Struggle against Organized Crime, Corruption, Drug Trafficking Connected; Too Big for Countries to Confront on Their Own, Third Committee Told

6 October 2010
GA/SHC/3975

Struggle against Organized Crime, Corruption, Drug Trafficking Connected; Too Big for Countries to Confront on Their Own, Third Committee Told

6 October 2010
General Assembly
GA/SHC/3975
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Third Committee

5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)

Struggle against Organized Crime, Corruption, Drug Trafficking Connected;

 

Too Big for Countries to Confront on Their Own, Third Committee Told

 

Executive Director of UN Office on Drugs and Crime Addresses Committee;

Says Office Deals with ‘Crucial’ Global Challenges, Needs Sustainable Funding

The struggle against organized crime, corruption and trafficking in illicit drugs and human beings is too big for any one country to tackle alone, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today, as he appealed to Member States for sustainable funding to enable his Office to fulfil its mandates.

Speaking at the start of the Committee’s general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control, Mr. Fedotov, who was appointed to Head the Office in July, said the challenges posed by illicit drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism were an integral part of the United Nations development and security agenda.  “Development needs security to succeed,” he said.  “It needs solid, functioning institutions, grounded in the rule of law.”

“All these issues are connected, so we cannot address them in isolation,” he added.  “They are also transnational — and they are too big for countries to confront on their own.”

Organized crime and corrupt institutions could only be challenged if States displayed a collective will to do so, he said, calling for a redoubling of efforts to implement the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption.  He also welcomed the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons that was adopted by the General Assembly on 30 July 2010 and the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking, which is to be launched in New York next month.

The global challenges the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) addressed were all “crucial concerns’ and among the priorities set out by the Secretary-General in his strategic framework for 2010-2011, yet the General Assembly allocated “less than one per cent” of the regular budget of the United Nations to the Office, Mr. Fedotov said.  “If the threats to development and security that we are tackling are so urgent, then surely UNODC requires a large share of the United Nations regular budget,” he added, as he appealed for a funding model that would be “sustainable, predictable and stable”.

Delegations from 31 Member States took the opportunity to speak during today’s general discussion, with corruption, drug trafficking and human trafficking among the issues raised in their remarks.

The representative of Afghanistan, whose country is identified as a leading source of opium, said narcotics were an international problem that needed to be addressed through international and regional efforts.  The Government of Afghanistan was committed to fighting drugs, and it had done much in past years, but had much left to accomplish, and because production of drugs was linked to terrorism and extremist activities, the two issues needed to be tackled in tandem, he said.

The representative of Mexico called on all Governments to redouble their efforts in a collective struggle against drug trafficking, with comprehensive strategies aimed at reducing the supply and consumption of illicit drugs and addressing related crimes, such as money-laundering and arms trafficking.  Mexico would be presenting an omnibus draft resolution on the issue during the current General Assembly session, he added.

Cybercrime was mentioned by some delegations, with the representative of the Republic of Korea citing the use of social networking tools for a variety of crimes, including sexual offences and bullying.  Her counterpart from the Russian Federation, speaking in a national capacity, suggested that States consider a universal convention on cyber crime.

Also speaking today were the representatives of Belgium (on behalf of the European Union), Jamaica (on behalf of Caribbean Community), Swaziland (on behalf of the Southern African Development Communities), Russian Federation (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent states), Kazakhstan (on behalf of the Cooperation and Security Treaty Organization), United States, Liechtenstein, Egypt, China, Sudan, Cuba, Israel, Brazil, Costa Rica, Iran, Japan, Nicaragua, Thailand, Norway, Malaysia, Kenya, Belarus, Ukraine, Bolivia, Syria, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, and Algeria.

Mr. Fedotov engaged in a short question-and-answer session with the Committee, responding to questions relating to human trafficking, the health perspective on drug use, and assistance to criminal justice systems in Africa.

The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Thursday, 7 October, to conclude its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.

Background

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 report of the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/65/114), which serves as the entry point for technical assistance on crime prevention provided by international networks to Africa.  It outlines the programmes and operations of the Institute and illustrates the ways in which it is seeking to meet the needs of its member States.  Africa suffers from factors that impede its ability to detect crime, enabling criminal bands to operate in mainstream public services, the report states.  Calls have thus been made for a review of law-enforcement procedures and in legislation, correction systems and criminal justice systems.  More and more, good governance in Africa is understood to be personal responsibility and collective accountability, enhancing the view that the rule of law is a prerequisite for development.  Fighting crimes requires international national, regional and international strategies rooted in global cooperation.

The report sketches out initiatives undertaken in such countries as Rwanda, where efforts are underway to reactivate traditional justice systems driven by community norms, and Nigeria and Uganda, where a focus is beginning to be placed on raising awareness about human trafficking.   The Institute has also been active in setting up training courses on topics as varied as community corrections, irregularities in academic examinations, human rights and peacekeeping.  The report notes how socio-economic development in Africa was constantly being compromised by crime, and how transnational organized crime on the continent is becoming more sophisticated and more entrenched.  Preventing crime in Africa requires more skills, knowledge and expertise.  The nations of Africa needed the capacity to protect their populations and to sustain development and progress; the Institute was a major player in accomplishing that task.

Also before the Committee was the report of the nineteenth session (4 December 2009 and 17-21 May 2010) of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document E/2010/30 Supplement No. 10) summarizing the work of the Commission.  It includes draft resolutions to be recommended by the Economic and Social Council for adoption by the General Assembly concerning violence against women, women prisoners, realignment of the functions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  Draft resolutions for adoption by the Council regarding trafficking in cultural property and programme development at UNODC also feature in the report, along with matters brought to the Council’s attention on such topics as maritime policy off the coast of Somalia and international cooperation in forensics.  In addition, the report summarises deliberations, as well as action taken by the Commission, on such issues as trafficking in cultural property, world crime trends and United Nations standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice.

Also before the Committee was the report of the Secretary-General on technical assistance for implementing the international conventions and protocols related to terrorism (document A/65/91), which details the work of the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in delivering technical assistance to counter terrorism.  It notes how technical assistance was extended to 81 countries between 1 January 2009 and 30 April 2010, a period during which 25 regional and subregional workshops took place.  Requests for assistance received by the Branch have demonstrated a need for more sustained capacity-building, as well as a need for expertise in such areas as nuclear, chemical and biological terrorism, maritime issues, financing of terrorism and the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes.  There is demand, as well, for comprehensive packages of assistance to enable criminal justice practitioners to deal with a range of crimes that might be terrorist-linked.  In addition, the report says the Branch should provide assistance relating to support for victims of terrorism, and make greater use of online and computer-based courses.  However, despite invaluable voluntary contributions from donor countries, the current level of resources is inadequate to meet a growing number of requests for assistance; member States should therefore provide sufficient resources to make the Branch’s work sustainable.

The report of the Secretary-General 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/65/116) summarizes the support provided by that Office (UNODC) to Member States in their efforts to counter transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism, as well as to prevent crime and reinforce criminal justice systems.  It contains information on efforts to strengthen the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, with a focus on the role of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  It includes information on emerging policy issues, responses thereto and recommendations aimed at enhancing the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, such as: encouraging Member States to develop integrated regional programmes addressing key challenges and priorities in countering organized crime and corruption; building on the West Africa Coast Initiative, involving UNODC, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Department of Political Affairs of the Secretariat and INTERPOL, as a model to be replicated in specific regions, such as Central America, to address crime and violence at the regional level; and ensuring that UNODC has sufficient resources to carry out its mandate.

