|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Sixty-eighth General Assembly
6th & 7th Meetings (AM & PM)
Head of United Nations Crime Prevention Office Says Trafficking in Humans,
Drugs Violates Human Rights, Undermines Development
Third Committee Considers Criminal Justice, International Drug Control
Transnational organized crime, including trafficking in people and drugs, was a challenge that “violates human rights and undermines development”, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today as it began its general discussion of crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
“No country remains unaffected by the menace of drug trafficking or the threat that drugs pose to health, development and the rule of law,” declared Yuri Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in delivering opening remarks via video link. Drugs, crime, illicit trafficking, corruption and terrorism were among the most urgent threats to development and security facing Member States, he added.
UNODC addressed those challenges, as well as new and such emerging threats as crimes committed at sea, cybercrime, trafficking in fraudulent medicines and cultural property, and wildlife-related crime, he said in describing his agency’s role. UNODC’s successes in achieving overall strategic and operational coherence were acknowledged by Member States in the form of increasing voluntary contributions. However, voluntary contributions were earmarked for specific purposes and addressing the agency’s funding situation could ensure its sustainability, he said.
During today’s debate, which featured 42 speakers, delegations highlighted the transnational aspect of crime and corruption, saying it posed serious threats to global peace and security, while undermining sustainable development efforts. They called for an integrated and holistic response.
“Crime and corruption have a deleterious effect on the quest for development,” said Jamaica’s representative, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). There was “no separation” between the development agenda and crime prevention. The illicit flow of drugs and firearms had myriad negative consequences for the region, fuelling gang violence and reducing productivity and revenues, including those from investors and tourism.
Angola’s representative, speaking for the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said drug trafficking and abuse were linked to other crimes, including pervasive violence against women and children, and consequently posed serious threats to the region’s economic development, security and stability. Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, represented “a new, sophisticated and aggressive form of slavery”, he said, calling for clear and comprehensive legislation to prevent and combat that crime.
Turkey’s representative echoed that sentiment, describing human trafficking as “a modern form of slavery and a crime against humanity”. Predominantly women and girls, the victims were trafficked across borders, mainly for sexual exploitation or forced labour, which made human trafficking the most lucrative form of organized crime, alongside the smuggling of drugs and arms.
Thailand’s representative emphasized the importance of providing countries that were vulnerable to crime with sustainable alternative means to further their development and build resilience against crime. Advancing the rule of law and promoting efforts for sustainable alternative development was essential for sustainable economic and social development, she said. “Free from violence and fear, individuals will be able to realize their full development potential.”
Kenya’s representative struck a similar note, recounting the testimonies of former Al-Shabaab members who had revealed that many of them had been lured by offers of money or the simple promise of a daily meal. That underlined the importance of economically empowering young people, who were otherwise vulnerable to Al-Shabaab’s messages of violence and hatred, she said. On the recent terrorist attack in Nairobi, she thanked the international community for “standing with us”.
Also speaking today were representatives of Malaysia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations), European Union, Belarus (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States), Russian Federation (on behalf of the Collective Security Treaty Organization), Liechtenstein, Libya, Philippines, China, Qatar, Israel, South Africa, Nicaragua, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Ukraine, United States, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Egypt, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Belarus, India, Algeria, Syria, Maldives, Pakistan, Costa Rica, Sudan, Georgia, Eritrea, Guatemala and Myanmar.
The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Thursday, 10 October, to conclude its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to begin its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice, and on international drug control. Before it were reports of the Secretary-General on the “United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders” (document A/68/125); “Implementation of the mandates of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme” (document A/68/127); “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/68/128); and “International cooperation against the world drug problem” (document A/68/126).
YURI FEDOTOV, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna, addressed the Committee via video link, describing drugs, crime, illicit trafficking, corruption and terrorism as some of the most urgent threats to development and security facing Member States.
He said UNODC was the Organization’s lead entity in helping them to address those challenges, while promoting justice and the rule of law. Its integrated response was based on three main pillars: norms to support the implementation of specific conventions; operations on the ground to provide technical assistance to Member States; and research and analysis to guide the development of strategic responses and identify emerging threats. The office’s work increasingly involved addressing a range of new and emerging threats, including crimes committed at sea, cybercrime, trafficking in fraudulent medicines and cultural property, and wildlife crime.
Identifying crime, including trafficking in people and drugs, as a challenge which “violates human rights and undermines development”, he said no country remained unaffected by the menace of drug trafficking or the threat that drugs posed to health, development and the rule of law. There was no easy solution, he emphasized, calling for a frank and forward-looking debate on the world drug problem, especially in the many conferences and meetings on drugs and crime scheduled for 2014.
