World Faces Complex, Interconnected Threats from Practically Seamless ‘Web of Drugs, Crime and Sometimes Terrorism', Third Committee Told
World Faces Complex, Interconnected Threats from Practically Seamless ‘Web of Drugs, Crime and Sometimes Terrorism', Third Committee Told
|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)
World Faces Complex, Interconnected Threats from Practically Seamless
‘Web of Drugs, Crime and Sometimes Terrorism’, Third Committee Told
Deputy Head of UN Drugs and Crime Office Lays Out Integrated Response,
Cautions — for Second Year — Office Faces ‘Precarious’ Financing Issues
The world continues to face a series of complex and interconnected threats that, taken together, “form a web of drugs, crime and sometimes terrorism”, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was told today, as it began its general discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
In his introductory remarks, Sandeep Chawla, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said: “The web is practically seamless and it spans every region and touches almost every country.”
To address the interconnected threats, he said, UNODC had devised an integrated response that promoted the multilateral instruments aimed at controlling the problem, kept the world community informed about evolving and emerging dangers, and provided technical assistance to help countries build their national capacities.
However, he cautioned that UNODC continued to face a “precarious” situation in financing, in which there was no mechanism linking its budgeting and funding. “Unless our governance is streamlined and our funding made more predictable, we will not be in a position to fulfil the many responsibilities you have given us,” Mr. Chawla said.
He pointed out that he had made similar remarks to the Committee last year and stressed that the core of the problem revolved around two fundamental questions that only Member States could answer. First, did they want UNODC to be a normative and analytical agency — or a development agency? Second, did Member States want UNODC to be a Secretariat entity or a specialized agency? He suggested that UNODC could be both an analytic and a development agency, but not if it had the governance structure of a normative agency and the funding system of a development agency. In addition, it could not be both an entity of the Secretariat and a specialized agency, although it was currently operating as if it were.
Throughout the day-long debate, which featured 37 speakers, delegates underscored that transnational crime and corruption were a menace to peace, security and sustainable development worldwide and more effort was needed to tackle the problem in a holistic, integrated manner.
“A loophole created in one State affects the neighbouring States and consequently undermines the effectiveness of the international legal framework,” said the representative of Japan, emphasising that each State had the individual responsibility to strengthen their judicial system to combat crime, but the international community had a shared responsibility.
Testifying to the economic effects of crime, the representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said gangs and youth crime cost the region between 2.8 and 4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) annually.
Gun violence and ease of access to markets in North America for firearms and narcotics needed to be urgently addressed, he said, noting that CARICOM was “quite disappointed” at the failure to agree on a legally binding treaty at the Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in July. The regional body would continue work to achieve such a treaty to regulate the conventional weapons trade, he said.
Kazakhstan’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said heroin production in Afghanistan was the main destabilizing factor in her region, and urged a partnership between the CSTO and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Afghan issues, as well as further expanding partnerships with regional organizations.
For his part, Afghanistan’s delegate said his Government was committed to eliminating poppy production, but efforts toward eradication were complicated: “We must fight the perception that those who seek to keep the drug industry alive are supporting the livelihoods of Afghan farmers, while those who seek to eradicate poppies are punishing them. This is why creating alternative livelihoods for farmers and promoting economic opportunities are crucial.”
Also on the topic of poppy production, the representative of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic said that upscaled international support had enabled his country to be declared opium free in 2006, it was sad to say that over the past few years it had seen an increase in opium cultivation again, at an “alarming pace” due to decreasing attention from the international community.
“The two main reasons associated with the return of opium cultivation in the Lao PDR are poverty and high price of opium in international market,” he said, adding elimination of opium cultivation could only be addressed effectively through regional and international cooperation to bring poverty eradication and sustainable development.
Also today, the Committee elected Fatima Alfeine ( Comoros), Dragana Šćepanović ( Montenegro) and Georg Sparber ( Liechtenstein) as Vice-Chairs of the Third Committee for its sixty-seventh session. Suljuk Mustansar Tarar ( Pakistan) was elected as Rapporteur. Ms. Šćepanović also would facilitate the Chair’s text of the draft resolution on the Follow-up to the Fourth World Conference on Women.
The Director in the Multilateral Affairs Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya also spoke, as did the Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria and the Royal Highness Princess of Thailand.
Also speaking today were the representatives of Swaziland (on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)), Liechtenstein, Egypt, China, United States, Brazil, Australia, Malaysia, Cuba, Mexico (also on behalf of Colombia and Guatemala), United Arab Emirates, Nicaragua, Morocco, Norway, Algeria, Turkmenistan, Israel, Belarus, Ukraine, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Qatar, Singapore, Syria, Iran, Myanmar, Yemen, Tajikistan and Republic of Korea.
A representative of the European Union also spoke.
Syria’s representative spoke in exercise of the right of reply.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, 11 October, to continue and conclude its discussion on crime prevention and international drug control.
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 Secretary-General’s report on United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/67/155), which describes activities that offer African countries technical support in crime prevention and the strengthening of criminal justice systems. It outlines Africa’s crime situation and the effect it has on the region’s socioeconomic development. It also highlights legislation and policy reforms in the region. The Institute’s strategies for mobilizing resources are also detailed.
The report concludes that even with efforts to mitigate the impact of crime on development, Africa suffers from a lack of sustainable mechanisms to prevent it. There are traditions that can be tapped into to prevent crime, and strategies must be tailored to each county, even within a subregion. Africa is in transition in terms of policy and institutional framework, the report says, and there is a need for fairness and equity. The Institute appeals to donors, partner agencies, the African Union and the United Nations to help it effectively assist African States.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on 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 (UNODC) (document A/67/156), which summarizes the work of UNODC, as well as developments relating to its governance and financial situation. It also includes information on the status of ratifications or accessions to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto and the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Emerging policy issues, responses thereto and recommendations aimed at enhancing the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme are also covered. The Secretary-General’s recommendations focus on transnational organized crime; corruption; terrorism; cooperation in the forensic field; data collection, research and trend analysis; emerging policy issues; governance; and the financial situation of UNODC.
The Committee was also expected to discuss the Secretary-General’s report entitled Follow-up to the Twelfth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and preparations for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/67/97), which gives an overview of the twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on issues related to preparations for the thirteenth Congress. It also discusses the Commission’s approval of the overall theme, agenda items and workshop topics for the thirteenth Congress for adoption — through the Economic and Social Council — by the General Assembly.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s report on Preventing and combating corrupt practices and transfer of assets of illicit origin and returning such assets, in particular to the countries of origin, consistent with the United Nations Convention against Corruption (document A/67/96), which details the outcome of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption at its fourth session, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 24 to 28 October 2011. It also describes measures to combat corrupt practices and return assets of illicit origin, including vis-à-vis asset recovery and work carried out by UNODC individually and in partnership with other institutions.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General’s note (document A/67/218) transmitting the report of the Conference of the States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption on its fourth session, held in Marrakech, Morocco, from 24 to 28 October 2011 (CAC/COSP/2011/14).
