12 October 2004
Advances in Communications, Travel, Banking Used to Internationalize Criminal Operations, Third Committee Told
Transnational Crime Undermines Economic, Financial Foundations of Society, Poses Clear Threat to Peace and Security
NEW YORK, 11 October (UN Headquarters) -- The advances in information and communications technologies, travel and banking and financial systems that had propelled the globalization of national economies had also been used by criminal groups to internationalize their operations, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) was today informed, as its general discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control continued.
Todays criminal networks were more organized, adaptable and sophisticated, better able to link up with criminal groups in other countries, noted the representative of the Philippines. Thus, transnational crime, which destabilized the economic and financial foundations of society and undermined efforts for development and poverty eradication, posed a clear threat to national and international peace and security.
Moreover, emphasized the representative of Ukraine, international criminal activity had recently been marked by a trend toward consolidation of the activities of criminal organizations at the international level. This had led to an increasingly close interrelationship between organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, small arms trafficking, money-laundering and corruption. The worldwide expansion of these evils demanded continuous improvement in national, regional and international efforts and mechanisms for cooperation.
Crime prevention and improvement of the criminal justice system could not be considered the responsibility of a single government, affirmed the representative of Jamaica, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Globalization had its dark side, facilitating linkages and the transfer of criminal activities across societies and borders and leading to the creation of multinational criminal syndicates. The impact of that phenomenon on the social, economic and political life of countries was increasingly overwhelming and must be counteracted through coordinated and effective international cooperation.
The message that international cooperation was essential to combat the phenomenon of transnational organized crime continued to be stressed by each of the speakers addressing the Committee on issues ranging from trafficking in illicit drugs, human beings and small arms to international terrorism to corruption and related economic fraud.
For example, the representative of Brazil, addressing the Committee on behalf of the Rio Group, highlighted the fact that the harmful effects of drug trafficking were evident in all aspects of society -- from the increase in domestic violence to the spread of HIV/AIDS to destruction of the environment. Faced with the fragmentation of drug cartels and accompanied by new methods and routes for trafficking illicit substances, the Latin American region urged all States to take the regional experience into account and consider creating similar mechanisms to encourage greater cooperation in their own regions.
Singapores representative agreed, noting that the international drug trade had a presence in every country and concluded that fighting this transnational scourge required well-enforced anti-drug laws and effective and efficient transnational cooperation and coordination between drug and law enforcement agencies in all countries.
Yet, she cautioned, ending the supply of illicit drugs required more than arresting traffickers, dealers and couriers. Efforts must extend to ferreting out and bringing to justice the masterminds and organizations that ran, maintained, and supported the network of drug production. Moreover, the sustainable development dimension of the problem must be addressed -- farmers must be provided with feasible alternatives to the cultivation of drugs. Nor could the security dimension of the problem be ignored -- instability and strife, coupled with weak governance, made it easy for drug production, trafficking and abuse to occur.
No State could go it alone, concluded the representative of Cuba. In fact, the ongoing globalization process had boosted crime to levels beyond possibilities for coping with them. Transnational organized crime had reached such a level that even the most sophisticated military and intelligence technologies were insufficient to combat the phenomenon. Instead, the international community must work urgently to establish democratic and equitable national and international systems that gave priority to investment in comprehensive education. The principle of the shared responsibility of all States to confront the problem of transnational crime must be realized.
Also addressing the Third Committee today were the representatives of Mongolia, Liechtenstein, Costa Rica, Tajikistan, Algeria, Republic of Korea, Libya, Malaysia (on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN)), Japan, Israel, Sri Lanka, Australia, Sudan, Belarus (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States), Colombia, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Peru, Indonesia, Syria, India, Jordan, Norway, Haiti, Mongolia, Turkey, Egypt and Venezuela.
The representatives of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) also spoke today.
The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. tomorrow, 12 October, to conclude its consideration of crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control. It is also expected to begin consideration of the advancement of women.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control. For additional background information, please see Press Release GA/SHC/3780 of 8 October.