The rapid rise in voluntary contributions over the past decade showed that donors trusted the UNODC, seeing the value of its work, he said. However, voluntary contributions were earmarked for specific purposes, which did not always reflect the priorities of the governing bodies. To ensure the sustainability of UNODC, it would be necessary to address its funding situation be addressed, he stressed. “If people are to be able to pursue a life of dignity and opportunity, free of fear and violence, the world must tackle the problems of drugs, crime, trafficking, corruption and terrorism,” he said in conclusion.
HUSSEIN HANIFF (Malaysia), speaking for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), noted that in the borderless digital world, the exchange of information, goods and services was moving at a remarkable pace. “Unfortunately, this advancement has also resulted in transnational crime becoming increasingly pervasive and diversified, threatening regional and international security,” he said. To effectively combat transnational crime, it was imperative for all stakeholders — countries, organizations, civil society and the public — to cooperate through information-sharing, capacity-building, mutual legal assistance and joint investigation.
He said the regional bloc had adopted a work programme for 2013-2015, consisting of policies, guidelines and activities covering the eight priority areas of transnational crime — terrorism, illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons, money laundering, sea piracy, arms smuggling, international economic crime, and cybercrime. All 10 member States had ratified the ASEAN Convention on Counter Terrorism by last January, he recalled, adding that the bloc was also developing a convention on trafficking in persons and a regional action plan to combat such practices. As it accelerated towards the realization of the ASEAN Community 2015, it must ensure that transnational crimes would not hamper the integration process. On international drug control, he declared: “A drug-free ASEAN 2015 is not just a lofty target, but it is one of our high-priority agendas.”
COUTNENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), speaking for the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that the bloc supported UNODC’S efforts to tackle pervasive organized crime and enforce international drug control, pointing out that no region was immune from the effects of crime and violence. In recognition of that, responses to such challenges must be coordinated, multifaceted and sustained. That was why the CARICOM Crime and Security Strategy had been adopted in February, he explained, adding that UNODC planned to launch its first regional programme for the period 2013-2016 in support of the Strategy.
Crime and corruption had a deleterious effect on the quest for development, he said, adding that there was “no separation” between the development agenda and crime prevention. The illicit flow of drugs and firearms had myriad negative consequences for the Caribbean region, fuelling gang violence and reducing productivity and revenues, including those from investors and tourism. That was why CARICOM welcomed last April’s adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty, he said, noting that 13 of its member States had already signed the instrument. One of the Community’s main concerns was the nexus between trafficking in firearms, in human beings and in drugs, he said, reiterating the need to build societies on a platform of justice, security and the rule of law. “Our goal must be to ensure that with no place to hide, criminal enterprises can be dismantled.”
ISMAEL ABRAÃO GASPAR MARTINS ( Angola), speaking for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) said the burden of crime persisted in the region, but was gradually being brought under better control by authorities, despite a more complex world of digital and improved communications platforms. Prevention and mitigation polices as well as more effective strategies were helping SADC to prepare for those realities, working with different organs and institutions, both locally and internationally, to respond head-on to offenders and prevent their criminal activities. While human trafficking remained a major concern in the region, drug trafficking continued to pose even more significant threats, especially in the absence of an effective coordinated effort.
SADC was mindful that drug trafficking and abuse were related to other crimes, including violent crime and pervasive violence against women and children, he said. Those challenges threatened economic development and posed severe challenges to the region’s security and stability. The phenomenon of trafficking in persons, especially women and children, was also growing. “This represents a new, sophisticated and aggressive form of slavery,” he said, calling for clear and comprehensive legislation to prevent and combat the crime. The SADC Protocol on Combating Illicit Drugs provided the necessary framework for drug control activities aimed at reducing and eliminating drug trafficking, money-laundering, corruption and the illicit use and abuse of drugs. On drug abuse, SADC was focused on targeted demand-reduction programmes as well as community prevention, public school education and research on the causes of drug abuse, he said.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said that his Government had put several initiatives in place, including health-care reforms, to tackle substance abuse. Angola’s implementation of bilateral, regional and international agreements on drugs and crime showed its commitment to combating the phenomenon.
IOANNIS VRAILAS, Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation, said the international community was witnessing the growing links connecting transnational organized crime, corruption and international terrorism. The trafficking of persons and the smuggling of migrants were heinous manifestations of those criminal activities, he said, emphasizing that transnational crime must be tackled in a holistic fashion at the national, regional and international levels. That was why it reaffirmed the importance of ratifying the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols, and proposed the establishment of a strong and effective review mechanism for its implementation. To tackle the related issue of firearms trafficking, the bloc was developing a strategy to secure the legal trade and reduce their diversion into criminal hands, he said.