For its discussion on international drug control, the Committee had before it the Secretary-General’s report on International cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/67/157), which provides an overview of the world drug situation as well as of the implementation of drug control mandates by Member States, UNODC, other parts of the United Nations system, and relevant international organizations. Among other things, it recommends that Member States that have not yet done so adhere to drug control conventions and take measures to implement the Political Declaration and Action Plan on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, adopted by the Assembly at its sixty-fourth session. Other recommendations centre on demand and supply reduction, and crop control strategies targeting illicit crop cultivation.
SANDEEP CHAWLA, Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, said today that “we confront a series of complex interconnected threats that, taken together, form a web of drugs, crime, and sometimes terrorism. The web is practically seamless, and it spans every region and touches almost every country.” To address the interconnected threats, he said UNODC had devised an integrated response across three pillars that promoted the multilateral instruments aimed at controlling the problem, kept the world community informed about evolving and emerging dangers, and provided technical assistance to help countries build their national capacities.
Outlining UNODC’s work across those three pillars, he said that in its normative and policy functions, the Office served as the guardian of the three landmark drugs, crime and corruption conventions. It also served as the guardian for the United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, a corpus of principles and guidelines developed over the last half century with the purpose of achieving efficient, fair and humane criminal justice systems. Though those various legal instruments provided a wide, and some would say difficult-to-fulfil mandate, they also gave the Office’s research and field operations a substantial legal basis.
“Our research and analysis fulfils what has now emerged as a quintessential function of the United Nations: to be an honest broker of data and information which, because it is objective, reliable and not attached to any particular national interest, serves the interest of all in the international community,” he said. For example, the annual World Drug Report had become the standard source of reference on global illicit drug production, trafficking and consumption. As the focal point for statistics on crime and criminal justice, the Office monitors the level and trends, turning that data into analytical studies, such as the first global report on homicide, published last year. It was also conducting threat assessments on transnational organized crime in several sub-regions, and had launched a new series of Global Reports on Trafficking in Persons, as mandated by the General Assembly.
He said UNODC’s field operations delivered technical assistance on five main themes: preventing and treating drug abuse; supporting fair and humane criminal justice systems; fighting transnational organized crime and illicit trafficking; tackling corruption; and preventing terrorism. The Office was involved, in that context, in areas as diverse as training judges, prosecutors, law enforcement officers, public health officials, prison officials and farmers. Its extensive field network included 10 regional offices, nine country offices and several programme offices.
UNDOC’s integrated programme approach ensured that its technical assistance offered good value for the money, he said. By that approach, regional and country programmes were given ownership of their work. Normative, analytic and technical expertise was integrated in design and delivery. The framework for funding, managing and implementing the many small and inevitably fragmented projects was inclusive. Further, the integrated programme was always delivered in close operation with other United Nations entities and multilateral donors.
But, while UNODC had achieved internal coherence, the same could not be said for its governance and financing, which suffered from serious deficits, he said. Although UNODC was a relatively small office with an annual turnover of about a quarter of a million dollars, it had five governing bodies, none of which even provided the majority of the Office’s funding. Indeed, the General Assembly approved less than one tenth of UNODC’s regular budget. Only 4 per cent of UNODC’s total revenue was “general purpose income” — in other words, voluntary contributions that were not earmarked.
“Thus far, the situation I have outlined is a not an uncommon one in the United Nations. What makes our situation particularly precarious is the intersection of governance and financial deficits,” he said. “There is no mechanism linking budgeting and funding.” Over roughly the last decade, the regular budget share of UNODC’s budget had fallen from 15 per cent to 8 per cent. The general purpose income had fared worse, falling from 18 per cent to 5 per cent. In stark contrast to those contracting “core funds”, the Office’s extra-budgetary funding had grown dramatically, tripling from $150 million in 2002-2003 to more than $454 million in 2012-2013.
“Unless our governance is streamlined and our funding made more predictable, we will not be in a position to fulfil the many responsibilities you have given us,” he warned, noting that an intergovernmental working group on governance and finance had been working for three years without any appreciable impact.
At the core of the problem were two fundamental questions that only Member States could answer. First, did they want UNODC to be a normative and analytical agency or a development agency? He said that while it could be both, it could not do so with the governance structure of a normative agency and the funding system of a development agency. Second, did Member States want UNODC to be a Secretariat entity or a specialized agency? In that case, he stressed that the Office could not, in fact, be both, but, unfortunately, it was currently operating as if it were, with the funding structure of a specialized agency and the governance of a Secretariat entity.
“Our Executive Director posed these questions to our functional Commissions last year. I posed the same questions to the Third Committee last year. We can only appeal to Member States, in New York and in Vienna, to give this issue the attention it demands,” he said.
Statements – Crime Prevention and International Drug Control
RAYMOND WOLFE (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), expressed concern at the growing phenomenon of cybercrime, and in that vein, supported measures to strengthen UNODC’s global technical assistance programme to fight that crime. In his region, the illegal narcotics trade, trafficking in persons, narcotic drugs, money laundering and gang violence seriously hampered development. The region comprised 12 islands and three continental States within a vast geographic zone and, with few exceptions, border security was “elusive”. The Caribbean was regularly used as a major transit area for illicit drugs from South America to North America.
Nonetheless, the region’s efforts to counter the manufacturing and trafficking of drugs were noted in the 2011 report of the International Narcotics Control Board, he said. Gun violence was one issue that must be urgently addressed, as was the ease of access to markets in North America for firearms and narcotics trafficking. CARICOM was “quite disappointed” at the failure to take decisive action on a legally binding treaty at the Diplomatic Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty in July, and would work to achieve such a treaty to regulate the conventional weapons trade. But, he lauded the outcome of the Second United Nations Conference to Review Progress Made in the Implementation of the Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.
He went on to say that other obstacles to development were gangs and youth crime, the latter of which cost regional countries between 2.8 and 4 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) annually, due in part to a loss of tourism. Gangs diverted substantial resources from productive use, while perceived high levels of crime negatively impacted business and investments, which were important revenue generators. The rule of law was the core prerequisite for addressing transnational organized crime in all its forms. As such, the Regional Social Development and Crime Prevention Strategy advanced approaches that were in line with the emerging concept of “citizen security”. In closing, he said UNODC was critical to enhancing the region’s technical capacities in crime prevention and criminal justice, adding that CARICOM looked forward to implementing the proposed regional programme.
ZWELETHU MNISI ( Swaziland), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said crime in his region was perpetuated by poverty, armed conflict and natural disasters. Human trafficking of women and children was on the rise, representing a new and aggressive form of bondage. Combating such abuse required a human rights-based legislation that criminalized the act and provided support for victims. In that context, he said the region had set up legislation with Mauritius, Mozambique, the United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia. The 2009 Regional Plan of Action laid out areas of cooperation for combating human trafficking and addressing trafficking from a comprehensive perspective.
He said the region appreciated the critical role played by regional mechanisms in combating organized transnational crime. It also supported UNODC’s activities to develop global legal instruments and offer technical cooperation to developing countries. In that vein, he noted that the Southern African Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization was fully operational and engaged in the fight against cross-border crime. He voiced concern that, despite increased efforts by States and relevant organizations, the global drug problem continued to pose a serious threat to public health and safety. The effect of the drug scourge was strongly felt in his region.