Introduction of Draft Resolution on Literacy Decade
Introducing a draft resolution on the United Nations Literacy Decade: education for all (A/C.3/59/L.15), the representative of Mongolia recalled that the fight against illiteracy remained one of the days urgent tasks, as 100 million children remained out of school, and 800 million adults remained illiterate. The struggle for literacy was a struggle for social justice, human dignity and empowerment -- sustainable socio-economic development could not be effectively promoted without eradicating illiteracy.
Reiterating that national governments had the primary responsibility for promotion of literacy, the draft would urge governments to establish and monitor national literacy campaigns, mobilize the necessary political will and resources, and take the lead in coordinating activities for the Decade at the national level, he said. They would also be urged to provide the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with information on implementation of national programmes and plans of action, while the United Nations would be urged to support such national efforts.
Statements on Crime, Drugs
STEFAN BARRIGA (Liechtenstein) said international cooperation to combat crime underscored the indispensability of multilateral action in solving todays global problems. Individual States alone could not cope with the increasing challenges posed by terrorism, transnational organized crime, trafficking, and corruption. Lichtenstein fully supported the treaty-making processes established by the United Nations system in recent years to counter these scourges. As with all branches of international law, standard setting and treaty making in the field of crime prevention must be put into practice through implementation on the national level and full cooperation between States. Many States required assistance to fulfil this exercise and Liechtenstein was willing to assist other States through capacity-building.
For its part, he continued, Liechtenstein had modernized its legislation related to the suppression of money-laundering and financing for terrorism. The success of these efforts had enabled Liechtenstein to contribute to capacity-building in other States. It was currently discussing with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Belgrade the modalities for hosting early next year an international conference on Strengthening International Cooperation in Combating Financial Crime. The conference would aim to raise awareness among judges, prosecutors and other officials of the international dimension of their task. Particularly in the area of financial and organized crime, fighting crime at home was part of a global struggle.
STAFFORD O. NEIL (Jamaica), speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), said that efforts for crime prevention and improvement of the criminal justice system should not be considered the responsibility of any single government. Recent trends had shown an increase in the scope, intensity and sophistication of criminal activity. Globalization had its dark side, facilitating linkages and the transfer of criminal activities across societies and borders and leading to the creation of multinational criminal syndicates. The impact of this phenomenon on the social, economic and political life of countries -- particularly developing countries -- was increasingly overwhelming and must be counteracted through coordinated and effective international cooperation.
The CARICOM countries were pleased to note that the United Nations had risen to the challenge of establishing international legal frameworks to fight such organized crime, he said, including the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols and the Convention against Corruption. He also welcomed the report of the Secretary-General on strengthening the United Nations criminal prevention and criminal justice programme, among others, but warned that increases in technical assistance for the prevention of terrorism must not come at the expense of other critical areas, such as equipping and strengthening institutional capacities of law enforcement for crime control.
On international drug control, he noted that the Caribbean served as a transhipment point between large producers and lucrative markets. That situation had negatively affected both the crime situation, as well as the economic development, of the region. International assistance to transit States must be increased to facilitate national and regional interdiction efforts. An effective strategy must also include more than interdiction; there was a need to develop a balanced approach involving investment in demand reduction, as well as elimination of reliance on the drug trade for producers livelihoods.
MARÍA ELENA CHASSOUL (Costa Rica) stressed the importance of international cooperation in the strengthening of capacities, both at the national and regional levels, to prevent, fight, and overcome crime in all its forms. There was almost a natural link between criminal activities, she said, and such links had been facilitated by the process of globalization. The international community, thus, had to respond creatively and globally.
She highlighted the importance of regional agreements, calling attention in particular to the Agreement concerning cooperation in suppressing illicit maritime and air trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in the Caribbean Area, which was signed in San Jose in April 2003. This instrument and others like it would enhance not only the capacities of the parties involved but would also strengthen their ties as partners fighting against a common threat.
On terrorism, she said Costa Rica supported the Secretary-Generals description of terrorism as a global threat and strongly believed that the United Nations should lead the effort in the fight against international terrorism. Facilitating multilateral and multifaceted actions against terrorism was critical. The fight against international terrorism and its root causes must become a permanent and routine activity of the United Nations and of the General Assembly. Her Government suggested that the General Assembly begin an in-depth review of the various United Nations mandates and bodies dealing with terrorism, with the aim of eliminating duplication, unifying resources, and centralizing decision-making in the hands of a permanent and impartial body located at the centre of the United Nations. This was the rationale behind Costa Ricas proposal for the establishment of a United Nations high commissioner on terrorism.
