17 June 2010

Secretary-General, Addressing General Assembly Meeting on Transnational Organized Crime, Calls for Sharpening of Landmark Palermo Convention

17 June 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, Addressing General Assembly Meeting on Transnational


Organized Crime, Calls for Sharpening of Landmark Palermo Convention


Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on transnational organized crime, in New York today, 17 June:

I am honoured to address this special high-level meeting.  Transnational organized crime has become a multinational security threat.  This is the message of the report on the Globalization of Crime, issued today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

As the threat grows, so, too, does its prominence on the international agenda.  Organized crime has been the focus of recent meetings in Brazil and Austria, at which Member States called for stepped-up efforts to prevent crime and promote justice.  The Security Council has considered the issue several times in recent months — in relation to the trafficking of drugs, human beings and weapons, and with respect to troubling developments and emerging patterns in West Africa and Somalia.

Organized crime is also a growing concern of regional organizations, including the African Union, the OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe], the OAS [Organization of America States] and ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States].

And yet, the international community must do still more.  Our ability to deliver justice is not evolving as quickly as the criminals’ skill at evading justice.  As a result, States and markets are being infiltrated.  Police and armies are being outgunned.  Security is under threat.  The blueprint to counteract this threat already exists: the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) and its three Additional Protocols.

This year is the tenth anniversary of the Palermo Convention.  Let us mark this milestone by sharpening the world’s leading international crime-fighting instrument.  The Conference of the Parties will meet in Vienna in October to promote and review the Convention’s implementation.

I urge you to develop a review mechanism, as was achieved for the United Nations Convention against Corruption last November in Doha, Qatar.  This would help States identify criminal justice needs and measure progress.

We must use the rich and detailed measures contained in the Palermo Convention to combat money laundering, to confiscate and seize criminal assets, to end bank secrecy, to carry out joint investigations, to protect witnesses, to exchange information and to provide mutual legal assistance.

Our efforts must, of course, be firmly anchored in the rule of law, both at the national and international levels.  The United Nations has established the inter-agency Rule of Law Coordination and Resource Group to focus our efforts in this crucial area.

We must use every means available to help law enforcement transcend borders — just as criminal networks do.  We owe this to all victims of organized crime and to all those who are risking their lives every day in the defence of justice.  To fight transnational organized crime, we, too, must organize.  We must work together.  We must act with even greater determination than our adversaries.

Thank you for coming together in support of these critical goals.  Your work is not only vital to reducing crime.  It will also increase security, justice and development for all.

I am now pleased to give the floor to the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Antonio Mario Costa.

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