He stressed that corruption, violent crime and pervasive violence against women and children threatened economic development and regional security alike. A coordinated approach to integrate State efforts was needed. SADC attached great importance to the Political Declaration adopted at the Twentieth Special Session of the General Assembly, as well as to international drug control conventions. If the fight against drug trafficking was to be won, concrete and effective action was needed. The Protocol on Combating Illicit Drugs provided a framework for regional drug control activities and required SADC Members to accede to United Nations drug control conventions. Most SADC Members were State party to those conventions and were implementing their provisions. Finally, he said the joint SADC-UNODC regional programme was adopted in 2011 to make the region safer from drugs and crime.
BYRGANYM AITIMOVA (Kazakhstan), speaking on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said organized crime was characterized by criminal networks that undermined the rule of law and threatened socioeconomic development. “The total volume of drug trafficking is horrifying,” she said, noting that as of 2009 it amounted to $1.3 billion. Reaffirming her delegation’s commitment to implementing internationally agreed commitments and working to enhance the United Nations anti-crime programme, she urged strengthening the United Nations’ “anti-crime and anti-drug profile”. She welcomed last year’s creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Drugs and Crime, in that regard.
The main destabilizing factor in her region was heroin production in Afghanistan, she said, also expressing concern at the sharp increase of illicit opium production in Afghanistan in 2011, compared to a previous reduction. As such, she urged establishing a partnership between CSTO and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on Afghan issues, and further expanding partnerships with regional organizations. She also highlighted the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre in Kazakhstan, which aimed to enhance multilateral cooperation to counter drug flows from Afghanistan. She also urged expanding the approach aimed at reintegrating drug users into society and the promotion of alternative development to phase out narcotic crop cultivation.
Finally, she said illegal migration and human trafficking was a growing phenomenon. She voiced her full support for the Global Plan of Action to combat trafficking in persons, and the initiative to hold a High-level Meeting to review progress in 2013. Regionally, CSTO Member States held coordinated preventive procedures and special operations to combat illegal migration. The last such operation saw more than 96,000 violations of immigration laws identified by CSTO immigration and law enforcement agencies. Special attention was being paid to collective efforts to ensure international information security. She concluded by reaffirming CSTO’s commitment to overcoming the problems of organized crime and drug trafficking through international cooperation, as well as regional and national strategies.
PIT KOEHLER, of the delegation of the European Union, said transnational crime and corruption posed threats to peace and security worldwide, hampered sustainable development in many different ways, and should be tackled in a holistic and integrated manner. Welcoming instruments, such as the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, he called on all States to further promote their adherence and implementation. The Union was fully committed to making international cooperation more effective and was continuously enhancing its internal legislative framework and intensifying cooperation on police, customs, and judicial civil and criminal law matters.
Corruption posed a serious threat to the integrity of governments, administration and societies, and the Union remained committed to further promotion of the ratification and implementation process of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The new review mechanism created in 2009 strengthened the common endeavour to fight corruption, he said, calling on all States to enable the participation of civil society in the reviews. Drug-related problems were also of major concern, as they posed threats to national and international security while endangering the health of individuals, communities and societies, he said, emphasizing the need for an integrated, multidisciplinary, evidence-based, mutually-reinforcing and balanced approach between demand and supply reduction.
Today’s interconnected world required an approach to internal security that encompassed international cooperation, he said. Turning to human trafficking, he said the European Union cooperation programmes supported the enactment of anti-trafficking legislation, among other things. Child sexual abuse was among the most horrific of crimes and with the internet facilitating the circulation of child pornography, the European Union last year strengthened the legal framework in that field by adopting a directive and launched the European Financial Coalition, including internet providers, banks and law enforcement, to combat the production, distribution and sale of child pornography images on the internet. In closing, he said the Union supported the United Nations’ pivotal role in the development of effective strategies and measures in fighting organized crime in all its forms and for the full respect and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms in that context.
BAJRAKITIYABHA MAHIDOL, Royal Highness Princess of Thailand, said crime and drugs must be tackled at their root causes, including poverty, low education quality and absence of the rule of law. Thailand firmly supported any effort aimed at mainstreaming crime prevention and criminal justice into the post-2015 development agenda, and was of the view that efforts should be intensified to promote United Nations system-wide coordination on those cross-cutting issues. Fighting transnational organized crime and corruption was a common, shared responsibility of the international community and relevant stakeholders, including civil society and international organizations, she said, outlining Thailand’s work at a regional level, for example, through co-chairing the Bali Process Workshop in Bangkok this year.
Thailand was also keen to promote the Bangkok Rules on treatment of women prisoners, and planned to collaborate with UNODC to organize the Asia-Pacific regional meeting on its implementation. Thailand also continued to promote sustainable alternative development to counter narcotic drugs, and was willing to share its experiences with the international community. “Opium cultivation in Thailand has been drastically reduced, through the provision of alternative legitimate income sources in Thailand’s northern provinces. By offering local communities alternative income-generating activities that are of higher value and risk free, they can have a more self-reliant livelihood and are capable of providing for a more sustainable future for children, which in turn will reduce the susceptibility of children and youth to crime and drugs,” she said.
GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said he wanted to focus on the human rights dimension of the rule of law, in particular the dimensions of accountability, prevention, the administration of justice and the eroding effect of corruption. At the same time, he hoped the General Assembly fully embraced the cross-cutting nature of the topic. Accountability was critical for the functioning of criminal justice systems in all areas, but it was particularly important when fundamental rights were violated and indispensible when violations were systematic or large-scale, such as in Syria. Calling on the Security Council to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court, he said that the Committee should send a clear message that such violations cannot go unpunished.
Affirming that many States were trying to meet the challenge of ensuring accountability, he commended the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme for its focus on capacity-building in domestic justice systems. He said that technical assistance by UNODC should be stepped up and particular emphasis should be given to strengthening domestic capability to prosecute the most serious crimes under international law, as such efforts could have a significant preventive impact. He also stressed the importance of access to legal aid, welcoming the adoption of principles and guidelines in that regard.
Turning to the international dimension of efforts to combat corruption, he said that his country had made the effort one of its development assistance priorities. To give due attention to corruption as an obstacle to the enjoyment of human rights, he advocated a systematic examination of corruption where it affected people most directly, including so-called “petty” corruption, which he said negatively affected the right to non-discrimination, the right to health, and the right to full political participation, to name but a few.
MOOTAZ KHALIL (Egypt), associating with the statements delivered on behalf of the Group of 77 and China and the African Group, said that the adoption of the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons by the General Assembly in July 2010 was a landmark in international efforts to eradicate trafficking. Further, no country was immune from corruption and all States needed to fight it by curbing the illicit transfer of funds, which was a responsibility and obligation under the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and exert every effort to repatriate funds of illicit origin to their countries of origin.
Expressing concern about the situation regarding amphetamine-type stimulants and the emergence of new psychoactive substances, he went on to add that there should be a special international focus on financing alternative development programs in order to eradicate poverty, particularly in areas that depended mainly on the cultivation of narcotic plants for their income. On the subject of trafficking, he added that working with partners, such as UNODC and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Egypt had implemented many successful projects in the areas of capacity-building, prevention and protection of trafficking victims. Concluding, he said trafficking in cultural property was also a top priority and he welcomed the recommendations issued by the intergovernmental expert group issued in June, which highlighted the importance of international cooperation at all levels, as well as the use of relevant data bases and tools developed by UNESCO, INTERPOL, the International Council of Museums and the World Customs Organization to assist States in the fight against such trafficking.