Corruption also played a serious role in threatening the integrity of Governments and administrations, he continued. That was why it was necessary to further promote the ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption. On drug-related issues, he recalled that, in December 2012, the European Union had adopted the Drug Strategy for the period 2013-2020, which built on lesson learned from the implementation of previous regional strategies. The bloc looked forward to sharing it with international partners, and had also developed the Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking of Human Being 2012-2016. In 2011, it had appointed the European Union Anti-trafficking Coordinator to oversee its implementation. He also touched upon the question of piracy, citing the European Union’s naval operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta as well as a new initiative to help seven African countries increase the safety of maritime routes in the Gulf of Guinea.
Ms. VELICHKO (Belarus), speaking for the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), emphasized the leading role of the United Nations in combating transnational crime and was interested in stepping up cooperation in that area. Noting that CIS took a holistic and dynamic approach to combating such illicit practices, she recalled that, on 5 December 2012, CIS member States had agreed on the future development of cooperation. They were carrying out joint investigations of criminals and had created database to enable law-enforcement officers in each nation to use the collective information. Stressing the importance of combating corruption within national borders and beyond as criminality became increasingly globalized, she said national and multilateral efforts must be combined to be effective, adding that national mechanisms should be aligned with international standards.
Mr. ZAGAINOV ( Russian Federation), speaking for the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), said a key destabilization factor for the region had been identified in the heroin coming from Afghanistan. Despite that country’s measures to address the issue, it needed partnership with CSTO, including through open information-sharing. The body remained interested in continuing regional and international partnerships to monitor the drug trade and the financial flows it generated.
Turning to the issue of stopping narcotics, he said international cooperation had led to the blocking of 470 kilogrammes of drugs and the arrest of several drug-cartel leaders. However, the Eurasian region needed additional regional and international cooperation as well as additional cooperation with UNODC. He concluded by underling the importance of providing countries vulnerable to drug trafficking with alternative means to increase their wealth and hence build resilience against drug trafficking.
Speaking in his national capacity, he said the Russian Federation was committed to combating transnational criminality, cybercrime, human trafficking and the trafficking of human cells and organs, as well as drugs. He also underlined the country’s initiatives to combat terrorism through public-private partnerships as well as its favourable position on strengthening the struggle against cybercrime. The Russian Federation called for more effective action on human trafficking, and supported the Trust Fund to support its victims, but a bigger concern was the threat of trafficking in human cells.
GEORG SPARBER ( Liechtenstein) said the discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice was rightfully allocated to the Third Committee, which, through its deliberations, should contribute to supporting and strengthening UNODC’s mandate. Liechtenstein wished to deal with two particular issues: the prevalence of corrupt practices, particularly in the form of everyday abuse of authority; and legislation that prevented segments of societies from effective participation in decision-making, often under the guise of security policies. On the former, he said combating corruption was a key responsibility of the international community and, encouraged implementation of the related Convention. He expressed his concern, however, over the extent to which some national laws and practices interfered with well-established international human rights standards, while understanding the legitimate concerns of States to ensure the security of their people. International human rights law and rule-of-law principles must remain the basis for the implementation of standards in fighting terrorism, he said.
Mr. SHAMASH ( Libya) noted that the increase in transnational organized crime stemmed from the global financial and economic crisis, poverty and conflict, among other causes. Libya faced migration-related challenges and it was imperative to redouble efforts to find a rapid solution since migrants faced exploitation as well as human rights violations by transnational organized crime gangs. Trafficking in drugs and firearms threatened security, and multilateral efforts must be deployed at the national level to address that challenge. He said, recalling that, Government Ministers in the region had met in Tripoli for a conference on border security. As a party to the Convention against Corruption, Libya urged all States to help recover money taken illegally, which could be used to finance terrorism.
ANA MARIE HERNANDO ( Philippines) said her Government attached high priority to crime prevention, having put several domestic measures in place to enhance national synergies in the implementation of important criminal legislation. The expanded law against human trafficking provided for the establishment of a network and support arrangement that included all relevant domestic agencies. The Inter-Agency Council against Trafficking was tasked to ensure the harmonization and standardization of databases, collection systems and data-verification systems relating to human trafficking cases. In the absence of legislation-mandated arrangements, the Government had in place a series of memoranda of agreement, including one involving the fight against money laundering. Cognizant that domestic initiatives could only be effective if complemented at the regional and international levels, the Philippines had become a party to various multilateral treaties, including the 1988 Vienna Convention, she said.