Also before the Committee was the report of the Secretary-General on improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/65/113).  The report summarizes the work done by UNODC on the implementation of resolution 64/178, titled “Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons,” including information about UNODC-organized meetings of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group on Trafficking in Persons, which was created in Tokyo in September 2006.  It includes information concerning a global plan of action on preventing trafficking in persons, prosecuting traffickers and protecting and assisting victims of trafficking.  It also contains input from regional organizations on challenges experienced and best practices in coordinating efforts to prevent and combat trafficking in persons, as well as proposals on strengthening the capacities of the Office for the efficient implementation of its coordination functions.  The report concludes by reiterating the request to provide the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme with sufficient resources for the full implementation of its mandates on combating trafficking in persons and adequate support to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, as well as by inviting Member States to provide voluntary contributions and an increased level of regular budget resources to UNODC for the purpose of providing assistance to Member States upon request.

The Committee had before it the report of the Secretary-General on the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/65/92).  The report highlights the main features of the Twelfth Congress, which was held in Salvador, Brazil, from 12 to 19 April 2010, and focused on the theme of “Comprehensive strategies for global challenges: crime prevention and criminal justice systems and their development in a changing world”.  The broad agenda of the Congress provided a platform enabling the international community to take stock of the world crime situation and to assess its preparedness to deal with related challenges, particularly with emerging crime threats.  The report includes discussions on the substantive items on the agenda and the outcome of the workshops held within the framework of the Congress, as well as the adoption of the Salvador Declaration on Comprehensive Strategies for Global Challenges: Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Systems and Their Development in a Changing World.  The report also contains a summary of the deliberations on the conclusions and recommendations of the Twelfth Congress that took place during the nineteenth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.  Some of the recurrent conclusions drawn from Congress discussions were related to the urgent need to address the root causes of crime and adopt comprehensive crime prevention strategies; and to the priority that crime prevention interventions should accord to the needs of victims of crime, so as to reduce re-victimization and repeat offending.

The Committee had before it a letter dated 8 July 2010 from the Charge d’affaires a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Namibia to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/65/89), transmitting four resolutions adopted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly held in Bangkok on 1 April 2010.

The Committee had before it a note from the Secretariat on realignment of the functions of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and changes to the strategic framework (A/C.3/65/L.2) conveying a resolution of the Economic and Social Council of 22 July 2010 which noted with concern the financial situation of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and requested the Secretary-General, in his proposed programme budget for the biennium 2012-2013, to devote due attention to its resource requirements.

The report of the Secretary-General on International cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/65/93) provided 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.  It also provides an overview of the world drug situation, concluding that it continues to be significant and undermines sustainable development, political stability and democratic institutions, and that Member States have an obligation to continue to invest in drug control and take further action in the years to come.  The report offers numerous conclusions and recommendations, emphasizing effective prevention, early interventions, and a multidisciplinary approach as elements of drug demand reduction policies.

It states that Member States should upgrade their preventive interventions and integrate drug treatment into public health programmes; carry out drug abuse prevention training in various settings (the school, the family and the community, as well as through the media); address the menace posed by drug trafficking and organized crime; implement the United Nations drug control conventions while strengthening the rule of law in countries vulnerable to the production and trafficking of illicit drugs; institute intelligence-sharing as a way of strengthening sovereignty, not surrendering it; continue to strengthen the global effort in preventing the diversion of precursor chemicals for the manufacturing of drugs; continue to strengthen drug data collection activities and reporting to the United Nations through periodic questionnaires and reports on individual seizures; and commit resources to help developing countries to design and improve systems for the generation, management, analysis, reporting and use of information on illicit drugs necessary for policy and programme development.

Also before the Committee were notes by the Secretariat on strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice responses to violence against women (document A/C.3/65/L.4), United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules) (document A/C.3/65/L.5) and Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/C.3/65/L.6) recommending to the General Assembly the adoption of draft resolutions from the Economic and Social Council on those three topics.

Statement by Executive Director

YURY FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said the global challenges his Office addressed — drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism — were an integral part of the United Nations development and security agenda.  For development to succeed, it needed security.  “It needs solid, functioning institutions grounded in the rule of law,” he said.  No one was above the law and everyone was entitled access to justice and basic human rights.  The rule of law held States together, ensuring security and stability.  A commitment to human rights and the rule of law was at the core of all the Office’s mandates.  UNODC advocated a preventive approach to protect individuals, families and communities from organized crime, drugs, trafficking, smuggling, terrorism and other forms of violence.  It also supported the building of effective, transparent and accountable systems of criminal justice.

Research, implementation of relevant conventions and operations in the field were the indivisible pillars of the work of UNODC, Mr. Fedotov said.  Its work focused on putting a stop to organized crime and trafficking in illicit drugs, weapons and human beings, building up criminal justice systems and preventing crime, tackling corruption, preventing drug use and the spread of HIV among vulnerable groups and preventing terrorism.  Those were interconnected and transnational issues that were too big for countries to confront on their own.

In June 2010, the first comprehensive global threat assessment of transnational organized crime had been released by UNODC.  It showed that organized crime “has gone global and is now one of the world’s foremost economic and armed powers”, he said.  “Organized crime and corrupt institutions can be challenged only if countries display a collective will to confront them.”  Collective efforts needed to be redoubled to ensure the effective implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption.  The United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, adopted by the General Assembly on 30 July 2010, had been an impressive achievement, as was the establishment of the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking that was to be launched in New York in November.  The focus of such anti-human trafficking was on people; the victims of trafficking should not be treated as criminals, even if they were forced to engage in criminal acts.

UNODC, likewise, considered universal access to prevention, treatment, care and support for drug users as a human right, he said.  Illicit drugs use and dependence should be considered a health issue, not a crime.  “The real criminals are the drug traffickers,” he said.  Similarly, HIV was a public health issue, which drug use was helping spread in many parts of the world.  Drug use tied into global security when drug traffickers took advantage of instability, poverty, lawlessness and corruption to carry out their business.  “Just look at Afghanistan,” he said.  As underscored by the 2010 Afghanistan Opium Survey, the link there between opium-poppy cultivation and insecurity remained strong, and insecurity in that country impacted on the wider region and beyond.  The international community must help Afghanistan to expand the rule of law and security throughout the country.

“But we must also not forget the consumer side of opium’s deadly equation,” he continued.  Without a reduction in the demand for opium and heroin, interventions against supply would remain ineffective.   There will always be another farmer to replace the one who stopped growing poppies and another trafficker to replace the one who was caught.  Preventing terrorism was another important task for his Office, which had in place a global programme that assisted 168 countries to improve their capacity to counter terrorism and provided training to more than 10,000 criminal justice officials.