SHAN AO ( China) said transnational organized crime was a daunting challenge amid the production and trafficking of drugs and persons, as well as cyber attacks, which had become more connected and rampant. Such abuses had disrupted social order and challenged the peace and development of some regions. There was a common need to combat transnational organized crime. He highlighted the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity in the work to improve mechanisms for international cooperation. In such work, attention must also be paid to strengthening developing countries’ capacities. The sixth session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto would be held in Vienna next week, where a main agenda item was related to a mechanism to review implementation.
In that context, he said it was important to take the Convention’s special features into account. Government-led mechanisms and funding through the United Nations regular budget were essential. China would work to make the conference a success. On fighting trafficking in cultural property, he said destination countries must focus on import control, and take seriously claims by countries of origin. He underlined the importance of effective judicial systems, saying that in October China had issued a white paper on judicial reform, giving an account of its major achievements in that regard. That showed China’s determination to uphold the rule of law. Chinese authorities had cooperated with neighbours on human trafficking and worked to dismantle organized criminal groups. Further, China had improved its enforcement mechanisms for dealing with precursor chemicals, and also cooperated with UNODC and the International Narcotics Control Board.
BRIAN NICHOLS ( United States) said respect for rule of law played a critical role in combating drugs and crime, and the United Nations Conventions were the framework and centrepiece for such efforts. The experience of Colombia had demonstrated that, after a fight against cartels, an economy can flourish. There were similar successes elsewhere; through his country’s work with the Central America Regional Security Initiative, crime rates were dropping in the region. However, much needed to be done. The United States had entered partnerships with Caribbean countries and other initiatives to enhance their efforts at building societies that worked and lived in peace and security. The United Sates had provided nearly $99 million to combat narcotics in West Africa, and was also working in Central Asia to disrupt the opium trade coming out of Afghanistan. The United States also hoped to work with Burma against the production of stimulants in the region.
A strong push was needed to sustain those efforts, including finding ways to reduce opium cultivation. Consumers also needed to reduce their demand for drugs, and the United States had seen success in that area, with a drop in drug use of one third over the past 30 years, and a fall of nearly 40 per cent in cocaine use over the past 5 years. But, while globalization had brought progress, it had also produced challenges for law enforcement against large, transnational criminal organizations. By some estimates, some 150 types of synthetic drugs hit the market in 2012. New activities, such as illegal logging, also produced hundreds of billions of dollars in laundered proceeds that undermined democracy. He concluded with a call to join together to ensure that international efforts, determination and collective action were effective.
ALAN COELHO DE SÉLLOS ( Brazil) said crime was an old phenomenon that affected all countries and regions, without discrimination. Fighting crime, especially transnational organized crime, thus required stepping up efforts towards effective cooperation, including South-South cooperation. Brazil attached special importance to youth in the context of crime prevention, and its National Public Security and Citizenship Programme coupled traditional public safety strategies with actions that aimed to address the root causes of violence. The Programme strengthened the citizenship of communities, gave special attention to protection of children in vulnerable situations, and supported development of Police Pacification Units in the States of Rio de Janeiro.
On cyber-crime, he said it was a phenomenon of a truly global scope and an issue of significant technical complexity. Globally effective solutions deserved to be considered in appropriate multilateral fora, and Brazil supported the continued work by the open-ended intergovernmental expert group to conduct a comprehensive study on the problem. Turning to the world drug problem, he said Brazil understood no possible solution could be found without active engagement of the world’s largest consumers of illicit drugs. At a national level, Brazil had updated legislation and policies to integrate public health and human rights. Abroad, Brazil had focused on strengthening efforts with its South American neighbours to face the world drug problem.
LAURIE FERGUSON ( Australia) stated that no country was immune to transnational organized crime. Effective long-term solutions were necessary to break the back of transnational criminal networks and those solutions must bring together all stakeholders, including law enforcement and intelligence agencies, educators, civil society, non-governmental organizations and transnational crime survivors.
In the Asia-Pacific region, he added, Australia had worked actively with regional partners to combat people-smuggling and human trafficking, through the Bali Process, the pre-eminent mechanism in the region for policy dialogue and action on the matter. Further, recognizing the key role of regional organizations, such as the Central American Integration System (SICA) in combating transnational crime, Australia had contributed around $25 million to support a SICA programme spanning multiple elements that included violence reduction, civilian security, and poverty alleviation.
Preventing the smuggling of drugs and humans — some of the most insidious manifestations of transnational crime — needed to start with tackling demand, he said. On drug trafficking in particular, he stated that Australia, a destination country, was increasing the capability of border controls in the broader region, including the improvement of detection of narcotics at key air and sea ports. Australia had also developed several innovative ways of tackling drug suppliers, including the Proceeds of Crime legislation, which traced and confiscated the proceeds of narcotics and related crime.
HUSSEIN HANIFF ( Malaysia) attached “tremendous” importance to crime prevention as one of the country’s six “national key result areas”. The key result area on crime reduction outlined short- and long-term goals and aimed to optimize both resources and capacities. Transnational organized crime must be addressed in a more comprehensive manner, with possible approaches including strengthened law enforcement agencies and inter-agency cooperation. Fighting terrorism demanded effective international action in accordance with universally recognized principles governing international relations. Malaysia called on countries to reject extremism, as acceptance of moderation in international politics could help diffuse tensions.
He went on to say that the Council of Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Anti-Smuggling of Migrants formulated national action plans to address those issues. It was comprised of Government ministries and agencies, as well as civil society organizations. He said drug trafficking was a challenge in Southeast Asia, due to the close proximity to the Golden Crescent, the main opium-producing region. Measures to control such abuses were best carried out through international efforts, including bilateral and regional arrangements. Malaysia’s drug policy aimed to eliminate the supply and demand of illicit drugs. As for transnational organized crime, he called for a balanced, holistic approach.
Mr. DE LEON ( Cuba) said “we are all vulnerable to crime, including new and emerging crimes.” No country could combat terrorism, trafficking in persons, money laundering or illicit weapons on its own. Fighting them required a more just, equitable economic order that fully respected sovereignty and territorial integrity. Cuba rejected attempts by wealthy countries to impose their wills on others. No form of international organized crime had reached the scope - or costs in human and social terms - as had drug trafficking. Cuba was determined to work with others combating it at regional and international levels. Major measures were needed to tackle that problem in consuming countries.
He said Cuba rejected the list of countries related to transnational organized crime set up for political purposes by the United States Department of State, which was meant to punish countries that did not “fall in line” with United States’ views. In fact, the United States promoted illegal immigration of Cubans to its territory by applying the Cuban Adjustment Law. More than 3,400 Cubans had lost their lives as a result of terrorism, and many responsible for those crimes were walking free on United States streets. Cuba had never been used to carry out terrorism against any country. His Government would cooperate with any State to prevent and combat international terrorism. It had complied with international obligations to combat terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and piracy, to name a few, and all those abuses were penalized in Cuban legislation.
LUIS-ALFONSO DE ALBA ( Mexico), speaking also on behalf of Colombia and Guatemala, said his region faced an onslaught of organized crime that compromised both development and security. Despite efforts in recent decades, the international strategy to address the global drug problem had not been effective. The United Nations must spearhead a serious debate to evaluate that policy. In line with the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, adopted by the General Assembly in 2009, the Commission on Narcotic Drugs would hold a high-level review of those instruments in 2014.
