Combating Transnational Crime, Need for Greater Funding Overriding Themes as Third Committee Concludes Debate

10 October 2013
GA/SHC/4068

Combating Transnational Crime, Need for Greater Funding Overriding Themes as Third Committee Concludes Debate

10 October 2013
General Assembly
GA/SHC/4068
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-eighth General Assembly

Third Committee

8th Meeting (AM)

Combating Transnational Crime, Need for Greater Funding

 

Overriding Themes as Third Committee Concludes Debate

 

The need for coordinated international cooperation in combating all forms of organized transnational crime and for more robust financial support to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) were two recurring topics on which delegates in the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) focused today, as they concluded their discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.

Senegal’s representative was among the many speakers who said that only robust collective actions could be effective in combating the “scourge” of the illicit trade in narcotic drugs.  Otherwise, States with fragile economies and societies would be “annihilated”, he added.  The trafficking of drugs, in fact, fuelled other criminal activities such as organized transnational crime.  Other aggravating factors were porous borders, poverty and political instability.  West Africa was particularly vulnerable in that respect and had turned from being a transit to a consumer region.

International efforts should focus on the improvement of international legislations, he continued.  Senegal, therefore, like many others, welcomed multilateral instruments such as the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Corruption.

Cuba’s representative said: “Every country, irrespective of its economic power, extension and number of inhabitants, is vulnerable to the different forms of crime, including the emerging ones.”  For that reason, prevention was a task of primary importance for the international community.  The fight against such crimes passed through the fight against underdevelopment, as well as through a more equitable distribution of the international economic wealth.  No State alone could combat terrorism, narcotic drugs, human trafficking, money-laundering or illicit trade of weapons.

Montenegro’s representative recognized the invaluable work of UNODC in assisting and coordinating the efforts of Member States in countering illicit drugs.  For this reason, he emphasized the importance of ensuring that it had predictable and sustainable financial resources, which would allow it to deliver on its mandate.

Bahrain’s delegate commended the efforts undertaken by UNODC in fighting human trafficking, particularly through its global report on the topic.  This heinous phenomenon was a threat to the world, people’s dignity and the economy, he said.  Bahrain had established specialized entities to protect the rights of victims, implemented a series of measures and participated in relevant international conferences.  This year, the focus was to build national capacity to combat human trafficking and provide various kinds of support, including counselling, the provision of shelters and the launch of websites and hotlines.

With the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem scheduled for 2016, many speakers underlined the importance of having the Commission on Narcotic Drugs lead the preparations to the event.  As the United Nations policymaking body on drug-related issues, the Commission was also in charge of organizing the high-level review of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug.

Other topics featuring high in today’s discussion included cybercrime, shared responsibility, the nexus between poverty and organized crime and targeted solutions for producer and consumer countries.

Also participating today were speakers representing Morocco, Indonesia, Iran, Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana, Yemen, Laos, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Peru, Afghanistan, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates.

The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 11 October, when it is expected to begin its consideration of the advancement of women and the implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to wrap up its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.  (For background, see Press Release GA/SHC/4067.)

Statements

AMINE BELHAJ ( Morocco), aligning himself with the Group of 77 and China, reaffirmed the importance of international peace and security and sustainable development.  Regional and sub-regional cooperation was vital as certain regions had become the targets of transnational organized crimes, including the Sahel region.  The fight against narcotic drugs was based on three pillars — strengthening collective action to decrease demand for such substances, sharing information and best practices and developing alternative crops for economic development.  Morocco had adopted a series of measures in this regard, including establishing an office that coordinated drug issues.  Following its ratification of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crimes, its authorities passed relevant legislation and established a new criminal court.  As a country of origin, transit and destination of migration, Morocco had initiated a measure to protect migrants with a focus on their human rights.  The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) had made a noteworthy contribution to the capacity building in Africa.