The demand for assistance had continued to grow at a pace that outstripped available resources, he added, and the global challenges that UNODC addressed were among the eight priorities identified by the Secretary-General in his strategic framework for 2010-2011.  Yet, the General Assembly allocated less than 1 per cent of the regular budget of the United Nations to the Office.  “If the threats to development and security that we are tackling are so urgent, then surely UNODC requires a larger share of the [United Nations] regular budget,” he said.  It needed a funding model that was sustainable, predictable and stable, combining additional regular budget resources with voluntary contributions.  Last year, the General Assembly had expressed concern about the Office’s financial structure when it adopted the budget and he appreciated the resolution of the Fifth Committee (Administrative and Budgetary) looking at ways to ensure UNODC had a sound funding basis.  In the meantime, the Office would be building on reforms implemented in recent years, so as to ensure good value for money, including a robust independent evaluation mechanism.  “Our motto should be: spend less, achieve more,” he said, asking for support in that effort.

Question and Answer Session

The representative of Afghanistan commented that the issue of narcotics was an international problem and addressing it required international and regional efforts.  The Government of Afghanistan was committed to fighting drugs and had done much in past years, but had much left to accomplish.  Twenty provinces in Afghanistan were poppy-free and the Government hoped that that number would increase.  He reserved the right to speak at a later stage.

The representative of Malaysia posed two questions to the Executive Director.  First, while welcoming the recent launch of the global plan of action regarding trafficking, to have value it needed to complement existing conventions.  How did the Executive Director see the further conceptualization of his role in order for the plan to bear fruit?  Second, concerning the health perspective in drug use, he said his country supported such efforts as drug substitution through methadone and clean needle provision, but that the trafficking of opium and the use of amphetamines remained a problem.  So how should these problems be addressed?

The representative of Sierra Leone, commenting on one of the Secretary-General’s reports that mentioned projects to assist States in providing legal aid to the criminal justice systems of three countries in Africa, asked whether the projects would be available to additional African countries and what criteria the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) would be using to determine this?

The representative of Zambia asked what the Executive Director’s office had done since the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking Conference, which was held in 2008, and whether it has followed up on any conclusions or recommendations?

Responding, Mr. FEDOTOV, stated that he would do his best to build on the achievements of his predecessors, bearing in mind that the Office faced global challenges that required unity to counteract.  He said that the recent opium survey issued last week underscored the relationship between security and drug cultivation.  He agreed with the Afghanistan representative’s statement that 20 provinces in Afghanistan were poppy free and might soon be joined by four additional provinces.  He explained that the major production of opium in Afghanistan was concentrated in the south of the country, which was also an area of instability and a high level of criminal activity.

Regarding human trafficking, he discussed the added value of the global plan of action, saying that it contributed to the global effort to fight crime, and mainstreamed the issue by involving more countries and international cooperation.  Emphasizing the need to improve cooperation and to continue coordinated initiatives, he said that the launch of the new global fund against human trafficking in New York in the beginning of November would help not only to raise voluntary contributions to the fund, but also to make the matter a high priority for governments throughout the world.

Concerning regional priorities, he said that Afghanistan was one example, but that other areas were also a priority, such as Central and Latin America, South-East Asia and West Africa, where countries needed help in improving their criminal justice systems and, given that many were emerging from conflict, help in ensuring that the rule of law and human rights prevailed there.

He concluded by saying that he hoped the meeting would help the Office to fine-tune its policies.

Statements

NICOLAS BURNIAT (Belgium), speaking on behalf of the European Union, described transnational organized crime as a global phenomenon that needed to be tackled in a holistic and integrated manner at all levels.  Within the European Union, the Stockholm Programme was a crucial tool for augmenting joint efforts in the realms of civil protection, police, customs and border control.  To succeed, however, it required a deeper partnership with third countries, and the European Union was committed to that objective.  The Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Additional Protocols were primary tools for international cooperation; all States should use their potential to the fullest.

Human trafficking was one of the most hideous forms of transnational organized crime, and the European Union was determined to fight it forcefully, Mr. Burniat said.  International cooperation was crucial, with the Convention and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, serving as cornerstones.  The recently adopted Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons had drawn much attention to that shameful crime, and the European Union hoped that awareness would be raised within the United Nations system, the business sector, civil society and the media.

Corruption in the public and private sectors were detrimental to good governance and sustainable development, he said.  The review mechanism established for the Convention against Corruption was a breakthrough in the common fight against corruption.  Terrorism was another global scourge; fighting it while respecting human rights, international humanitarian law and refugee law was a priority for the European Union, which stood ready to contribute to the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism strategy.

Turning to illicit drugs, he said the development of drug consumption within countries of production and transit was particularly worrisome, as it contributed to making the problem even more acute.  Near-universal adherence to the International Drug Control treaties was welcome, and the fight against drug abuse and drug trafficking must fully respect of fundamental freedoms and human rights.  Initiatives to build institutional capacity and improve the skills of national experts should be undertaken in all regions.  Efforts to reduce demand for drugs also need to be strengthened through policies aimed at preventing drug use, facilitating access to treatment and rehabilitation, and establishing effective measures to reduce the health and social consequences of drug abuse.

RAYMOND WOLFE ( Jamaica), on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) welcomed the Report’s recommendations and joined the call for strengthening the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to combat organized crime, corruption, human trafficking and terrorism.  The scourges of the illicit trade in narcotics, as well as small arms and light weapons, constituted a major threat to development in the Caribbean.  The region did not produce weapons or ammunition, he said, yet a startling volume of those weapons had emerged.  The region’s porous borders made it an easy conduit for shipping illicit drugs, and countries were forced to divert scarce resources to tackle the attendant crime and violence.

Shootings, armed robberies and gang related murders had increased across the Caribbean, he said.  Assistance from regional and international partners was crucial to tackle the transnational nature of organized crime gripping the region.  The Caribbean Community intended to table a resolution on youth, guns, drugs and crime and believed it would be a timely addition to the United Nations agenda during the current international year of youth.  The Community had established strategic partnerships with third States and regional and international agencies to address its critical security issues and, since 2008, had agreed on a plan of action for maritime and airspace cooperation, intelligence sharing and measures against weapons, drugs and crime.

Jamaica itself had begun to increase partnerships among all domestic stakeholders with the goal of improving collaboration across public, private and non-governmental sectors to fight crime and violence, he said.  The Community’s Member States were also aware addressing the region’s problems, which required them to adopt common coordinated approaches. The situation was daunting and they lacked institutional and financial capacity, but the Community was resolved to destroy the infestation in its societies and dismantle large, powerful organized criminal networks.  The recent High-level meeting on Transnational Organized Crime and the Fourth Review on Small Arms and Light Weapons reinforced the need to implement measures to curtail the growing threats.

ZWELETHU MNISI (Swaziland), on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said SADC attached great importance to the global fight against transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, terrorism and corruption, and had established a number of organizations whose functioning was vital to that fight, including the key law enforcement association in the region, the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO), and the subregional bureau for Southern Africa of the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL).  SADC recognized that trafficking in persons continued to pose a serious challenge to humanity, and promoted the adoption of the new United Nations Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Person in July 2010, which considered the needs of supply, transit and destination countries and detailed the efforts to be undertaken by Member States.  SADC’s regional efforts also included the adoption of a strategic plan of action on combating trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Additionally, he said, SADC recognized the detrimental effects of corruption on economic and political growth, having signed the SADC Protocol against Corruption.  He also noted with concern, the economic and security threat posed by piracy in the coastal waters of SADC Member States, saying it would be sending a team of technical experts to make recommendations regarding the problem.  Recognizing the central role of UNODC in suppressing crime through technical assistance, SADC expressed concern about the increase in the manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants and the indoor cultivation of cannabis, welcomed measures taken on the national, regional and continental level to curb drug abuse and illicit trafficking, noted that SADC countries had ratified three international drug-control conventions providing an international framework for drug control, and expressed hope that progress would be made in the remaining implementation period of the African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control and Crime Prevention (2007-2012).