He went on to say that his delegation would promote a decision, by the General Assembly, to hold a high-level meeting that would benefit from the Commission’s assessment. That meeting would take action to develop a policy for addressing the global drug problem. In the same way the United Nations provided solutions to overcome problems related to health and climate change, so too must it adopt actions to stop the wave of violence that caused so much suffering to the world’s peoples.
NAOTO HISAJIMA ( Japan) welcomed that the Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Rule of Law, adopted September 2012, stressed the importance of strengthened international cooperation to counter the world drug problem and transnational organized crime. Each State had the individual responsibility to strengthen their judicial system to combat crime, though the international community had a shared responsibility. “A loophole created in one State affects the neighbouring States and consequently undermines the effectiveness of the international legal framework,” he said. “In this regard, Japan has adopted a zero-tolerance policy against the abuse of narcotic drugs. We especially need to be cautious about arguments to decriminalize or even legalize drug-related activities.”
Japan provided assistance through UNODC to countries in Southeast Asia and Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries to improve the capacity of law enforcement personnel and prevent corruption. His country was especially concerned about trafficking in persons, as perpetrators’ techniques were growing more sophisticated and invisible. Recognizing that it was important to share information between countries of victim origin and destination, Japan had dispatched Government delegations to several countries, established a joint task force with Thailand, and shared information with other Asian countries. Japan was also concerned about the increase in cases of child pornography through the use of the Internet, and had made efforts in education, support for child victims and cooperation with Internet service providers to block child pornography images on the Internet.
OBAID SALEM SAEED AL ZAABI ( United Arab Emirates) underlined his country’s firm commitment to combating such crimes as terrorism and illicit trafficking in drugs and persons, which were mutually reinforcing, as well as its resolve to cooperate with multilateral efforts to eliminate them. The United Arab Emirates had acceded and ratified international conventions and protocols on transnational organized crimes, as well as those to combat terrorism. Two regional conventions to combat terrorism also had been signed: the Arab Anti-Terrorism Convention and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Convention to Combat Terrorist Crimes. In such work, his Government accorded great importance to the need to exchange information.
He went on to say that the United Arab Emirates, in cooperation with other stakeholders, had established the Centre for Combating Violent Extremism in Abu Dhabi, which would begin its work this year to study the root causes of extremism. On other matters, his country had made enormous efforts to combat human trafficking, notably by acceding to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. The United Arab Emirates had also enacted a law on human trafficking, as well as set up two national commissions to combat that problem. Further, a new law criminalized electronic crimes, including cybercrime and electronic piracy.
MARÍA CLARISA SOLÓRZANO-ARRIAGADA ( Nicaragua) underlined the importance of territorial integrity in dealing with transnational organized crimes, such as money laundering and human trafficking. Nicaragua respected all international conventions, including the Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons. Improved police standards had led to a reduction in homicides in 2011. While drug trafficking and organized crime was covered in national law, international attention was needed, as such crimes were on the rise.
To be sure, Nicaragua was combating organized crime, she said, but countries must also recognize the principle of shared, but differentiated responsibilities. Nicaragua was a transit country and had limited resources. She called for international assistance to make progress. In that vein, she said INTERPOL had visited Nicaragua and signed an accord with the Nicaraguan national police. Nicaragua’s police force had received praise for its efforts to ensure increased citizen security and combat both organized crime and drug trafficking. Indeed, Nicaragua had the lowest crime rate in the region. Finally, she said Nicaragua was part of the Central American Security Commission and had carried out regional efforts against organized crime, including those focused on youth violence reincarceration and strengthening national police forces.
MOHAMMED LOULICHKI ( Morocco) said various parts of the world had become hotbeds for transnational organized crime, which threatened the territorial integrity, institutions, economic development and security of the affected countries. He reiterated concern at the growing links between trafficking in drugs, humans and transnational organized crime in the Sahel, which obstructed economic development. On drug trafficking, he said strategies must include an “upstream” reduction in demand and supply, as well as resources to fund substitute crops.
In its 2011 report, the International Narcotics Control Board had recognized Morocco’s efforts to stop the production and trafficking of cannabis, he said. But, national efforts to combat trafficking in drugs, arms and humans could only be made concrete through regional cooperation. In 2009, Morocco organized the first ministerial meeting of African coastal States in Rabat, which led to the 2010 adoption of a Plan of Action on regional cooperation. Criminal networks were a transnational reality, given the logistical and financial resources available to them. Following Morocco’s ratification of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, it committed to harmonizing its internal laws, including the new penal code, with that instrument.
TROND HÅVARD RUDI ( Norway) said many transnational criminals were moving between licit and illicit markets, taking advantage of safe havens and using violence to reach their goals of maximizing profit. The cocaine flow from Latin America to West Africa and Europe was but one example of how criminals were exploiting porous borders and weak customs. For its part, Norway had a restrictive drug policy, but treated dependency as a chronic disease, targeting scarce police resources on the criminal networks.
In a new white paper to Parliament, the Government acknowledged the increased threat from organized crime to security and development, he said, urging that the response must be global. Norway would prioritize such work at the United Nations and also support the development of a global strategy against organized crime. The Secretary-General’s establishment of a Task Force on Transnational Organized Crime was a step in the right direction and Norway expected it to contribute significantly to strategic responses. Finally, Norway acknowledged the effects of the media and civil society in reporting on criminal organizations, saying their work was crucial, but likely among the most dangerous jobs one could imagine.
MOURAD BENMEHIDI ( Algeria) said, despite progress, drugs continued to harm security, stability, public health and development around the world. New problems were springing up in various regions and crime was an ongoing concern, touching a large and increasingly young population. He expressed grave concern about the situation in certain States in the Sahel region, where long and porous borders facilitated the activities of transnational criminal groups and terrorists. In the face of those planetary problems, the time had come to show the determination to act against those plagues. Eliminating drugs cannot be left to each country alone; combating the phenomenon required shared responsibilities and an integrated approach, he said.
The time had come for the world community to have an implementation mechanism for the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, he said, calling for real content to be given to the El Salvador Declaration to make crime prevention an integral part of economic development. For its part, the Algerian Government has adopted a number of mechanisms, including a five-year strategy that emphasized prevention, care and suppression efforts. On the subject of payments of ransoms to terrorist groups to liberate hostages, he said Algeria was pleased the Security Council introduced in Resolution 1904 the prohibition of payments of ransoms to terrorist groups. Algeria would like to criminalize the practice.
ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) said the vicious cycle of production, trafficking and consumption of narcotics must be addressed through genuine, comprehensive global and regional strategies. “While the Afghan Government is committed to addressing the issue of poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, production does not occur without the persistent problems of trafficking and consumption. There is not one origin of the problem, but three interconnected and complex challenges,” he said. The drug trade was part of the conflict economy, which drove Afghanistan’s instability. Farmers often fell into poppy production out of desperate, misguided attempts to emerge from war-induced poverty, or due to coercion from traffickers. But, they only received a small fraction of the proceeds from the sale of their crops, while the vast majority of profits were made outside Afghanistan by traffickers and often supported networks of global crime and terrorism.