Ms. LI ( China) called for stronger implementation of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption, pointing out that 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the two treaties, which had been instrumental in guiding international cooperation in combating illicit practices. She also urged the continued deepening of international cooperation on drug control. The 2014 high-level review of the implementation of the “Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem” by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs offered an opportunity to build greater consensus and enhance cooperation. China stood ready to work with others in reinforcing the role of the three major international drug control treaties, she said, calling also for the expeditious conclusion of an international legal framework for combating cybercrime and trafficking in cultural property.
Ms. AL DOSARI ( Qatar) said her country was addressing issues of transnational organized crime through multilateral and bilateral cooperation. The Government had adopted various steps, including the alignment of national legislation with international instruments. It was working closely with the United Nations, and had conducted regional workshops to build the capacity to combat those challenges. Qatar had played an important role, as President of the General Assembly’s sixty-sixth session, in organizing an international conference on crime prevention, in cooperation with UNODC. In preparation for the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, to be held in Doha, Qatar, in 2015, the Government had prepared guidelines for discussion, and was drafting resolutions with other delegations, she said.
LIRONNE BAR-SADEH ( Israel) said his country had expressed a strong commitment to global efforts to combat drug abuse, with a strong emphasis on protecting the young generation from falling victim. The national drug-control policy promoted a comprehensive approach centred on health, human rights and a balanced reduction in demand and supply. Prevention and education activities were geared towards the youth as the target population. At the international level, Israel had developed a unique training module geared towards professionals in developing countries who were involved in all areas relating to alcohol and drugs, he said. UNODC had sent a mission to learn Israel’s best practices, for sharing among Member States, but the growing popularity of new psychoactive substances, particularly among the youth, were of great concern to the international community, Israel included. Prevention and awareness campaign on the risks of such new substances, together with legislative efforts, could help in tackling the problem.
DOCTOR MASHABANE (South Africa), aligning himself with SADC, said his Government had enacted national legislation to give effect to international obligations in the areas of transnational organized crime, human and drug trafficking as well as corruption, especially since South Africa was seen as an important hub for the shipment of cocaine and heroin destined for illicit international markets. Rhino poaching had also reached epidemic proportions, with close to 700 rhinos having been killed in 2013. Despite the United Nations Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, South Africa continued to lose wildlife, and therefore called for additional international cooperation and collaboration in that regard. Additional partnerships and technical cooperation for developing countries in particular was critical to building national and regional criminal justice capacities to successfully combat transnational crime and drug trafficking. Bilateral and regional treaties on extradition and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters were also key tools in fighting organized crime.
KOKI MULI GRIGNON ( Kenya) said the Eastern Africa region had witnessed an increase in the supply of illicit drugs destined for Europe and Asia, which posed dangers to public health and the quality of life, in addition to its negative impact on the political, economic and social stability of many nations. Kenya also remained concerned over the continuing proliferation of small arms and light weapons, especially in Africa, which posed a serious security challenge. The horrific killing of innocent people in Nairobi, conducted by Al-Shabaab, illustrated that, she said. “In this regard, we wish to thank the international community for standing with us.” More would have to be done to stem the flow of deadly weapons and eliminate terrorist activities. Testimonies by former Al-Shabaab members revealed that many had been lured by offers of money or the simple promise of a daily meal, which underlined the fact that economically empowering young people, otherwise vulnerable to Al-Shabaab’s messages, could give them hope for a better life. While preying on the poor for recruitment, the group itself was well financed, she noted. Other funding sources included the illegal trade in ivory, the diversion of international remittances and the theft of money intended as assistance.
MARÍA RUBIALES DE CHAMORRO ( Nicaragua) highlighted her Government’s policies to combat narcotic drugs and transnational crime — offences that undermined society’s stability and foundations. Nicaragua believed strongly in the importance of a Central America free of crimes and narcotic drugs, and that was why President Ortega had expressed his willingness to strengthen the Central American Security Strategy, put in place to confront face the region’s challenges. Although neither a producer nor a consumer of narcotic drugs, Nicaragua was a victim of trafficking because of its geographic position, she said. However, despite its limited resources from international aid, it remained the safest country in Central America and one of the safest in the entire Latin American and Caribbean region, thanks to the “Containment Wall” strategy, among other initiatives. She thanked both the Russian Federation and the European Commission for their bilateral cooperation in fighting against drug trafficking.