He said SADC organs, including SARPCCO, continued to work with INTERPOL to conduct joint operations and meetings, and to formulate policies and strategies regarding the drug problem.  SADC had developed a framework that included elements such as enhanced information gathering and sharing, promotion of community-based prevention initiatives regarding drugs, increased awareness campaigns, targeted support for law enforcement officers and strengthening treatment and rehabilitation.  Stating that the world drug problem was a common and shared responsibility, he said SADC supported the recommendation of the Secretary-General for assistance in strengthening the rule of law for countries vulnerable to the production and trafficking of drugs, information sharing and intelligence-led operations and the commitment of resources to help developing countries with policy and programme development.

DANIIL V. MOKIN (Russian Federation), on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), spoke about the importance of regional efforts and the need to step up countermeasures against crime, while strengthening the coordination role of the United Nations.  He reconfirmed the Commonwealth’s obligations to relevant United Nations decisions, its intention to continue to support the United Nations in its anti-crime programmes, particularly those geared toward capacity-building to counteract threats, and its support for raising the United Nations anti-crime profile and programme on crime.

Fighting crime was one of the priorities of the Commonwealth, which based its work on the implementation of key texts adopted by its members in Dushanbe, he said.  He discussed cooperation between the members in the fight against violent manifestations of extremism, human trafficking and drugs.  Further, he outlined treaties that had been prepared regarding financial intelligence, coordination with the prosecutor general, measures to fight crime for 2011-2013, terrorism, illicit trafficking of narcotics, border policies and human trafficking.  Measures relating to practical interaction had also been approved, as the Commonwealth members regularly carried out border operations, initiatives to suppress the poaching of resources in the Caspian Sea and customs operations. 

In addition, he said, Commonwealth members cooperated in the development of a collective security treaty, comprehensive anti-narcotics operations, a databank of information for coordinating functions, which, as of 1 January, had more than 40,000 entries, and improving the qualifications of those working in the field of law enforcement through educational institutions in the Russian Federation, Belarus and Kazakhstan.  Also, in 2010, the Commonwealth members had participated in various conferences, including one in Kazan concerning investigative bodies and terrorist acts, and one in Saint Petersburg concerning combating extremism.

BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan), on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, welcomed the World Drug Report of 2010 and committed to seriously study its recommendations however he thought it was too early to talk about reductions in heroin production in Afghanistan.  Unprecedented levels of heroin and opium from Afghanistan continued to be the main threat to Central Asia, she said.  In the countries of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, heroin use was steadily increasing, even though they were not the final destination for its traffic.  Every year, up to 120 tons of heroin was transported through Central Asia and the Russian Federation on its way to Europe.  Opiate and heroin consumption resulted in up to 50,000 annual deaths in the region.

She said regional cooperation was one of the most efficient ways to eradicate illicit drug trafficking; increasing counter-narcotics cooperation between the Organization and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization would make efforts considerably more effective.  The “Paris-Moscow Process” had contributed substantially to mobilizing efforts to fight the Afghan drug expansion by forming the basis of an international strategy.  The Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre, opened in Kazakhstan in December 2009, would become the main mechanism to fight drug trafficking, cooperating closely with the UNODC as it conducted analysis and exchanged information on the region’s drug flows.

The Organization had strengthened “security belts” around Afghanistan to detect and suppress drug smuggling, and positively noted the growing input of the International Security Assistance Forces in the fight against the Afghan drug infrastructure.  Economic growth and international assistance in Afghanistan was important, and she hoped that the Government of Afghanistan would also demonstrate its responsibility and commitment to the fight against drug production in its country.  The Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the Secretariats of the United Nations and the Organization was greatly important, and the Organization believed the capacities it had accumulated combating drugs could be used for the benefit of all the international community.

DAVID T. JOHNSON, Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs of the United States, noted how increasingly complex and diversified transnational criminal networks were engaging in new forms of crime.  It was important to step up coordination and cooperation with other countries, and to build effective international and regional law enforcement networks, so as to get ahead of determined and well-resourced adversaries.  The United States had been partnering with Mexico to confront criminal and narcotics trafficking groups, while Colombia has made big strides in developing its criminal justice capacity.  Cooperation with Africa was increasingly needed, as Andean cocaine flowed to Europe via the continent.  With its allies, the United States had continued assistance to the Afghan government to disrupt the opium trade and support Afghanistan’s national drug control strategy.  Encouraging farmers to plant other crops, bolstering the government’s interdiction capability and reducing the demand for drugs were key to Afghanistan’s development and the health of its people.

The United Nations offered an essential venue for developing a coordinated response to transnational crime, he said.  The United States had been contributing to UNODC for projects in Afghanistan and supporting regional cooperation projects in Central Asia.  However, the United Nations could only play its critical role if international donors shared in providing generous financial support.  With the foundations of treaty-based cooperation in place, there now was an urgent need for an effective mechanism to review implementation of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  The United States had been among a dozen countries participating in a pilot project to test methods of review; its interim results would help inform the upcoming Conference of the parties to the Treaty on the contours of a review mechanism.

In addition to treaty commitments and multilateral cooperation, there were steps that States could take in the short term to deny criminal organizations the use of their territories as safe havens.  The United States had been denying entry to public officials who accepted bribes and to those who paid out such bribes.  “Corrupt officials are not welcome in the United States, nor do we believe should they or their money be welcomed anywhere,” he said.

GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s experience in crime prevention should be put to use, with a view to helping domestic criminal justice systems investigate and prosecute the most serious crimes under international law: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  Such capacity-building was especially relevant for States in post-conflict or transitional stages, and such an emphasis would both strengthen the judiciaries in question and help eliminate impunity.  States bore the primary responsibility for investigating and prosecuting those crimes, with the International Criminal Court (ICC) complementing their efforts.  He expressed hope that the Office’s role in that regard could be reflected in the resolution before the Committee this year.  Noting that Liechtenstein had become a party to the Convention against Corruption in August, he also said the Palermo regime was central to addressing transnational organized crime.

He supported the creation of a mechanism to monitor implementation of the Palermo Convention, which should strengthen commitment to the regime and promote sustained capacity building for national judiciaries.  Liechtenstein worked to address illicit capital outflows from developing countries on both the supply and demand sides.  As a global financial centre, his country fully implemented international standards against money-laundering, as well as internationally recognized standards of transparency and information exchange in the field of tax cooperation.  The Government supported the World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (STAR) and was a main donor to the International Centre for Asset Recovery (ICAR).  It also had ratified and implemented all 16 United Nations anti-terrorism conventions and protocols, implementing the latest standards in the fight against money-laundering and terrorist financing.

MAGED ABDELAZIZ ( Egypt) said organized crime rates were still rising, due to such interrelated factors as modern technology, poverty, social exclusion and organized crime.  The Fourth Conference of States Parties to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime had established a working group to study methods of implementation, particularly of the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons.  An Egyptian initiative on strengthening cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union in combating trafficking in human beings had been adopted by the 2008 African Summit.  He welcomed the establishment of the United Nations International Trust Fund for victims of human trafficking and encouraged the private sector, civil society and regional and international institutions to provide voluntary contributions.