The Afghan Government was committed to eliminating poppy production, but efforts toward eradication were complicated. “We must fight the perception that those who seek to keep the drug industry alive are supporting the livelihoods of Afghan farmers, while those who seek to eradicate poppies are punishing them. This is why creating alternative livelihoods for farmers and promoting economic opportunities are crucial,” he said. Tangible progress included reducing poppy cultivation from 193,000 hectares to 131,000 hectares over the last five years, and increasing the number of poppy-free provinces from 6 to 17. However, those gains could be lost, he said, pointing out that narcotics were the primary source of funding for the Taliban and terrorist organizations in the region. “By halting narcotics production in Afghanistan, we eliminate a significant source of funding for the Taliban and terrorist groups. Therefore, an anti-narcotics plan for Afghanistan is also a counter-terrorism plan,” he said.
AKSOLTAN ATAEVA (Turkmenistan), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), supported closer cooperation between CIS Member States and the United Nations to combat organized crime, as well as activities to implement the El Salvador Declaration. CIS States were cooperating to combat extremism, terrorist threats, organized crime, information and technology crimes, and trafficking in humans and drugs. The General Assembly’s adoption of a counter-terrorism strategy had provided a foundation, but its implementation had been encumbered by a lack of agreement on a terrorism convention. She called for overcoming differences and completing work on that instrument.
Trafficking in small arms and light weapons was closely linked to transnational organized crime, especially terrorism, she said, and CIS States were working to develop mechanisms to eradicate such illicit trafficking. Work was being carried out through various organizations, at both national and international levels. As for human trafficking, the international teaching centre in Minsk, Belarus, had trained experts on preventing human trafficking. It had taught over 800 experts from CIS law enforcement agencies. Recommendations had also been made to ensure implementation of international treaties. Such domestic procedures included the regular holding of “special border operations”, as well as operations to end poaching and to protect bioresources in the Caspian Sea. In closing, she said CIS States were keen to step up crime prevention efforts, which would be discussed at the next Council of the Heads of State in Turkmenistan later this year.
LIRON ZASLANSKY ( Israel) stressed the importance of collective efforts on the part of the entire international community to fight the threats of drugs and related crime. She said that drug addiction was a chronic health disorder, however, and addicts must be treated with dignity and respect. In that light, she appreciated UNODC’s emphasis to put a humanitarian approach at the heart of drug-control policy. She described what she called her country’s well-coordinated infrastructure that provided a continuum of prevention and treatment services for drug abuse victims and their families, taking individual needs into account and often offering treatment as an alternative to incarceration. In demand-reduction measures, there was an increase in youth-oriented outreach involving peer-to-peer awareness-raising, the Internet, parents, social networks and life-skills programmes embedded in the formal education system.
To cope with the growing synthetic drug threat, she said, Israel was constantly amending its dangerous-drug ordinances and targeting new sales locations. To counter money laundering, the country had a special authority that was in close contact with international and foreign national intelligence units and other mechanisms. A centre for monitoring drugs and alcohol compiled quality data to promote evidence-based policy and best-practice models for countering substance abuse threats. In international cooperation, Israel had established an institution to share with representatives of developing countries its experience in fighting illicit drug traffic and drug abuse, and during its last session it garnered UNODC’s support and cooperation, which she hoped would continue. She reiterated her country’s commitment to do its part in the collective global fight to control drugs and fulfil its obligations as a signatory to all three relevant treaties, and as a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
IRINA VELICHKO ( Belarus), aligning with CSTO and CIS, underlined the need for States to uphold their international commitments, as well as General Assembly instruments. She also called for a system to provide States with legal assistance on criminal matters. Strengthening that legal framework would be impossible without the timely provision of technical assistance. Belarus was grateful to UNODC for its provision of technical and expert assistance to States working to combat transnational organized crime. Belarus had a sound legislative basis to counter corruption, human trafficking and illicit migration, she said, noting that activities in those areas had stabilized crime. A new joint State programme was being implemented for the 2013-2015 period, which brought together efforts to combat crime, corruption, and drugs trafficking, among other threats.
She noted that in January 2012, a law to combat human trafficking was adopted, outlining free social protection and rehabilitation for victims. In 2013, the General Assembly would assess the implementation of the global action plan to combat human trafficking and she called on the Assembly President to convene a high-level meeting on that assessment. On other matters, she said the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends United Against Human Trafficking included a new member, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. A Declaration on Global Efforts to Combat Trafficking in Persons was adopted and would be disseminated for broad use. Finally, Belarus would submit a resolution on improved coordination to combat that problem, which she hoped would be supported, as in the past.
SOLOMON K. MAINA, Director, Multilateral Affairs Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, said that despite concerted efforts to combat rising crime and suppress the sale of drugs, both problems continued to spiral out of control. Eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa had seen an increase in the supply of illicit drugs destined for Europe and Asia. “Our fight-back strategies have not been very successful,” he said, stressing the imperative to change tact and discuss a completely novel approach to dealing with those problems. The reasons for increased drug production and consumption, in source and destination countries, must be critically examined. Kenya also was concerned at the proliferation of small arms and light weapons. The Horn of Africa was awash with them, yet did not produce them.
For its part, Kenya had diverted enormous resources to strengthening its security apparatus, he said, noting that Kenya and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) had staged a successful counter-terrorism mission that captured the last Al-Shabaab terrorist stronghold of Kismayo earlier this month. “This is a big leap toward stabilizing Somalia,” he said. The international community must do more to stem the flow of small arms and light weapons, notably by devising a legally binding treaty to ensure that arms originating from the licit trade did not end up on the illicit market. As for piracy off the coast of Somalia, he said that since the Kenyan military operation had begun last year, no piracy incident had occurred of the Kenyan or Somali coastal areas. On other matters, new legislation had improved measures to prevent human trafficking and protect victims. Judicial reforms were also underway to promote high standards of conduct among judicial officers.
AHMADU GIADE, Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria, said his Government had strengthened relevant national law enforcement measures and empowered agencies for combating drug abuse through increased funding, legislative reviews and capacity-building. “The recent discovery of two clandestine laboratories installed for the illicit production of methamphetamine in Lagos has proved the efficacy of these measures, and will continue to provide the incentive needed for strict monitoring of access to precursor chemicals used for methamphetamine production in the country,” he said.
Nigerian drug and customs agencies also recorded tremendous successes, including the seizing and public destruction a total of 187,505 kilograms of drugs in 2011 and thousands of arrests and convictions. Since its creation, Nigeria’s National Drug Law Enforcement Agency had made a huge difference in the fight against illicit drugs. “Our laws will also be further strengthened to prevent any loopholes and the escape of criminals and miscreants,” he said. Successes had not been without challenges, but Nigeria would redouble its efforts towards the dismantling of all drug trafficking syndicates in the country.
VITALII KASAP ( Ukraine) said international cooperation was an indispensable instrument in building the necessary capacity of States to tackle crime and enhance criminal justice. Ukraine had placed the fight against transnational organized crime and drug trafficking on par with the war on terror and trafficking in weapons and nuclear materials, she said, noting that Ukraine had just adopted a new version of its Criminal Procedure Code. Also deeply committed to the fight against corruption, Ukraine supported the enhanced multilateral activities of United Nations entities and Member States in combating human trafficking within the framework of the Global Plan of Action. He said the United Nations Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons was one of the recent greatest achievements of the entire United Nations, effectively supporting organizations across the world that were providing direct services to victims.