Mr. HANIFF ( Malaysia) said transnational crime was a global concern that posed a genuine threat to stability and security, affecting social, political and economic development globally. Combating transnational crime required cooperation among countries through the exchange of information, capacity-building, mutual legal assistance and joint investigations. The world drug problem continued to pose a serious threat to public health and to young people in particular. Underlining the importance of disseminating information to the public about the harmful effects of new psychoactive substances, he welcomed the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Traffic, whose slogan was “Make health your ‘new high’ in life, not drugs”. Malaysia’s national strategy to combat drug abuse was implemented through a four-step approach — combating illicit drugs, treatment and rehabilitation, law enforcement, and international cooperation.
Mrs. MORGAN ( Mexico) said illicit drugs affected all world regions, generating violence, damaging the health of young people and destroying the social fabric of society. It was a scourge that required an urgent international response. Current policies had not proved effective in tackling the problem, as demonstrated by the growing presence of organized crime. Mexico approached the issue by applying coordinated policies aimed at encouraging prevention, reducing the social violence associated with narcotic drugs, and strengthening international cooperation, she said. In preparing for the special session on the drug problem, to be convened by the General Assembly in 2016, an excellent starting point would be the high-level implementation review of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on international cooperation to counter the world drug problem, organized by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for 2014.
GIADE AHMADU, Chairman and Chief Executive, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency of Nigeria, said that the entity addressed the drug problem through four main strategies: controlling the supply of illicit drugs; ensuring an adequate and effective legal framework; reducing demand for drugs; and controlling the supply of legal drugs. It was noteworthy that substantial volumes of narcotic drugs had been seized between 2012 and 2013, and that more than 2,000 hectares of farms growing cannabis had been destroyed. The latter used to be the only locally produced drug, but five methamphetamine production laboratories had recently been discovered and shut down, he said. However, despite great efforts and good progress, drug control remained a shared responsibility, he emphasized, calling for more international cooperation. “No country, no matter how powerful, can win the ward on illicit drugs alone.”
Mr. KASAP ( Ukraine) underlined the dangerous implications of narcotic drugs for the health of his country’s citizens and the need to fully respect and implement the relevant conventions and international laws. Technical assistance, advice and other forms of UNODC support was helpful in narrowing the critical capacity gap, but much more would have to be done because the spread of drugs posed a threat to Ukraine and other Member States. The INTERPOL notices used by many States was an effective mechanism, he said, welcoming also the open-ended United Nations Intergovernmental Expert Group’s comprehensive study of cybercrime. Ukraine’s technical experts had been able to share their best practices during a presentation, he recalled. As an origin, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons, Ukraine attached importance to multilateral efforts against that criminal activity, and sought also to reduce the supply of and demand for illicit drugs.
WILLIAM BROWNFIELD ( United States) recalled that in 1961, an unprecedented number of Member States had agreed to establish a common framework of commitments against dangerous drugs. That Convention was a pioneering effort and acknowledgement of the principle that no State could protect its people by working alone. Confronting international crime must not be the exclusive responsibility of law enforcement, but also that of educators, civil society and the business community. There was a need to focus on criminal organizations since it was not possible or necessary to incarcerate every person who violated the law by consuming or possessing illegal drugs. But it was necessary to dismantle, disrupt and eliminate large multinational criminal enterprises, he emphasized. Drug use in the United States had declined by nearly one third in the past 30 years and cocaine use had dropped by roughly 40 per cent over the past five. In moving towards a logical, sustainable and intelligent improvement of the international framework for addressing drugs and crime, “let us be guided by reason, evidence and a common desire to safeguard the health and well-being of our citizens and the security of our States,” he said.
NAOTO HISAJIMA ( Japan) said his country had been a member of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice since its inception in 1992, and was, therefore, an active participant in United Nations policymaking in that area. The Government of Japan had also strengthened its cooperation with UNODC, and they had jointly held a first Strategic Policy Dialogue last June. Furthermore, Japan had been providing many States, particularly in South-East Asia, with training for capacity-building through the United Nations Asia and Far East Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders. In fighting trafficking in persons, he said that his country was working on the so-called four ‘P’s: prevention, prosecution, protection and partnership. On narcotic drugs, he noted that the abuse of new psychoactive substances and amphetamine-type stimulants had recently become an acute threat around the world, and it was therefore important to strengthen control over precursor chemicals. Japan had been advancing countermeasures against narcotic drugs, especially in Afghanistan and Myanmar, among other countries, through financial contributions to UNODC.
CHO YOUNG-MOO ( Republic of Korea) commended the role of UNODC as a facilitator of regional and international cooperation in the fight against narcotic drugs. He welcomed the convening of a high-level review of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action in 2014 and of the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem in 2016. The Government of the Republic of Korea had been strengthening its cooperation with law-enforcement agencies in the Asia-Pacific region, he said. It had also made financial contributions to the Global Synthetics Monitoring, Analyses, Reporting and Trends Programme (Global SMART Programme), and planned to ratify UNTOC and its Protocols in the near future. On cybercrime, he said that his country had been very engaged and would host, next week in Seoul, the Conference on Cyberspace with the aim of comprehensively covering issues such as cybersecurity and cybercrime.