He said that, in order to underline that trafficking in persons was one of the most heinous crimes in the world, Egypt’s First Lady, Suzanne Mubarak, had launched the initiative “Stop Human Trafficking Now” in 2006 and had played a significant role in formulating the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (GIFT).  At the national level, the Government had established a national coordinating committee for the fight against human trafficking and had achieved significant progress through focusing on the three Ps — prevention, protection and punishment.  The Suzanne Mubarak Women’s International Peace Movement was organizing an international forum against human trafficking in Luxor, Egypt, in December.

ZHANG DAN ( China) said that, while heroine and cocaine production had declined in the last year, and State efforts to implement the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime had increased, drug trafficking had grown more intertwined with other criminal activities, such as terrorism.  Also, new crimes, such as cybercrime, were cropping up, which threatened the security and sustainable development of some regions.  Indeed, formidable challenges persisted in combating transnational organized crime and curbing drugs, and international cooperation must be strengthened, as it was the only effective way to tackle such issues.  Such cooperation and technical assistance should always abide by the United Nations Charter, as well as the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and equality.

To combat transnational organized crime, she urged leveraging the role of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention to collect data on States’ implementation, and analysing problems faced by developing nations in that regard, to ensure that capacity building and technical assistance was in line with recipient needs.  The Office on Drugs and Crime should also be supported.   China had implemented provisions of the Convention, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and continued to take legislative, administrative and judicial measures to engage in international cooperation.  In the area of drug control, international cooperation was the only appropriate response, and China supported the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs changing its annual thematic debate to emphasize the exchange of best practice.   China had implemented comprehensive drug control measures, which included treatment for drug addicts and nationwide education campaigns, mobilizing a campaign for a “People’s War against Drugs”.

HASSAN ALI HASSAN ALI ( Sudan) said the fight against drugs had been a drain on resources.  All States must act to eradicate the production and transport of illicit drugs.  Trafficking in all its forms had to be confronted with the capital proceeds of such crimes targeted.  People living in developed countries had been exploiting such trafficking.  Sudan was fully committed to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Like others, it was concerned that Africa was the target of those who wanted to exploit its natural resources; in order to respond, Africa needed support.  Sudan was convinced of the importance of international cooperation in fighting terrorism.  It had done much in that regard, participating in many forums on the issue and cooperating with other countries.

He said Sudan was a very large country and had porous borders with nine countries; cross-border trafficking in weapons had notably exasperated the situation in Darfur.  Sudan had been striving to implement all conventions and protocols relating to organized crime at the national level; much had been accomplished already and its criminal justice system was in line with human rights.  He called upon the international community to redouble its efforts to confront trafficking in drugs and human beings.  Industrialized countries had a huge responsibility and they must strengthen their efforts at the level of the United Nations.

YANEISY ACOSTA HERNÁNDEZ ( Cuba) said that, to fight the scourge of crime, it was necessary to fight inequitable social development, since countries with limited resources, as a result of the unjust distribution of resources, faced more difficulties.  No country could fight crime alone, and international cooperation and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities were essential.  Noting that drug trafficking constituted a particular challenge for the international community, Cuba reiterated its support for the fight against drugs.  The problem could not be solved in the centres of production or intermediary countries, but in the centres of drug use, she said.

Cuba rejected the drawing up of “spurious lists”, such as those made through the manipulation of the United States Department of State, regarding terrorism and drug trafficking, she said.  She stated that those mechanisms were nothing but tools to bring about political pressure and unilateral sanctions, like those against Cuba.  They were legally unsustainable and that was the only way to understand Cuba’s inclusion on United States lists.  Cuba fought against crime both through its programmes and domestic legislation, which punished money laundering, the arms trade and other forms of organized crime.  The cornerstone in that fight was education.  Cuba also attached importance to conferences on crime prevention, and had proved its commitment to the fight against crime by engaging in multilateral and bilateral forums, as well as agreements with dozens of States.  She concluded by affirming Cuba’s commitment to fight for crime prevention and to strengthen bonds with the international community, particularly the United Nations.

Mr. MOKIN ( Russian Federation), speaking in his national capacity, said it was important to ensure that the fight against drug trafficking and organized crime was not lost among the other priorities of the United Nations.  His country favoured a step by step approach for establishing a review mechanism for the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  His country had been very involved in technical assistance and capacity-building for law enforcement structures.  There was no country where human trafficking was not a serious threat; and he welcomed the United Nations global action plan on that issue, which would help create a better understanding of the problem.

Noting a potential at the United Nations for more cooperation on a treaty basis, he suggested universal conventions on cybercrime, extradition and mutual reciprocal legal assistance.  The analytical capacity of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime needed to be enhanced, as well.  The situation in Afghanistan vis-à-vis opiates had hardly changed in 2010; the number of provinces free of opium production had not decreased and a fungus infection had only pushed up the price of opium by 30 per cent, invalidating efforts by the Afghan government and the international community to steer farmers towards alternative crops.  Terrorist groups had been feeding off the narcotics industry.  The United Nations, including the General Assembly, should do more to deal with the Afghanistan drug problem, which threatened international peace and security, and an explanation was needed as to why international efforts had not been succeeding.  Synthetic drugs were another threat that needed an immediate and effective response from the international community.

DANA KURSH ( Israel) said illicit drug production and distribution or the presence of organized crime in one part of the globalized world endangered all. Therefore, ever-greater coordination was needed in the effort to combat those negative forces.  To counter the growing trend of synthetic drugs, developed at such a fast rate that regulatory norms and law enforcement could not be modified in a timely manner, Israel’s Government amended its Dangerous Drugs Ordinance and established a Pharmaceutical Crime Unit, which monitored sales of psychoactive substances to identify misuse of chemical substances.  This year Israel hosted the Annual Conference of the Permanent Forum on International Pharmaceutical Crime, she said.

Israel had a balanced supply and demand strategy against drugs, recognizing demand reduction was essential to combating the problem, she said.  It perceived drug addiction as a health disorder requiring treatment and had implemented a wide array of services to ensure accessibility to all.  Following treatment, intense rehabilitation services were offered to allow successful reintegration into society.  As part of its harm reduction approach to reduce illicit drug use, drug-substitutes, needle exchanges and walk-in clinics were available to assist addicts into treatment.  Those efforts had led to a significant decrease in cases of HIV/AIDS due to drug use, she said.

ALAN COELHO DE SÉLLOS (Brazil), noting that the impacts of transnational organized crime were more serious for the poor, said that fighting the problem required more effective cooperation, especially South-South cooperation.  Actions must encompass crime prevention, promotion and protection of human rights, and social development, as experience had shown that repressive measures were effective only when coupled with those focused on underlying socioeconomic factors.  The aim must be to create alternative livelihoods.  Urging universal participation in the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, he stressed that the creation of a review mechanism would make the international response more effective.  The Salvador Declaration, adopted at the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, in Brazil, stressed that crime prevention was integral to fostering socioeconomic development.