Over the past decade, the problem of illegal migration had worsened in Ukraine and had a direct connection with drug trafficking, as the illicit movement of illegal migrants followed the same transit path as the one used for transporting drugs, he said. Drug trafficking was also a major challenge to the international community, given its negative impact on socioeconomic development, public health and security. Implementing the Political Declaration and the Plan of Action on International Cooperation and an integrated and comprehensive approach to tackling the illicit drug problem were positive contributions. Last May, the Government held a high-level international conference to discuss approaches in national policy on dealing with the illicit drug problem and the treatment of drug-dependent persons. The fight against illicit drugs was only possible with the international community’s support, and Ukraine was fully committed to responding to the problem through an integrated, multidisciplinary, evidence-based and balanced approach.
KANYA KHAMMOUNGKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said the Lao Government had undertaken various measures to combat drug trafficking aimed at eradicating opium cultivation. Armed with upscale international support, his country had been declared opium free in 2006. However, it was sad to say that over the past few years it had seen an increase in opium cultivation again, at an “alarming pace” due to decreasing attention from the international community. “The two main reasons associated with the return of opium cultivation in the Lao PDR are poverty and high price of opium in international market,” he said. Poverty drove poor people to opium cultivation as it was easier to grow, had a low investment cost, it was easy to transport and they received more profit. They could earn more income with 1 kilogram of opium than 100 kilograms of rice, he said.
That challenge could only be addressed effectively through sustainable regional and international cooperation, he said. Elimination of opium cultivation must coincide with poverty eradication and sustainable development. Human trafficking was another organised criminal activity that had significant political, security and development implications for all nations. Due to its geographical location, Lao People’s Democratic Republic was considered a country of origin and also a transit channel and a destination for trafficking of persons, especially women and girls. To tackle that crime, the Government adopted a national strategy, as well as related laws to impose stiffer punishment on human traffickers. The Lao Government had also been contributing to a regional plan of action, which included assistance to trafficking victims.
SULJUK MUSTANSAR TARAR ( Pakistan) agreed that for UNODC to perform its tasks, “we need to fix the organizational and administrative issues”, he said. One idea was to increase funding from the United Nations budget. Pakistan would participate in the intergovernmental working group on improving the governance and financial situation of UNODC to address issues raised by Mr. CHAWLA. On drug trafficking, he said that to ignore or downplay the demand factor would be “at our peril” and he reiterated more focus was needed on the demand side, notably for consumer countries, who must strengthen efforts to suppress drug use within their territories. UNODC should play a lead role in providing technical assistance to States.
He went on to say that Pakistan was State party to all drug control conventions and had taken legal and administrative measures for their implementation. Pakistan also continued to suffer as a transit country. It had launched a country programme with UNODC that accounted for all facets of the drug problem, an issue which must be approached by all regional countries and include the International Narcotics Control Board. The enormity of the problem also called for assistance including provision of technical equipment. In line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, States should cooperate on information exchange. They also should develop mechanisms to overcome obstacles arising from bank secrecy laws. Crime could not be fought without effective judicial system, while secure borders were an added deterrent. In sum, he supported sustainable funding for United Nations mechanisms to serve the assistance needs of States.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI (Costa Rica) said drug trafficking and the crime networks that ran it had ravaged public health and social development, fostered corruption, crime and instability and destabilized peace and security. The international community must act in a manner that would overcome the failed strategies of the past, he said. Well-balanced policies that were in line with national, regional and global perspectives must take into account the concerned States’ national capacity, he said. Individual, collective and institutional suffering also came from drug trafficking and should be addressed as part of the approach to combating it, which should provide, among other things, aid and treatment of addicts.
Given Costa Rica’s geographical location, he was well aware of the impact of transnational crime, which had drained resources that would have been better used in health, education and other social areas. He appealed to Member States to enhance their cooperation with initiatives in his region. Some activities included capacity building, crime prevention and fostering jobs for youth, he said, noting that such initiatives had already reduced the volume of drug trafficking. In dealing with illicit drugs, he supported a coordinated approach that used all the United Nations resources.
MISFER AL-SHWANI ( Qatar) said drugs and crime had had a deep negative impact on the world. A recent conference on crime policy had focused on a range of important issues that needed to be addressed. Likewise, human trafficking was a flagrant violation of human rights and the world was trying to find a solution to that problem. For its part, Qatar had supported efforts to quell transnational organized crime, and had ratified all international instruments related to the problem of terrorism, in addition to establishing a number of legislative measures. Qatar had also created a number of institutions to provide victim assistance and had hosted the second Doha seminar on combating human trafficking, which were part of the effort to put an end to that phenomenon in Arab States.
Tackling illicit drugs was another area of concern, he said. Qatar had implemented awareness-raising activities, which had already achieved results in reducing demand. Aside from supporting and ratifying international instruments and treaties, national efforts included organizing seminars in schools and clubs to further raise awareness. With only three years left for achieving the Millennium Goals, drug trafficking posed a problem and efforts must continue to support all relevant agencies in their work. He hoped that through all those efforts, the drug problem would be finally eliminated.
JULIUS LIM ( Singapore), describing the case of a drug abuser he had met first-hand working as a law enforcement officer, said that drug abuse was sometimes referred to as a public health problem. The logic behind that view was there would always be people who engaged in risky behaviours, and it was therefore not realistic to believe that universal abstinence could be achieved. The purported goal of such a strategy of drug control was simply to mitigate the health risk associated with drug abuse. To that end, research had claimed that decriminalizing drugs could lead to a reduction in use and there was a growing feeling that traditional anti-drug efforts had failed. Yet, Singapore, on the other hand, took a zero-tolerance approach to the matter, in which drug use was deterred through preventive education, strict laws and rigorous enforcement. The strategy had achieved positive results and the country’s drug abuse situation today compared favourably to any other country in the world.
Indeed, he continued, “ Singapore’s fight against drugs is not a rhetorical one.” It had a robust system to deter, detect and rehabilitate drug users, with talks regularly conducted at schools to teach youth about the harmful effects of drugs. At the same time, the country’s police, immigration and narcotics officers undertook round-the-clock, inter-agency operations to detect drug users, shut down drug dens and “take out” those who attempted to traffic drugs into Singapore. As a result, over the past 17 years, the number of drug abusers in the country had declined from 208 drug users arrested per 100,000 in 1994 to 86 per 100,000 in 2011. On rehabilitation, the Government was committed to helping abusers return to their families and workplace; abusers who were admitted into rehabilitation centres underwent specialized intervention programmes and a “step-down” care system was also available. The drug problem was complex and tackling it successfully depended on the lengths each society was willing to go, conceptually and morally, to tolerate drug abuse. “ Singapore has earned its reputation as a crime-free, clean and green nation,” which was largely drug free, he stressed.
MONIA ALSALEH ( Syria) said her country was party to the majority of international instruments that had been adopted in the fight against crime, seeking to modernize national legislation. Syria had signed the INTERPOL Charter and applied all subsequent resolutions. In 2010, it adopted a legislative decree to address human trafficking, while a number of workshops had been held to raise public awareness about that crime. The fact that criminal groups used information and communications technologies to carry out their crimes meant there was a need to follow those developments, using all means. Such activities were often supported by hegemonic States seeking to advance their goals, in flagrant violation of human rights.