KWEK POH HEOK ( Singapore) said that, although not new, drug abuse remained a real concern. Some 211,000 drug-related deaths had occurred in 2011, most of them among younger people. “Behind every statistic there is a human face — child, father, mother, sibling, neighbour or friend,” she said, emphasizing that drug abuse affected not only individuals, but also their families and the wider community. Faced with that persistent challenge, Singapore had adopted an integrated multi-prong approach, comprising legislation, preventive education, enforcement, treatment and rehabilitation, and aftercare in order to reintegrate former addicts into society. That had resulted in the crime rate dropping to 581 per 100,000 residents in 2012. Despite the great progress made, however, Singapore was conscious that drug traffickers and criminal organizations would continue to create and supply new drugs, while evolving their modus operandi to evade arrest. For that reason, the country remained a “committed and vigilant partner in the international fight against drug abuse and trafficking”, she said.
Ms. ANUKUL ( Thailand) said it remained crucial to address inter-relationship among global issues and how crime prevention, criminal justice and the rule of law fit into the broader context of development. Advancing the rule of law was essential for sustainable economic and social development, and individuals would be able to realize their full development potential when they were free from fear and violence. The effective and equitable application of justice was, therefore, a precondition for a modern participative society, she said. Conversely, a lack of human rights and equality, a prevalence of corrupt or ineffective institutions and weak justice systems hindered the ability of States to establish functioning political systems and promote long-term economic growth and stability for countries and their respective regions. Thailand continued to promote efforts for sustainable alternative development, in addition to enhancing cooperation on law enforcement, she said. One important benefit was the ability to mainstream such programmes into the overall development framework in attempting to address root causes, including poverty and lack of opportunities, she said.
OSAMA ABDEL KHALEK ( Egypt) emphasized the need to provide UNODC with adequate, predictable and stable resources, including additional regular-budget resources, so that it could implement its mandate in a sustainable manner. There was also a need to provide the Office with the necessary voluntary contributions to enable it effectively to respond to the increasing demand for technical assistance. It was important to establish a transparent, efficient, inclusive and impartial mechanism to review implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, and to help assist States parties implement the instrument. Egypt was fully committed to its obligations as a State party to the major international and regional treaties relating to drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism, he said.
Ms. SABJA ( Bolivia ) said narcotic drugs posed a threat to the public security of all humanity, and that was why all States shared a responsibility to address it. Mentioning some of her Government’s achievements, she said Bolivia was autonomous in financing the fight against drug trafficking, as all the necessary resources had come from the people. More seizures and arrests had been carried out than had been the case under the United States Drug Enforcement Administration. There had been a record reduction in the coca crop, without any killing and with full respect for human rights and for Mother Earth, she said. Despite those tangible results and recognition from United Nations entities, the current United States Administration had criticized Bolivia’s efforts. She went on to explain her Government’s reservation to the 1961 Convention on Narcotic Drugs, saying it was due to the fact that chewing coca was part of Bolivia’s cultural and ancestral legacy, and that the crop was also used for medical purposes.
Ms. CALCINARI ( Venezuela ) said one of her Government’s priorities was to establish national plans based on a “humanistic approach”, as shown, for example, in the free treatment provided to drug addicts. On technical cooperation in combating transnational crime, she said Venezuela supported the establishment of an international intelligence mechanism. In July 2013, it had signed the Firearms Protocol to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Venezuela was free of illegal crops, and, in recent years had established patrol operations on the border with Colombia. A plan was under way to establish a national drug fund, and preventive workshops were being organized in colleges and universities, she said. Noting that her country was a party to 52 anti-drug agreements and that it had ratified seven of the main United Nations conventions on the subject, she said Venezuela welcomed international cooperation but rejected any politically motivated initiative.
MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia) stressed the need for the General Assembly to move forward towards its 2016 special session on drugs, saying it was imperative to include all stakeholders, ensure high-quality discussion and, above all, high-level participation. The session should conclude with renewed commitments and an action-oriented outcome document in response to the international drug problem. The Government of Colombia had ratified and implemented the Convention against Corruption, and had evaluated follow-up actions. Colombia would submit a draft resolution to address such issues as corruption and repatriation of assets, among other things, he said.