To address the global drug problem, he urged redoubled national efforts, as well as more regional and international cooperation.  For its part, Brazil had updated its national drug policy to take into account the most recent scientific studies, while the drug law had established a legal difference between traffickers and users, and counted the financing of drug trafficking as a serious crime.  Regionally, Brazil continued to strengthen cooperation with its South American neighbours, establishing cooperation agreements with Bolivia and Paraguay, and maintaining dialogue with Colombia, Guyana and Peru.  Elsewhere, Brazil had agreed to cooperate with Angola, India and Mozambique, among others, and reaffirmed its support for the principle of shared responsibility when combating drugs.  Finally, he urged more financial support for UNODC, especially through un-earmarked contributions.

EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica) said drugs continued to be a threat to international security, and although Costa Rica remained safe, it still faced the threat of infiltration by participants in the drug trade to the north and south, which could hurt the country’s social well-being.  Noting that repressive solutions to the drug problem often led to violations of due process, he stated that each Member State was compelled to invest in prevention, control, combat and rehabilitation incentives.  He agreed with the Secretary-General’s recommendation that treaties concerning the control of drugs should be implemented, but said work could also go further in two areas:  countries could increase strategies and programmes regarding social development and the rule of law, and a deep review could be conducted of strategies used so far vis-à-vis the drug problem, with emphasis on the suppression of drug trafficking.

He listed other variables to consider in the fight against drugs, including economic incentives in the drug trade, strategies for prevention and treatment, the rule of law, social reinsertion and mainstreaming, and criminalization of activities tied to use and trafficking.  The demand side of the drug problem also needed to be addressed more thoroughly in United Nations reports.  Underlining that the fight against the drug trade could only be won through a global response and coordinated efforts, he said developing countries should not have to devote more resources to a problem that was not created by them.  With regard to fighting illicit maritime drug trafficking, for example, Costa Rica had played a leading role in CARICOM and urged other countries to join those efforts.  Multilateral organizations should have a more balanced agenda and responsibilities that focused on goals.  Further, the approach to the drug problem should be undertaken with respect for human rights and the rule of law, and should avoid victimizing those who had already had their rights and dignity undermined.

MOHSEN EMADI ( Iran) said that, despite “relatively sufficient” international legal tools, the cultivation and trade in narcotic drugs had sharply increased in recent years, supporting other forms of organized crime.  Failure to resolve the problem of drugs in Afghanistan had added to the problem.  His country had always supported the creation of proper mechanisms for international and regional coordination to counter the problem, particularly the Triangular Initiative that included Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which had led to multiple efforts, including jointly planned operations.  Iran had also cooperated with countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) in anti-drug initiatives.

In addition, Iran had sacrificed thousands of police and billions of dollars in the effort to curtail illegal narcotics transfer from Afghanistan, strengthening border controls in the process and making Iran first in the world in opium and heroin seizures, with some 1,100 tons of different types of opium-based drugs confiscated in 2009 with some 80 per cent seized at eastern border.  Among other efforts, Iran had signed memorandums of understanding with some 40 countries, participated in operations to prevent smuggling of drug-producing chemicals and developed treatment and rehabilitation services for addicts.  In conclusion, he said that there was an earnest need to reinforce regional and global policies and programmes in order to overcome shortfalls in existing initiatives.  His country stood ready to fully cooperate in those efforts.

YANERIT MORGAN ( Mexico) called on all Governments to redouble their efforts in the collective struggle against drug trafficking and related crimes, the challenges of which were multiplying.  His country had committed itself to a decisive fight against criminal organizations involved in the trade, which aimed to extend a security presence throughout the national territory, break down criminal networks, strengthen and cleanse public security institutions, treat and prevent addiction and promote international cooperation through shared responsibility.  Much had been accomplished, as recognized by the United Nations World Drug Report in 2010, which also recognized that the homicide rate in the country was much lower than the regional average.

He commented that combating the scourge required the participation of various social actors, as well as Government, and said that comprehensive strategies must include actions to reduce consumption, as well as supply, and must address related crimes, such as money-laundering and arms trafficking.  International cooperation in all areas must be strengthened through the identification of synergies and effective exchange of information.  As in previous years, his country would present an omnibus resolution on the issue to follow-up on the Political Declaration and Plan of Action adopted at the last session of the General Assembly.  He invited Member States to honour the commitments made in all relevant instruments against transnational crime and to reflect on how best the international community could stop the effects of the global drug problem.

TAKASHI TAKASHIMA ( Japan) said that, despite its great efforts, the international community still faced enormous challenges in its fight against transnational organized— and drug-related crimes.  The problems persisted for several reasons, among them: globalization, which had helped to facilitate cross-border human trafficking and the illicit drugs and arms trade; the relationship between drug trafficking and transnational organized crime, which eats away “at the social fabric”; and the relationship between corruption and transnational crime, notably, corrupt officials who issue false documents.  In addition, cross-border criminal activities caused a ripple effect that was felt throughout the international community.  To that end, Japan had suggested two key actions for the international community to undertake: Member States must enhance their cooperation, and all stakeholders must make further efforts to address the root of the cause.

Regarding Japan’s contributions, it had provided international assistance through the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security, which implemented successful projects regarding human trafficking in Thailand and the Philippines, and drug trafficking issues in Myanmar, he said.  In addition, Japan pledged to contribute $7 million to UNODC to assist its efforts in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries to support counter-drug measures and policies.  Finally, his Government had actively provided technical cooperation through the activities of the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, which provided training for criminal justice practitioners from developing countries.  At the national level, with respect to drug-related crimes, Japan had established a drug prevention strategy acceleration plan and maintained a “zero tolerance policy” against drug abuse, which had been deemed a success by the International Narcotics Control Board.  In closing, he reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to exert all efforts to play an effective role in the fight against those crimes.

CHO HYUNG WA ( Republic of Korea) discussed cybercrimes, saying that new social networking systems, such as blogs, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, had been employed in new types of crime, such as the spreading of malicious codes, sex offences and cyberbullying, which posed threats to the safety of society.  In order to provide assistance to those fighting against cybercrime, the Korean Institute of Criminology (KIC) had launched a programme entitled “Virtual Forum against Cybercrime”.  Additionally, whereas strategies for preventing drug-related crime had focused on reducing production, her country understood the need for a different approach and, based on UNODC guidelines, pursued demand-reduction policies.  The Government promoted education and programmes about the destructive consequences of drugs, such as organizing events like forums and exhibitions in June, as part of an anti-drug campaign.

Her Government also encouraged involvement of civil society and NGOs in supporting education and rehabilitation programmes.  Attention to both demand-reduction policies and to cybercrime demonstrated that international cooperation and technical assistance were critical elements in addressing the trends of criminal behaviour.  Further, her Government was participating in forums and information-sharing initiatives, such as a meeting in November in cooperation with world customs organizations, and a meeting with 29 countries in Asia to prevent customs fraud and illegal-narcotics transactions.  Noting that an international mechanism for sharing information was crucial and that UNODC was central to that effort, she urged UNODC to improve its information collection system.  She expressed appreciation for UNODC’s world drug report, as well as the United Nations’ guidelines, saying they provided the international community with a firm foundation on which to form related strategies, and she looked forward to solving problems related to sharing information and minimizing crime.

MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) said organized crime and illicit drugs were problems that required an international response that respected the sovereignty of States and the rule of law.  As a transit country for illicit drugs, Nicaragua has had to divert resources from domestic needs to combat transnational crime.  It called upon the international community to apply the principle of shared differentiated responsibility in responding to the situation.