She said Syria had seen increased infiltration of Al-Qaeda mercenaries into its territory, who were being funded and trained by jihadists and with international support. Those States had also invented private security companies, free armies, and terrorist militia, all of whom sought to persuade the world that they were security forces protecting diplomatic missions, or even schools in countries facing instability. She called on States to abide by international commitments, convinced that United Nations efforts would be effective in that context. Syria was working with UNODC and sought to consolidate resources for UNODC. In closing, she hoped States would address the root causes of drug-related crimes and human trafficking to develop solutions that focused on prevention.
ESHAGH AL HABIB ( Iran) said Iran had proved its determination to curtail illegal narcotics transit routes from Afghanistan, as thousands of its police and law enforcement officers had lost their lives, and millions of dollars had been allocated to that issue. Other national measures included mobilization of 30,000 military and law enforcement troops along the borders with Afghanistan and Pakistan. There was a need to review regional and international policies to overcome shortfalls and counter the global narcotics problem. He emphasized Iran’s readiness to cooperate with others to resolve such global problems.
He said UNODC data showed that Afghanistan was the main producer of opiates and a major source of drug abuse and trafficking. The Taliban’s collapse, creation of the Afghan legitimate government and presence of western coalition forces had only increased the cultivation of opiates throughout the country. On other matters, he said traffickers endangered the stability on Iran’s eastern borders. To stem the flow of narcotics from Afghanistan, Iran had established inspection checkpoints for vehicles and carried out intelligence operations, measures that had allowed it to confiscate massive volumes of narcotics. Regionally, Iran collaborated with its neighbours, as well as with “Balkan Route” countries, and hosted two regional information exchange centres on its territory. Internationally, Iran had signed various cooperation agreements for combating drugs and participated in international conferences, including the Paris Pact round tables.
THANT SIN ( Myanmar) said in sharp contrast to last year’s session, the world drug situation looked bleaker now, as illicit opium production was returning to previous high levels. The international community should take a holistic approach to prevent the causes by placing more emphasis on reviewing and exchanging successful measures taken by relevant governments. “It is a global menace that cannot be dealt with by a single nation,” he said, adding that national efforts must be complemented by effective cooperative efforts at regional and international levels. “Positive results can only be achieved through sustained and collective efforts.”
Myanmar had waged a relentless war on illicit drugs since its independence in 1948, with successive governments carrying out campaigns to eradicate opium poppy cultivation and drug abuse. His country was in the final phase of a fifteen-year-long Narcotic Elimination Plan, to be concluded in 2014. That multi-sectoral plan covered a spectrum of supply reduction, law enforcement, community participation and international cooperation. Two strategies were: to eradicate narcotic drugs as a national task; and eradicating opium poppy cultivation through the promotion of a livelihood for all people residing in the remote border areas where poppy cultivation took place. The 2011 opium survey reported that Myanmar’s opium production had increased at a slow pace, despite the fact that the Government had destroyed 23,721 hectares of poppy plantations during the 2011 and 2012 season, which was three times larger than the previous season. Legal action had also tackled 3,471 cases involving narcotics, including the seizure of 1,786 kilograms of opium, 49 kilograms of heroin, 1.92 million stimulant tables and 356 kilograms of ephedrine. Myanmar also worked regionally towards efforts to make the region drug-free by 2015.
MS. HADY ( Yemen) said the prevalence of poverty had led to rising tides of transnational organized crime. Yemen believed fighting corruption was a prerequisite for development, and had taken a number of actions, including enacting the financial disclosure law, and launching awareness-raising campaigns. For its part, Yemen had acceded to the relevant conventions and had introduced an anti-drug law nationally, alongside regional efforts with a view to bringing perpetrators to justice. Drug trafficking was not only a crime; it was a violation of human rights and dignity.
She said human trafficking was also a scourge that needed to be addressed. It was important first to examine poverty and the reasons behind human trafficking. To fully address the problem, countries had to undertake a number of activities and make commitments, seeking solutions through international cooperation and partnership.
SIRODJIDIN M. ASLOV (Tajikistan), aligning with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and the Commonwealth of Independent States, said his country had acceded to the United Nations anti-narcotic conventions of 1961, 1971 and 1988, as well as signed various other agreements. It was estimated that people around the world were spending more on drugs than food, housing, clothing or medical services. The challenges of terrorist financing and HIV/AIDS were only some of the sad consequences of the drug problem. Over the last decade, much of the global market had been dominated by amphetamines, whose users exceeded the number of people using opiates and cocaine combined. Many efforts were being taken at national and regional levels to combat the drug problem, but the international community must unite to reduce supply and demand.
In such work, the United Nations must remain the central actor in coordinating a unified strategy against drugs, he said. Tajikistan, located between the main opium producer and consumer countries, was a buffer against drug transit. Its law enforcement and security bodies had seized over 73 tonnes of illicit drugs, meaning that around $1.5 million had not reached organized gangs. Effective regional coordination could be a foundation for combating the drug threat. More broadly, he said multilateral cooperation depended on building peace in Afghanistan, a country that needed targeted technical assistance, including programmes for alternative development of the agricultural sector, and steps to create lasting jobs and improve education. It also was necessary to broaden the use of authoritative regional organizations. In closing, he said Tajikistan would continue to support any reasonable initiative to combat drug trafficking and addiction.
JUNG JIN-HO ( Republic of Korea) said that while some remarkable progress had been made, drug and crime related problems took on different forms every day and required more comprehensive approaches by the global community to address them. Focussing on the need for greater efforts to build a secure cyberspace and the significance of information sharing between authorities, he said that the Republic of Korea was providing technical assistance to law enforcement in developing countries that were fighting cybercrimes. In partnership with the UNODC, the Korean Institute of Criminology had launched an online training programme, “The Virtual Forum against Cybercrime” in 2010, which offered intensive training on digital forensics, cybercrime investigation, data protection and other related issues.
In addition, he said that in October 2013 the Korean Government would host a high-level forum, the Conference on Cyberspace, that would cover comprehensive cyber issues with multi-stakeholders. Turning to the importance of sharing information, he said that the transnational nature of illicit drug trafficking made information sharing between producing, transit, and consuming countries the basis for effective international cooperation. He commended UNODC and the International Narcotics Control Board for their crucial role in distributing information, and noted his country’s support for those efforts, through, among other means, financial contributions to the Global SMART Programme and in-depth presentations made to UNODC and the International Narcotics Control Board during their missions to the country this past year.
Right of reply
Syria’s representative, exercising her right of reply, referred to the representative of Liechtenstein’s statement this morning as a flagrant diversion from the topic under consideration. She noted that an important part of what was going on in Syria, including terrorist acts, would have to be considered transnational crime, she said. The terrorism about which she had spoken struck Damascus twice in the last few days, and groups affiliated with Al-Qaida had claimed responsibility for those acts. She wanted to remind her colleague from Liechtenstein that other national authorities had indicated knowledge of foreign combatants travelling to Syria to take part in acts of aggression, including the British Foreign Secretary’s announcement today and the recent announcement by Australian authorities.
* *** *