A member of the Liberia National Police Anti-Drug Squad reviews the burning of confiscated drugs. UN Photo/Staton Winter
The globalized movement of people and trade in goods, both legal and illegal, continues to expand faster than the international community can track, let alone regulate. The large movement of refugees and migrants, often triggered by conflict, has exposed more people to trafficking, with the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2016 showing an alarmingly high proportion of children among the victims.
Smuggled wildlife and antiquities are also caught up in this nightmare. Drawing on the first global database of seizures, the World Wildlife Crime Report: Trafficking in Protected Species, 2016 documented the trafficking of almost 7,000 wildlife species. In addition, technological advances are exploited for criminal purposes and cybercrime remains a global challenge. The United Nations is also addressing crime issues through the development of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration and a global compact for refugees.
The world drug problem remains a looming concern. According to the World Drug Report 2017, 29.5 million people suffer from drug use disorders, and markets are characterized by the fast-evolving nature of abused substances. Drug users are often trapped in a cycle of marginalization, making their recovery and social integration difficult.
The United Nations continues to support human rights-based drug policies and capacity-building in public health, criminal justice, prison administration and civil society in support of increased access to services, including HIV services, for people who use drugs and people in prisons. In the field of alternative development to replace drug crops, the United Nations supports rural communities by providing legitimate income-earning opportunities that focus on cash crops with sustainable markets.
At the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, held in 2016, Member States reaffirmed a comprehensive approach that places public health, development and human rights concerns alongside law enforcement concerns. Nations reaffirmed the centrality of the three international drug conventions and other relevant instruments. The outcome document (resolution S-30/1) includes more than 100 operational recommendations which countries are translating into action under the lead of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
Two of my highest priorities are the elimination of all forms of violence against women and against children
In line with United Nations support for Member States in responding to crime, two of my highest priorities are the elimination of all forms of violence against women and against children. Rape, as a war crime, is a frequent occurrence during times of violence. My Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict highlighted the use of sexual violence as a tactic of war and terrorism. This culminated in the adoption of Security Council resolution 2331 (2016) on human trafficking, in which the Council stresses the risk of trafficking in persons in conflict situations and recognizes the protection and empowerment of women and girls as a central consideration in counter-terrorism and obstructing violent extremist strategies. Children have also been targets of abuse, and killing and maiming remain the most frequent and horrific violations against children. For example, in Afghanistan, the United Nations verified 3,512 child casualties in 2016, a 24 per cent increase over 2015 and the highest level ever recorded. Thanks to advocacy by my Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, however, this year 110 children detained in Somalia were released by May. The United Nations must continue such efforts to eliminate this scourge.
Corruption has a deleterious effect on development because precious resources are siphoned off for personal gain. This year marked the beginning of the second implementation review cycle of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which focuses on preventive measures and asset recovery.
Combating international terrorism
The General Assembly recently approved my proposal to create a new Office of Counter-Terrorism
We are spearheading a new agenda for counter-terrorism through three strategic measures:
- The General Assembly recently approved my proposal to create a new Office of Counter-Terrorism headed by an Under-Secretary-General in order to provide stronger leadership and coherence across the United Nations system while strengthening the delivery to Member States of United Nations capacity-building for counter-terrorism. The new Office will improve visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization to broaden efforts to promote conflict prevention, build sustainable peace and address the root causes that enable terrorist recruitment;
- A reinvigorated “all United Nations” approach will continue to assist in the implementation of the Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and the international legal and normative framework, including a plan to stem the flow of terrorist fighters;
- The High-Level Preventing Violent Extremism Action Group will play a key role in the prevention of violent extremism.