ANDY RACHMIANTO (Indonesia), speaking for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), reiterated his country’s commitment to combating transnational crime, including economic crime, drug trafficking and money laundering, as well as new emerging crimes, such as cybercrime, illicit trafficking of cultural properties, illicit trafficking in forest products and illegal and unreported fishing practices.  As an archipelagic state, it was prone to crimes committed at sea, within its territory are transit points for such crimes, including sea armed robbery, people smuggling and illegal fishing.  Turning to the issue of corruption, he said that it remained a high priority of his country, however additional capacity building and technical assistance in developing countries was needed.  In conclusion, Indonesia reiterated that counter-terrorism efforts must be conducted with full respect for human rights and the rule of law, with the need to eliminate its root causes.

GHOLAMHOSSEIN DEHGHANI ( Iran) said that due to new technology, corruption and organized crime, related problems were transforming into new forms, including online exploitation of children, Internet abuse and new innovative drugs.  However, due to its geographical location, drug trafficking was the highest priority for the country.  He noted that troops were mobilized along the joint border with Pakistan and Afghanistan and fortifications, facilities, intelligent control systems and border checkpoints had been reinforced to prevent the entry of trafficking caravans.  Despite the significance of current strategies for combating drugs such as regional cooperation, demand reduction and precursor chemicals control, he stressed that the issue could not be resolved without addressing the root causes of the problem in Afghanistan.  International and regional partners should concentrate their efforts on laying down a foundation for sustainable economic growth and better living conditions for those in Afghanistan.

ABDOU SALAM DIALLO ( Senegal), associating himself with the Non-Aligned Movement, said that his country had prioritized the fight against narcotic drugs and organized transnational crime.  His country had held a subregional workshop in September 2012 aimed at harmonizing the legislation on the matter.  The workshop served as a follow-up to the Ministerial Conference hosted in Dakar in 2010 on the illicit trade of narcotic drugs.  Echoing many other speakers, he said that only collective robust actions could be effective in combating this “scourge”.  Without them, in fact, States with fragile economies and societies would be “annihilated”.  Drug trafficking fuelled other criminal activities such as organized transnational crime, he added.  Border porosity, poverty and political instability made the challenge all the more difficult.  West Africa was particularly vulnerable and had turned from being a transit to being a consumer region, as shown by data from UNODC.  International efforts should focus on the improvement of international legislations.  His country welcomed the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and the Convention on the Prevention and Combating of Corruption.  Criminal networks had resorted to using new forms of communication technology.  Accordingly, international cooperation had to focus both on technical assistance to reinforce national strategies of more exposed countries, as well as strengthening policies for the eradication of poverty, underdevelopment and political and social instability, he concluded.

RODNEY CHARLES ( Trinidad and Tobago), aligned with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), underscored his country’s commitment to crime prevention and criminal justice.  In line with General Assembly resolution 67/189, which invited Member States to address the “factors that place certain populations and places at higher risk of victimization and/or of offending”, the national mentorship programme was established.  The country recognized the importance of nurturing relationships between adults and children, and adults and youths.  The programme guided youth into becoming socially and emotionally well balanced with the aim of having them become economically secure adults who contributed positively to society.  Despite progress made in this and many other initiatives in tackling drug trafficking and consumption, as well as trade in small arms and light weapons, challenges persisted, inter alia due the lack of capacity to collect and analyse relevant data.

CHARLES THEMBAI NTWAAGAE (Botswana), aligning with the Group of 77 and China and with the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said that despite  increased global attention, high-profile crime and current trends in transnational organized crime continued to pose serious challenges, which undermined security and development.  Regardless of its prominence in the international agenda and efforts made to raise public awareness, trafficking in persons, especially women and girls, had become a major social and economic phenomenon, worsened by alarming increases in child victims.  Many countries, like Botswana, remained fertile grounds for traffickers, who capitalised on vulnerabilities created by poverty, inequality, unemployment and general lack of opportunities for a majority of the population.  Acknowledging the lack of specific legislation criminalising trafficking in persons, he called for the strengthening of national efforts to prosecute and punish perpetrators through capacity building of States.