RASHID K. ALIMOV (Tajikistan) said the urgency and scope of problems associated with illicit drug trafficking clearly constituted a global danger threatening international stability and security. Tajikistan was not a narcotics producer, but geographically, it lay between the major world producer of opium and heroin and drug-consuming countries. Thus, cutting off narcotics transit via the country had become a priority for the Government. In recent years, the country had adopted a number of measures aimed at enhancing drug control, established a legal framework consistent with international norms and had reinforced the potential of law enforcement bodies. A national Office of Drug Control had been established in 1999, with the assistance of the United Nations.
A signatory to all international anti-narcotics conventions, Tajikistan had also worked to expand bilateral and multilateral cooperation on drug control, he said. The countrys overall effort had placed it among the top five States worldwide in the amount of narcotics confiscated. Forty tons of narcotics, amounting to 91,470,000 doses, had been prevented from reaching consumer markets since implementation of United Nations projects in Tajikistan had begun. In addition to preventing drug dependency, Tajikistans efforts had resulted in a decreased number of drug-related crimes since 2002. Tajikistan had set a good example for other countries, but the continued threat posed by narcotics production and trafficking in its neighbourhood meant that the international community should give Afghanistan its utmost support and assistance to enable it to deal with its narcotics problem and develop under conditions of peace, national accord and stability.
ABDELOUAHAB OSMANE (Algeria) emphasized that the problem of drugs could only be truly understood at a global level. The link between illicit drug trafficking, terrorism and other transnational crimes warranted a firm commitment from all the players in the international community. Due to its geographic location, Algeria was a preferred transit zone for drug traffickers. Added to this was the close proximity of production centres, especially those producing cannabis resin. More than two tons of cannabis had been confiscated by Algerias national police this year. National authorities in recent years had set up structures to combat drug trafficking.
National efforts alone would not suffice, however, he said. International cooperation was more crucial than ever in fighting transnational organized crime and terrorism. Algeria had always advocated a concerted and unified approach to dealing definitively with transnational crime and terrorism. His country fully subscribed to the recommendations of the Secretary-General on the need to reaffirm that high-level priority be given to United Nations programmes on crime prevention and to support the eleventh United Nations Congress in Bangkok in 2005. Algeria was working to establish policies and structures capable of addressing the challenges of crime and would spare no effort in cooperating with the international community.
LEE CHUL (Republic of Korea) stressed that crime was not an isolated phenomenon, but was closely related to other domestic and global issues faced today, including peace and security, development, human rights, democracy and good governance. Thus, coordination among relevant international agencies was essential to crime prevention. In that regard, the entry into force of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the agreement achieved by the United Nations System Chief Executive Board for coordination on measures to build an effective inter-agency response to transnational organized crime were welcomed.
On terrorism, he reiterated his Governments belief that this scourge could never be justified nor tolerated, and emphasized that a sustained universal commitment and comprehensive set of actions were necessary at both the national and international levels to suppress and eradicate terrorism. On trafficking in human beings, he noted recent Government efforts to crack down on such crimes -- which included adoption of two new acts on punishment and victim protection -- and said the Republic of Korea had participated actively in the Bali Process, which had brought Asian and Pacific countries together to discuss trafficking, as well as the related issue of illegal migration. On corruption, he welcomed the elaboration of the Convention against Corruption, which his Government had signed and would ratify in due course.
Regarding international drug control, he noted that the Governments vigorous campaign against illicit drug use had led to the near-elimination of manufacturing facilities and trafficking networks of amphetamine-type stimulants. However, as the increased use of amphetamine-type stimulants in the region continued to be of concern, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes efforts to promote cooperation were welcomed. Protecting new generations from illicit drug use was critical to demand reduction. The Government had taken various actions to reduce demand, the main thrust of which was an awareness-raising campaign focused on the adverse health, social and economic consequences of drug use and disseminated through the school curriculum, traditional media, the Internet and roadside signboards. A nationwide 24-hour drug hotline had also been established, as had a Cyber-Consultation Centre for youth.