Ms. VELICHKO (Belarus), speaking in her national capacity, stressed the need to increasing financial contributions to UNODC in light of emerging new types of transnational organized crime, such as cybercrime and the illicit trade in cultural properties. Trafficking in persons was a major transnational organized crime, she added, welcoming the UNODC report on human trafficking and urging Member States to cooperate with the Office in the preparation of its next report. On the trafficking of human organs, tissues and cells, she said it was a serious issue that UNODC should begin studying. Belarus had begun its review of the Convention against Corruption, and had created an independent agency to protect citizens from cybercrime. Since the latter was transnational in nature, an international mechanism was needed to deal with it, she said. Noting that the international community had focused on combating the production of illicit drugs, she stressed the need to prevent them from spreading.
Mr. KRISHNASSWAMY, Member of Parliament from India, highlighted the challenges posed by the fast-evolving nature of new psychoactive substances and synthetic drugs. The latter were chemically synthesized, using certain precursor chemicals with valid industrial, scientific and medicinal uses, and it was therefore important to control them in such a manner as to limit their diversion and abuse but not affect their legitimate uses. He noted that proceeds from drug trafficking financed other forms of crime, including terrorism, saying the latter posed a grave threat to security and stability everywhere. However, “State-sponsored cross-border terrorism is a particular concern to India”, he emphasized. Since globalization and significant advances in information and communications technology provided a platform for terrorists to operate across continents on a real-time basis, India called for a global response. Cybercrime, economic fraud, education-related fraud, identity theft and human trafficking were also of great concern, he said, calling for greater emphasis on capacity-building and technical assistance in dealing with such new and emerging forms of crime.
KAMEL CHIR ( Algeria) expressed concern over the challenges confronting some States in the Sahel region, noting that their long and porous borders made it easy for terrorist groups and arms traffickers to operate there. The time had come to create a mechanism to implement the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. Algeria, classified as a transit country by its geographic location, remained committed to the implementation of the three United Nations conventions on the fight against drugs, he said, adding that his Government had taken a series of important measures, including establishing an office to take charge of the fight against drugs and drug addiction.
Ms. AL SALEH ( Syria) said human trafficking had never been a problem in her country until 2010, when the Government had adopted legislation against such practices. Noting that mercenaries and Al-Qaida members had entered the country from more than 83 States, she said they had infiltrated its borders from neighbouring countries and were involved in arms trafficking and money-laundering. Investigations by Syrian authorities and a report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) found that many Syrians in refugee camps had been forced to sell their organs to illegal entities. She urged Governments hosting Syrians refugees to protect them from such crimes.
MARIYAM MIDHFA ( Maldives ) said her country was located at the “crossroads” of the Indian Ocean and was inherently vulnerable to transnational crime. Porous borders kept it susceptible to a flourishing international drug trade, and its reliance on foreign labour brought with it problems such as human trafficking. The Government remained committed to fighting organized crime both at home and abroad, she said, pointing out that the Maldives had acceded to the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime on 4 February. It had already begun to follow the spirit of that instrument, and its police service regularly coordinated with INTERPOL and other international authorities on myriad transnational crime issues. The Government had tabled a bill in Parliament earlier this year, which sought to establish a legal framework to tackle piracy, she said.
DIYAR KHAN ( Pakistan) said that increased demand for drugs in the developed world provided additional incentives for producers in poorer countries, underlining the need for a comprehensive approach to combating the drug problem through a balanced focus on both demand and supply. Through a multi-pronged strategy coupling strict enforcement with development plans offering alternatives to growers, Pakistan had made “phenomenal” gains in eliminating opium cultivation, he said. He emphasized the importance of a balanced strategy, global cooperation and the role of UNODC in tacking the problems of drugs and international crime.
Ms. SUCUOGLU (Turkey), identifying a clear link between organized crime networks and the financing of international terrorism, particularly through the drug trade, emphasized that the fight against them should be carried out in close cooperation among States as well as the relevant regional and international organizations in a comprehensive and holistic manner. “Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery and a crime against humanity,” she stressed. It was the third most lucrative form of organized crime, together with drugs and arms trade. The key findings outlined in the latest Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, published by UNODC, were alarming, she said. The victims were predominantly women and girls trafficked across borders, mainly for sexual exploitation or forced labour. International efforts against that particular crime should continue vigorously, with a focus on protecting the victims and upholding their human rights, she said. Turkey invited Member States to remain vigilant for cybercrime, identity-related crime, piracy, crimes at sea, environment-related crimes, and the production and trafficking of fraudulent medicines.