While there had been serious increases in crime in Central America, the crime rate in Nicaragua had been declining, she said.  Its homicide rate was one of the lowest in the region.  Its police had been striking at international drug traffickers and local distributors alike, with a focus on dismantling logistical structures.  Trafficking cells had been shut down, and property, vehicles and weapons seized.  Underground synthetic drug laboratories had also been dismantled.  It was the objective of the government, despite limited resources, to make Nicaragua the least violent country in the region.

SANSANEE SAHUSSARUNGSI ( Thailand) said crime, especially in developing countries, was among the greatest impediments to development.  Criminal activity scared away investment and also discouraged good doctors and teachers from living in certain areas.  Thailand attached great importance to tackling crime, and emphasized restorative justice, so that people could serve their sentences, return to society and become an important force for development.   Thailand had also mounted an initiative on updating correctional policies worldwide for the treatment of women prisoners, which the Economic and Social Council recently endorsed and recommended for adoption at this year’s United Nations General Assembly.

Thailand also attached importance to the welfare of victims of crime, for example providing assistance, to victims of human trafficking assistance so they could reintegrate into society without stigma.  She also reaffirmed Thailand’s commitment to fight corruption, noting it would host the International Anti-Corruption Conference on 10-13 November 2010. Lack of development was also an important source of crime, and Thailand also gave sustainable income-generating opportunities to small farmers engaged in illicit cultivation of crops.  Its promotion of alternative development programmes may well have played a role reducing opium production in Afghanistan, Myanmar and Laos by 16 per cent from 2007 levels.  In addition, drug problems had to be tackled from the demand side, as well as supply.  Thailand had put in place a number of programmes, with which it hoped to do its part in achieving an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Drug-Free area in 1015.

TROND HÅVARD RUDI ( Norway) noted that the “innovative” character of criminal networks, whose involvement in areas ranging from profiting from drugs and human trafficking to illegal fishing and piracy, among other organized crime activities, resulted in great human suffering and costs to society.  Countering criminal networks, he said, would require cooperation and implementation of existing instruments that were supported by an effective review of implementations and mechanisms.  While mechanisms existed for United Nations drug conventions and convention against corruption, he called for the development of a transnational organized crime convention during the fifth session of the conference of parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  Regarding UNODC, he encouraged a more strategic focus and strengthened role as guardian of human rights in the area of crime and drugs.

In that regard, he said Norway’s measures to increase transparency and identify illicit financial flows had contributed to its fight against organized crime.  However, knowledge about the criminal groups, and having taken advantage of financial structures was necessary for an effective response.  Therefore, Norway would support UNODC’s research activities, which he said should be based on the experiences of the Member States.  Illegal fishing, an emerging crime because of its high profit and low risk — remained a main challenge to Norway’s fishery management that must be dealt with.  Turning to human trafficking, it would be one of the three main priorities under Norway’s Presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States.  In closing, he reaffirmed Norway’s commitment to fighting transnational crime and narcotic drugs.

HALIMAH MOHD SADIQUE ( Malaysia) said State investment in crime prevention efforts brought about benefits at the local, national, regional and global levels.  Along with that, continued international cooperation in the forms of information exchange, capacity building and technology transfer also must be enhanced.  To combat transnational crime, bilateral cooperation on issues of shared concern was effective.  Information and intelligence sharing must be done on a reciprocal basis within the limits of domestic legislation, and bilateral agency-to-agency contact remained the most effective way to do just that.  Legal mechanisms might be required for sharing information on a wider scale for practical uses.  For the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons to add value, it must complement the existing framework contained in the Palermo Convention and its Protocol.

Malaysia condemned such trafficking, a complex issue that required global attention and resources beyond the current focus on a criminal justice response, he said.  The underlying issues within countries of origin must be addressed with a view to strengthening their preventive and self-regulation measures.  Since the implementation of Malaysia’s 2007 Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act, enforcement agencies had rescued 1,777 suspected trafficking victims.  The national strategic plan on anti-trafficking in persons for 2010-2014 identified goals to steer national efforts.  On the issue of drugs, he expressed concern at increased consumption of synthetic stimulants, especially among younger people.  Despite its tough drug laws, Malaysia had seen an increase in drug trafficking, a problem which underscored the need for more concerted global efforts to stem drug supply and shipment.  Measures must include the provision of technical assistance and capacity-building to provide alternative income sources.

JOSEPHINE OJIAMBO ( Kenya) said that, despite concerted international efforts, crime and the sale and distribution of drugs had continued to spiral, almost out of control.  Perhaps there should be a change of tack, and discussion of a completely novel approach.  Various treaty provisions were in place to deal with human trafficking, and regional frameworks were put in place, yet human trafficking had continued to rise unabatedly.  African leaders had called for urgent action to coordinate scattered efforts against the heinous crime of human trafficking.  Kenya itself has stepped up campaigns against trafficking and reinforced its ports of entry and exit, in order to identify trafficking cases.  An anti-trafficking bill was, meanwhile, being debated in Parliament.

Kenya and the wider East African region had borne the brunt of political turmoil in Somalia, she said, with an influx of small arms and light weapons, together with piracy and terrorism, causing untold suffering.  Kenya was grateful for the assistance of UNODC and the international community, but there could only be a permanent solution once political stability was restored in Somalia.  More could be done to put together an infrastructure, to ensure that even legitimately traded arms did not end up on the illicit market.

IRINA VELICHKO ( Belarus) said that the scale, intensity and perversity of crime was growing, and a coordinated effort was needed to counter it.  Belarus was participating actively in the joint countering of illicit arms sales and illegal migration, and backed the statements of the Governments of the Russian Federation and Kazakhstan.  Belarus also welcomed the launch of a review mechanism against corruption and would undergo its review in 2013.  Because one of the most dangerous forms of crime was the trafficking of humans, Belarus noted the need to pool efforts to combat it and welcomed the adoption of a consensus plan.  A ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends United against Human Trafficking, which included 20 states, had also taken place, adopting a declaration, which would be circulated.

Her country was wedded to the development of partnerships with other States and was convinced that the global plan provided the best opportunity to prevent and ensure effective coordination, she said.  A presidential decree was also presented in 2010 in support of countering illegal migration and trafficking. Educational centres were set up to retrain and teach new methods to those involved with countering trafficking of women.  She welcomed the Secretary-General’s report concerning measures to combat the trafficking of human beings at all levels, and supported mechanisms to strengthen capacities and initiatives that would counter transnational crime.

OLHA KAVUN ( Ukraine) noted with regret that some high officials of the UNODC had, in their public statements, “used groundless information” that distorted the activities of some Member States in special areas.  To use such information, and to formulate recommendations based on such information, was liable to impact negatively on the impartiality of the Office, whose studies and assessments should be based on official information provided by Member States.

Ukraine had applied a large number of measures to raise awareness of corruption, safeguarding integrity in the public and private sectors, and putting into place legal measures to deal with money-laundering and bribery, she said.  An in-depth review of the progress achieved by the Convention against Corruption, and the identification of areas requiring further action, was essential.  Ukraine had been selected for review by the Convention’s implementation review group; it understood the challenge it faced, but assumed that responsibility in order to promote better understanding and implementation of the Convention.