SHARON CHAN (Singapore) noted that the international drug trade spanned the world from farms and labs producing raw materials to end-consumers, passing by way of criminal syndicates and other unsavoury organizations that raked in hundreds of billions each year. This multi-billion dollar industry had a presence in every country; none were safe from the drug problem. To fight this transnational scourge, well-enforced anti-drug laws and effective and efficient transnational cooperation and coordination between drug and law enforcement agencies in all countries were necessary. Adequate resources and the political will to ensure that intentions translated into concrete action must be channelled to combat illicit narcotics.
Ending the supply of illicit drugs required more than arresting traffickers, dealers and couriers, she stressed. Efforts must extend to ferreting out and bringing to justice the masterminds and organizations that ran, maintained, and supported the network of drug production. Moreover, in tandem with counter-narcotics operations, the sustainable development dimension of the problem must be addressed. Farmers must be provided with feasible alternatives to the cultivation of drugs, and control of the spread of precursor chemicals must be improved. Neither could the security dimension of the problem be ignored. Instability and strife, coupled with weak governance, made it easy for drug production, trafficking and abuse to occur.
Demand reduction was also fundamental, she added. People -- especially those in at-risk groups -- must be educated about the perils of drug abuse, and drug abusers must receive effective rehabilitation. Beyond choking off supply and reducing demand, other problems related to drug use -- corruption, money-laundering, the financing of terrorist groups and the spread of blood-born diseases such as HIV/AIDS -- must be fought. Her own country took the drug problem extremely seriously and had adopted a comprehensive two-pronged approach focused on reducing both the supply of and demand for drugs, including through strict legislation, vigorous enforcement, rehabilitation and an effective drug education programme.
RODOLFO REYES RODRIGUEZ (Cuba) said the ongoing globalization process had boosted crime to levels beyond the possibilities for coping with them. Transnational organized crime had reached such levels that no country could fight it alone, not even with the support of the most sophisticated military and intelligence technologies. Cuba urged the international community to work urgently on the establishment of democratic and equitable national and international systems to give priority to investing in comprehensive education. It also called for the realization of the principle of shared responsibility of all States in confronting the problem of transnational crime, in compliance with international law and the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter. Cuba further renounced the use of force under the shield of military superiority and any doctrines based on the alleged right to pre-emptive war. War did not eradicate corruption and terrorism but, on the contrary, tended to multiply them.
Despite enduring a criminal embargo imposed by the United States Government for more than four decades, he continued, Cuba was proud of its achievements in crime prevention, criminal justice and in the struggle against the global drug problem. Cuba was firmly committed to contributing to international efforts to fight transnational crime and drugs. It had participated actively in established multilateral mechanisms and had arranged bilateral cooperation agreements with dozens of States. It had expressed, on repeated occasions, its willingness to cooperate bilaterally with the United States in the struggle against drug trafficking, terrorism and trafficking in persons, through proposals that had been rejected by the United States Government. Despite the hostility of the United States, Cuba would continue to fulfil its duties in the international struggle against transnational crime and would make all efforts to prevent its territory from being used to carry out criminal actions against the people of the United States and any other people in the world.
AHMED Y. Y. GZLLAL (Libya) noted that the international drug trade harmed all groups in society and stressed that, while efforts to fight the scourge had made some progress, the demand for illicit drugs had increased in some parts of the world, which meant that the international drug trade continued to pose a threat to socio-economic opportunities and development. Libya was not a drug-producing country, but its strategic geographic position between three continents meant that it had undertaken efforts to avoid becoming a transit route. Libya had contributed to international efforts to eliminate this scourge and had enacted legislation for the strict punishment of drug traffickers and dealers.
Libya had also reformed its legislation to redress the socio-economic and other impacts of criminal networks, especially those employing violence, he said. Such criminal behaviour had infiltrated every aspect of life, including through trafficking in human beings, trafficking in nuclear materials and money-laundering and associated fraud. The international community had drafted conventions to deal with these issues, the entry into force of which must be facilitated. Libya had ratified the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols on trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, and had signed the Convention against Corruption.