EDUARDO ULIBARRI ( Costa Rica) said that 2013 marked the tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, to which Costa Rica was a party. It had become clear that “the idea of a drug war has had its days”, he said, emphasizing the need for new integrated strategies that should take the concept of shared yet differentiated responsibilities into account. “Consumer countries are to blame,” he stressed, adding that they must put more robust policies in place to reduce the demand for drugs. Similarly, international financial centres and arms-producing countries must strictly control exports and money-laundering. For those reasons, the entry into force of the Arms Trade Treaty was crucial, he said, noting that his country had been the fifth to ratify that instrument in September, and intended to implement it immediately. Despite its limited resources, Costa Rica had put an integrated national strategy in place to combat narcotic drugs and organized transnational crime. In fact, only yesterday, the Government had submitted two draft bills on money-laundering to the Legislative Assembly, he said. Costa Rica welcomed the establishment of the UNODC liaison and partnership office in Mexico one year ago, and encouraged the provision of additional resources to enable the Office to meet the growing demand for its services.
Mr. ELBAHI ( Sudan) agreed with the UNODC Executive Director on the need for concerted international action to define terrorism as an international crime and to adopt legislative measures to thwart terrorist activities. In that regard, he recommended the strengthening of technical and financial assistance to help developing countries fight crime and drug trafficking. Their external debt should be eased and unilateral sanctions imposed on them lifted. In its fight against terrorism, money-laundering, human trafficking and other transnational organized crimes, Sudan cooperated with such international bodies as INTERPOL, he said, adding that it had a tripartite agreement with Chad and the Central African Republic, as well as bilateral agreements with other neighbouring countries. Sudan had also implemented international conventions and protocols, and its cooperation was incorporated into an agreement signed last September with South Sudan.
Ms. KUPRADZE ( Georgia) said that, in order to reform its criminal justice system, the Government of Georgia had adopted significant legislative amendments since 2012. Reform of the prosecution service was aimed at bringing it into line with the best international standards, and another set of legislative amendments envisaged the gradual expansion of territorial and subject-matter jurisdiction of jury trials. As a result of fundamental anti-corruption reforms, the education, judicial and penitentiary systems, as well as the police and the entire public sector, had been transformed and freed from corruption, she said. Regarding the illicit trade in conventional arms, she said the adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty was an important achievement.
ARAYA DESTA ( Eritrea) said his country had taken measures to address crime by raising public awareness, providing assistance to the victims, pursuing and bringing perpetuators to justice, and cooperating with regional countries. Noting that human trafficking operated within the complexities of migration, he said the recent incident off the coast of Italy called for enhanced cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries to avert the recurrence of such human tragedies. Human trafficking was perpetuated by those wishing to create an enabling environment with a view to finding fertile ground for the crime through generous funding, vicious propaganda, offers of safe haven and support for acts of destabilization. Their aim was to destabilize Eritrea and drain it of its most productive population — the youth and the educated. For that reason, Eritrea called on the United Nations to launch an independent investigation with a view to bring the perpetuators to justice.
Ms. ARENAS ( Guatemala) said that both themes on today’s agenda — crime prevention and criminal justice, and international drug control — were interrelated. On the former, the President of Guatemala had told the General Assembly that security was a serious challenge in Guatemala, particularly due to trafficking in persons and migrants, and sexual trafficking. Despite difficulties, however, Guatemala had put launched initiatives to counter those problems, including the establishment of specialized police units, for example. Regional institutions and UNODC had helped the Government deal with a growing problem in the region — the forced disappearance of Central American migrants. However, Guatemala had shown the capacity to dismantle criminal networks, bring the responsible to justice and hold them accountable. On international drug control, she said Guatemala had decided to establish a national commission to investigate more effective ways in which to fight the consumption, illicit trade in and production of drugs. Alongside neighbouring countries, it had also encouraged a global and inclusive debate on drugs, in preparation for the special General Assembly session in 2016, she said.
THANT SIN (Myanmar), aligning himself with ASEAN, said that the abuse and illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs entailed money-laundering and other serious crimes, but mostly it posed a major socioeconomic challenge by robbing humankind of the right to a decent quality of life. Turning to the issue of poppy cultivation, he emphasized that in 2012 alone, Myanmar had eradicated more than 23,000 hectares of opium poppy, three times higher than the year before, which demonstrated the country’s commitment to rooting out the drug abuse and illicit trafficking that deterred development. A concrete example was the “New Destiny” project, aimed at paving the way for the opium poppy growers to switch to the cultivation of alternative cash crops. The best way to ensure a drug-free ASEAN Community by 2015, was to put a speedy end to drug production, he said. To that end, Myanmar welcomed regional mechanisms aimed at enhancing cross-border cooperation, sharing best practices, strengthening alternative development programmes and promoting cooperation on anti-drug law enforcement to suppress illicit production and trafficking.
* *** *For information media • not an official record