TAHA HUSSEIN DAIFALLAH AL-AWADHI ( Yemen) stressed the common responsibility of all actors to combat transnational organized crimes, noting that his country had ratified a convention on that matter.  The Government had also ratified the Convention on Corruption and had taken a number of measures in that regard, including the establishment of a law related to financial liability.  Cooperation with other countries and regional organizations was essential.  Yemen had conducted regional workshops, established posts for combating drug trafficking and had signed various agreements with other nations to bring perpetrators to justice.  Noting that trafficking in persons was a human rights violation, he said that his country had ratified relevant international treaties and adopted national legislation to tackle this issue.  Addressing poverty and unemployment was a basis to fight that problem, he concluded.

LISANDRA ASTIASARÁN ARIAS ( Cuba ) said prevention was of primary importance for the international community in facing the challenges of organized crime.  Every country, irrespective of its economic power, extension and number of inhabitants, was vulnerable to the different forms of crime, including the emerging ones.  This fight against crime passed through the fight against underdevelopment, as well as through a more equitable distribution of the international economic wealth.  No one State alone could combat terrorism, narcotic drugs, human trafficking, money-laundering or illicit trade of weapons.  International cooperation, carried out in full respect of sovereignty and in accordance with the national legislation and territorial integrity of individual countries, was crucial.  Cuba rejected the overemphasizing of these phenomena according to the argument that it affected regional or international stability and peace.  Her country believed that “it is not a task of the Security Council to deal with these topics,” she said.  Cuba expressed its willingness to participate in “serious and coherent efforts” to fight regional and international drug trafficking.  However, it rejected the “packaging of unilateral lists” of countries that allegedly committed violations related to organized international crime, such as those compiled by the United States Department of State in relation to terrorism and human and drug trafficking.  Noting that Cuba had lost thousands of lives to terrorist acts, she stated that her country’s territory was never used — nor will it ever be — to organize, finance or carry out terrorist acts against anyone.  Cuba was a State Party to many international instruments, such as the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.  She concluded reiterating her country’s commitment to strengthening solid links of cooperation with any country, including the United States, in the “prevention and eradication of this scourge”.

KANYA KHAMMOUNGKHOUN (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) said that poverty and social disparity was often a root cause of various criminal activities, including trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.  Due to its geographical location, the country was considered not only one of origin but also a transit route and destination for trafficking in persons, and therefore, national and regional mechanisms were put in place to address this issue.  On drug trafficking and abuse, there was no doubt it had an enormous negative impact on development and poverty eradication.  Furthermore, poverty and underdevelopment could also lead poor people to take part in these illicit activities.  “This vicious circle of drug and poverty must be cut off at once,” he said.  The most immediate cause for increased poppy cultivation was poverty, which was prevalent in remote areas of the country.  As insufficient and unsustainable alternative occupations often led to the resumption of poppy cultivation, he called for regional and international cooperation and assistance on this issue.

ABULKALAM ABDUL MOMEN ( Bangladesh) highlighted that transnational organized crime such as trafficking in persons, money laundering, corruption, drug trafficking and drug abuse had become issues of global concern.  He said that his country had established a corruption free society and took a tough stance on this issue.  As a country of origin, transit and destination, Bangladesh had also positioned itself at the forefront of global and regional anti-human trafficking initiatives.  Turning to drug trafficking, he underlined that youth and slum-dwellers were the primary victims of this crime, which was tackled by the Government through a three prong strategy — supply reduction, demand reduction and harm reduction.  However, supply-side reduction could be done only by sustained alternative development programmes for the cultivators and economic development of the regions.  Overall, transnational crime called for a strong partnership among all stakeholders — national, regional and global — through concrete and sustained efforts.

MILORAD ŠĆEPANOVIĆ ( Montenegro) said that no country was immune, or unaffected, to drug trafficking as it represented a significant threat to international peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and the rule of law.  At the national level, a health-centred perspective and human dimension on drug use and dependence was undertaken as an inseparable part of a comprehensive and balanced approach to drug control, working to enhance drug dependence treatment.  However, in order to effectively address the world drug problem, national efforts alone were not sufficient and needed to be complemented by joint regional and international actions and cooperation.  The important and valuable work and broad support of UNODC in assisting and coordinating the efforts of Member States in countering illicit drugs was recognized.  For this reason, he emphasized the significance of ensuring predictable and sustainable financing of the UNODC to allow it to deliver on its mandate.