JAVIER LOAYZA ( Bolivia) discussed the global problem of drugs, quoting a United Nations annual monitoring report about drugs and crime that set coca cultivation in Bolivia at 19 per cent of the worldwide total crop.  He said that the number included coca leaves, which were used for chewing and medicinal purposes.  He noted the reduction of coca production in Bolivia, stating that the country had eradicated 6,341 hectares in 2009 and 3,740 hectares in 2010, as well as decreased illicit cultivation in national parks.  Yet, despite the efforts of Bolivia in fighting drug trafficking, the current United States Administration had once again decertified Bolivia and certified major cocaine producers, while intentionally overlooking achievements by Bolivia and contradictory information.  Noting that the United States’ statistics concerning coca production in Bolivia differed from those of the United Nations, he asked which should be believed.

Bolivia continued to fight the global drug problem and trafficking, crime and corruption, he said.  Bolivia had strengthened coordination with other countries, such as Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay; participated in joint and multilateral efforts with countries in the Caribbean and the European Union; and had been involved in the establishment of a South American council.  Bolivia had also begun consultations with the European Union, Russian Federation and Canada regarding a radar project and using technology in airspace to fight illicit activities and control borders.  He reiterated that chewing coca leaves was part of the history of Bolivia, and that coca leaves, in their natural environment, first emerged 5,000 years ago and were not a narcotic.  The State protected the principle that coca was a natural resource of Bolivia, which was governed by national law.

MONIA ALSALEH ( Syria) said her country, a party to the majority of crime prevention instruments, was among the most secure and stable in the world.  It was, nevertheless, keen to modernize its legislation in line with international agreements.  Human trafficking was not a phenomenon in Syria, where there had been only isolated cases.  Even so, Legislative Decree Number Three of 2010 addressed the issue, encompassing all aspects of the crime, including the care of its victims.  Syria had also issued laws dealing with domestic workers and nannies, money-laundering, terrorism and trading in human organs.

The use by modern technology to carry out transnational organized crimes called for training, the exchange of experiences and the establishment of specialized police units, she said.  Syria welcomed any form of cooperation to counter the transit of drugs through its territory.  It commended the work of the regional office of UNODC.  The reasons and motivations of criminal activities should be looked into; in order to dry up the sources for illicit drugs, terrorism and human crime, regional and international conflicts must end and support provided for the economies and development of poorer countries.

ZAHIR TANIN( Afghanistan) said that UNODC had played an instrumental role in decreasing global crime and Afghanistan supported its efforts to reduce illicit drugs, such as through capacity-building for effective border control and alternative livelihood provision.  Noting that the security and well-being of society was the top priority of the Afghan Government, he stated that defeating the drug menace would only be possible through a global effort, since it was part of a criminal network.  The Afghan Government had taken a number of steps to address this “scourge”, and efforts had yielded important results, including reducing poppy cultivation in the country by 48 per cent this year.  Through measures including strengthened law enforcement, access to alternative livelihoods, and more public awareness, Afghanistan had maintained more than 20 poppy-free provinces.  More needed to be done by transit and producing countries, however, such as increasing measures by Member States to combat deliveries of chemical precursors for drug production in Afghanistan.

Because production of drugs was linked to terrorism and extremist activities, the two issues needed to be tackled in tandem, he said.  Drugs continued to threaten Afghan society and drug use had increased, due to easy access to cheap drugs, limited access to treatment, and trauma from past wars; 8 per cent of the population from 14 to 65 years old were users and more than 90 per cent of users were in need of treatment.  He underscored the need for international assistance in creating drug treatment centres.  He also attached special importance to addressing challenges in the region, such as extremism, terrorism and organized crime, saying that Afghanistan was working to expand cooperation and communication in various fields, including the strengthening of law enforcement agencies, effective mechanisms for monitoring chemical precursors for drug production, more effective border management and the need for training and recruitment of security forces to prevent infiltration.  He concluded by thanking the international community for its support and commitment to achieving a stable and prosperous Afghanistan and said his country was looking forward to continuing the partnership and vision that began nine years ago.

AW JIA JIE ( Singapore) said setting 2019 as the target date for elimination or significant reduction on five aspects of the global drug problem was a realistic acknowledgement that much remains to be done against illegal production and abuse of drugs.  Singapore took an uncompromising stand against the drug threat by adopting a “zero tolerance” policy, firmly believing the problem was best tackled by preventing, not reducing, the malignance of drug abuse.  To prevent drug abuse from taking root in its society, Singapore had put strict laws in place with strong deterrent penalties for drug traffickers, as well as appropriate punishment to be meted out to drug abusers.  Its comprehensive approach had been validated by practical success, and Singapore remained a relatively drug-free society.

Drug trafficking and related crimes were transnational in nature and international cooperation was important in law enforcement efforts, he said.  Singapore actively worked bilaterally in the exchange of intelligence, as well as in joint investigations and operations.  Singapore also emphasized sharing its knowledge and practices with other countries in South-East Asia under regional initiatives that strengthened working relationships in fighting the drug problem.  Singapore was committed to supporting the United Nations’ efforts in fighting drugs and would continue to cooperate to combat the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs on both the domestic and global fronts.

CHERRY-ANN MILLARD WHITE (Trinidad and Tobago), aligning herself with the statement of Jamaica on behalf of CARICOM, said addressing crime prevention and criminal justice continued to be one of the greatest priorities for her Government and the subregion.  The Government’s plan to achieve sustainable development recognized the debilitating effects of crime and its impact on the criminal justice system.  Accordingly, that plan had a long-term emphasis on crime prevention and criminal justice that would ultimately result in enhanced public safety, security and justice for all.  The plan involved a multi-faceted approach to crime prevention and criminal justice, inclusive of legislative measures, pro-social interventions, public education and developmental programmes being implemented by several Government agencies.

Noting that a considerable proportion of criminal activity within her country was linked to the growth and evolution of organized crime locally and internationally, she said, consequently, the countries of the Caribbean subregion had agreed to stand together and work toward eradicating that plague on their respective societies.  At the national level, Trinidad and Tobago had committed to legislative review and amendment, institutional reform and capacity-building throughout the country’s national security and criminal justice framework.  In the face of the dynamic transnational organized criminal environment, her Government had also enacted legislation and amendments over the past 10 years aimed at further enhancing the legislative framework to counter specific crimes, including those involving drugs, small arms and light weapons, she added.  Because of its location, her country had been exploited as a transhipment point for depositing and shipping drugs and had made noble efforts to address it.  She wanted to underscore the need for multilateral cooperation to successfully address the issue of crime and drugs.  “Only united will we succeed”, she said.

MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) called for international cooperation based on an integrated, multidisciplinary and complementary approach.  With drug trafficking and crime taking its toll on Africa’s human and social capital, African countries had been assuming their responsibilities at the regional level, approving a plan of action at a Summit of African Union Heads of State and Government in 2008.  Due to its geographic location and proximity to drug production centres, Algeria had been classified as a transit point; it had thus ratified relevant United Nations Conventions, and it now was in the process of applying them domestically, by focusing on prevention, treatment and raising awareness.

While the challenges of drugs and transnational organized crime had been high on the agenda of many international meetings, one could question the slowness with which recommendations had been carried out, he said.  Algeria shared the opinion of the Secretary-General on strengthening the role of UNODC in helping Member States bolster their capacity to deal with various kinds of criminal acts.  Ransom payments had become a major challenge for the international community; Algeria welcomed the fact that the Security Council had heard the appeal of the African Union to reinforce measures against the financing of terrorism.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.