Summary of ratifications (as of 3 July 2003)

International instrument                                                      Signature                     Ratification

UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime       147                                            40

Protocol on trafficking in persons                                             117                                            29

Protocol against the smuggling of migrants                            112                                            28

Protocol against illicit firearms                                                    52                                               4

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For information media. Not an official record.