|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-fourth General Assembly
General Assembly Adopts Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons,
Reaffirming Commitment on Protecting Victims, Prosecuting Perpetrators
Delegates Appoint Member to Advisory Committee
On Administrative and Budgetary Questions, as Session Winds Down
The General Assembly this afternoon adopted by consensus, as orally revised, a resolution on the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, deciding also to establish a trust fund for victims, especially women and children.
Working towards the conclusion of its sixty-fourth session, the Assembly also appointed a member to the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ) to fill a seat left vacant through resignation.
The Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons would be launched formally in a one-day, high-level meeting in the near future, the Assembly decided, as the resolution reaffirmed the commitment by Member States to end the “heinous crime”, to protect and assist victims, to prosecute perpetrators and to promote partnerships to strengthen cooperation for those purposes.
By other terms of the text, the Assembly urged Member States, international and regional organizations, and civil society to implement fully the extensive provisions of the Plan, detailed in an annex to the resolution (document A/64/L.64). It also urged Member States that had not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to, as a matter of priority, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children.
Calling for the mainstreaming of anti-trafficking efforts throughout the United Nations system and for the raising of awareness worldwide, the Assembly urged all relevant units of the Organization to coordinate with each other and with other partners, efforts to combat trafficking in persons and to protect the human rights of victims. It requested the Secretary-General to take all necessary measures to ensure the effective operation of the Trust Fund and to include requirements of the Plan of Action into existing obligations to report to the General Assembly under its item on crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Assembly also requested the Secretary-General to strengthen the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), as called for in the Plan, through a reallocation of resources in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013. It requested him to take all necessary measures for a 2013 appraisal of progress on the Plan’s implementation.
Welcoming the resolution’s adoption, Acting Assembly President Leslie Kojo Christian (Ghana), speaking on behalf of President Ali Abdussalam Treki (Libya), recalled that, 60 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights had proclaimed that all humans were born free and that slavery and the slave trade must be prohibited in all their forms. Regrettably, however, millions of people today were victims of a modern form of slavery called human trafficking. “The collective commitment to fight this menace has led to the adoption of this Plan of Action,” he said.
Portugal’s representative, one of the co-facilitators of the negotiations on the resolution, said the Plan was the result of far-reaching negotiations, and translated the will of the General Assembly. Its structure closely followed that of the Palermo Protocol against Trafficking in Persons as part of transnational organized crime, but did not duplicate, replace or divert attention from existing legal instruments. Beyond a law-enforcement perspective, the Global Plan introduced both a human rights element and a social development perspective, both of which were crucial to the fight against trafficking in persons, he said.
Egypt’s representative, speaking on behalf of the African Group, described the adoption of the Global Plan as a “milestone” on the road to ending victimization, prosecuting perpetrators and protecting people from organized crime. “For the first time, we have a universally approved mechanism for coordinating all our efforts, nationally, regionally and internationally,” she said, expressing hope that the Trust Fund for Victims would become operational as soon as possible.
She went on to say that the Global Plan should be fully and effectively implemented by all players, including States and the United Nations, but especially those who had not been visible on the global scene a decade ago, civil society and the private sector among them. It took into consideration the needs of different countries, in a comprehensive manner, whether they were supply, transit or destination countries. It also identified the role of different actors in raising awareness and gathering information.
The representatives of Cape Verde, Venezuela, Cuba, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Philippines, Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Belarus and the Russian Federation stressed that the Action Plan could foster greater multilateral cooperation on fighting trafficking in persons, and would complement existing legal instruments. Cuba’s representative, in addition, specifically rejected unilateral actions or assessments in that area, while his counterpart from Nicaragua said her country would have liked a stronger emphasis on reducing demand for trafficked persons.
Welcoming, on behalf of the European Union, the resolution’s emphasis on the human rights of victims, Belgium’s representative stressed, however, that vigilance was needed to avoid the risks of duplicate reporting obligations or parallel legal standards resulting from the new, non-binding resolution. She emphasized that the primacy of existing legally binding instruments was “beyond doubt”, urging all States that had not yet done so to accede to the Treaty on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol on trafficking.
The representative of the United States agreed with his Belgian counterpart that the emphasis should be on universal accession to the Protocol to the Palermo Treaty on Transnational Organized Crime. Reporting on the Action Plan should therefore be limited to an item in the General Assembly, he said, adding that his country would not support any effort that diverted attention from full implementation of the Palermo Treaty. Colombia’s representative also cautioned against the creation of any parallel structures that would detract from existing legal frameworks.
In the matter of the ACABQ vacancy, Akira Sugiyama was nominated by the Government of Japan and endorsed by the Asian Group to fill a vacancy arising from the resignation of Misako Kaji, also of Japan.
The General Assembly will meet again at a date and time to be announced.
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