W. HAWARIAT G. SELASSIE TESFAY ( Ethiopia) said that his Government had adopted a criminal justice policy, which placed special emphasis on transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism.  His country had also put in place coordination mechanisms whereby the police, public prosecutors and the judiciary collaborate to fight those crimes and punish their perpetrators.  Its policy was also focused on international cooperation and partnerships, particularly in capacity building, sharing intelligence and best practices.  In the Horn of Africa, illegal trafficking of persons, circulation of prohibited drugs and associated crimes remained a major concern.  Poverty, unemployment and lack of socioeconomic opportunities were the principal contributing factors that made those persons vulnerable to trafficking.

SHAIMA ABDULWAHED NAJEM ( Bahrain) stressed the importance of defending human rights in combating transnational organized crimes.  Addressing the problem at the regional and international levels and eliminating the root causes through various measures, including awareness programmes, was vital.  She welcomed efforts undertaken by UNODC, particularly its global report on human trafficking.  Bahrain was a founding member of the Group of Friends that had contributed input to the report.  Bahrain had established specialized commissions and committees to protect the rights of victims, implemented a series of measures and participated in relevant international conferences.  This year, the focus was to build national capacity to combat human trafficking and provide various support, including counselling, provision of shelter, the launch of websites and hotlines.

ANA PEÑA DOIG ( Peru), referring to the Secretary-General’s report entitled “International cooperation against the world drug problem” (document A/68/126), said that her country supported the recommendations it contained.  Among them, she mentioned the full implementation by all Member States of the conventions relative to drug control; the establishment of “alternative development” programmes; the need to fund UNODC; and, the leadership of the Commission of Narcotic Drugs in the preparation of the 2016 Special Session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem.  Peru was involved in the preparation of the high-level review of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.  As such, her country had been worked on the drafting of a joint ministerial declaration, which would identify challenges and priorities on the matter.  Peru reaffirmed the concept of common and shared responsibility, and encouraged greater international cooperation towards producer countries to confront an “enemy with huge financial resources”, she concluded.

ZAHIR TANIN ( Afghanistan) noted that narcotic drugs posed a serious threat to peace, stability and the development of societies worldwide, declaring “no country is more aware of this fact than Afghanistan.”  The country’s drug problem was the legacy of three decades of conflict.  Terrorism and insecurity were indivisible from the scourge of narcotic drugs.  Cultivation and production were highest in areas with the most violence and insecurity.  The counter-narcotics police unit within the Ministry of Interior was engaged in cracking down on illegal cultivation, production and trafficking.  The unit had arrested and brought to justice smugglers responsible for moving large quantities of drugs outside the Afghan border.  “Our fight against drugs will not succeed if the focus is purely on production,” he said, urging international partners to help reduce demand.

BRUNO SANTOS DE OLIVEIRA (Brazil) attached special importance to involving youth in the prevention of crime, highlighting the National Security and Citizenship Programme, which combined traditional public safety strategies with measures to address the root causes of violence, with a special emphasis on the protection of children in vulnerable situations.  As cybercrime was a problem of global scope and technical complexity, it was urgent that Member States strengthen the international legal framework of the Internet while being mindful that such action does not become a tool for threatening the sovereignty of countries.  Effective solutions required the participation of the entire international community and deserved to be considered in due course, taking into account human rights, including privacy.

ALIA AL DHAHERI ( United Arab Emirates) said that given her country was ethnically diverse — hosting people of 200 different nationalities — it had adopted a policy of tolerance and acceptance and sought to create a safe environment by fighting against all forms of crime.  Her Government had ratified and acceded to international treaties on transnational organized crime.  In fighting terrorism, the Government had adhered to all regional and international conventions and signed agreements of cooperation on exchange of information in the pursuit of offenders.  The UAE had also created last year, the first counselling centre against extremism.  Trafficking in persons was also a central focus of its policy, and its campaign against the crime had entered its seventh year.   Furthermore, she noted that her country had stopped shipments of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery by a strict system of verification, monitoring and inspection.

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