On terrorism, he stressed that State terrorism was a type of crime and must be clearly defined as such. Terrorism could not be fought effectively without knowledge of its root causes. Condemning all forms of terrorism, he reiterated that the eradication of that phenomenon required the elimination of double standards and redressing its root causes. Terrorism should not be associated with a specific religion or region, nor could Libya accept the association of a people struggling for self-determination with terrorism.
RASTAM MOHD ISA (Malaysia), speaking on behalf of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN), said various mechanisms had been initiated by ASEAN since 1997 to address all aspects of transnational crime, including the establishment of a biennial ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Transnational Crime. That policy body discussed the framework of cooperation and oversaw implementation of activities including intelligence-sharing and working with external partners to counter the threat of transnational crime. The Ministerial Meeting had also identified eight key areas for cooperation: trafficking in persons, particularly women and children; illicit drug trafficking; sea piracy; money-laundering; small arms smuggling; terrorism; international economic crime; and cyber crime. Among the biennial meetings activities to implement its Plan of Action to Combat Transnational Crime, it had facilitated information exchange and cooperation in law enforcement, law and legal matters; training; capacity-building and extra-regional cooperation with interested parties.
The ASEAN had instituted extraregional cooperation mechanisms to combat transnational crime with China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, among others, under the framework of ASEAN plus three, he added. It had also forged closer cooperation with its dialogue partners, including China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the European Union, Australia, the Russian Federation and the United States. In addition to components addressing trafficking in small arms, illicit drug trafficking and money-laundering, the Ministerial Meetings work programme addressed terrorism, including through prevention and suppression of financing and enhancement of information and intelligence exchange on terrorism and terrorist organizations, their movements and their funding. The ASEAN had also consistently and actively supported the United Nations role for the maintenance of international peace and security and countering international terrorism.
YUKO ITO (Japan) said that, as a result of the rapid development of high technology, such as the Internet, crime had become increasingly global, complex and well-organized. To address this development, close international cooperation, including the sharing of information and expertise, was indispensable. In this regard, Japan strongly supported the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which played a pivotal role in this field. Japan urgently called on all Member States to become parties to the relevant international conventions and protocols relating to terrorism. It also welcomed the speedy entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two protocols -- against trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants.
She said Japan considered trafficking in persons as one of the most serious transnational crimes, infringing on fundamental human rights. Her Government was determined to strengthen its policy to combat human trafficking, focusing on the protection of victims and strengthening law enforcement. To that end, an inter-agency task force within the Prime Ministers Office had been established in April, 2004 to address this issue in a comprehensive way. However, the practice of human trafficking could not be resolved solely by the efforts of individual countries. Japan firmly believed that close cooperation between the countries of origin and destination, as well as transit countries, was indispensable.
On the subject of drug control, she said Japan attached great importance to reducing the global demand for drugs. It believed that a harm reduction approach being prioritized by some countries only encouraged drug abuse and had a negative impact on international efforts to combat the drug problem. The rapid growth in the production and trafficking of amphetamine-type stimulants remained a serious problem in her region. Japan believed synthetic drugs were becoming increasingly prevalent because precursor chemicals were easy to obtain. The control of precursor chemicals should, therefore, be stressed in all efforts to reduce the illicit supply of synthetic drugs.
ANTONIO V. CUENCO (Philippines) said the expansion of criminal networks had demonstrated one of the dark shadows of globalization. The information and communications technology, travel, banking and financial systems that propelled the globalization of economies had also been used by criminal groups to internationalize their operations. Todays criminal networks were much more organized, adaptable and sophisticated and were much more eager to link up with other criminal groups in different countries. Transnational crime, which destabilized the economic and financial foundations of society and undermined development and poverty eradication, posed a clear threat to national and international peace and security. Transnational crime also engendered human rights violations when vulnerable individuals were exploited for commercial gain.
The Government of his country held that effective strategies to combat criminality, including transnational crime, were necessary to achieve the vision of a strengthened republic, he noted. Among its efforts to promote public safety and enhance internal security, the Government had had much success through incorporating all levels of government, particularly the village level. More often than not, the vigilance of ordinary citizens had assisted in winning the war against crimes such as kidnapping, illegal drug trafficking, trafficking in women and children, financial fraud and terrorism. There had also been efforts to modernize the armed forces and national police, and to cooperate regionally through ASEAN.
On drug control, he stressed that the world drug problem posed a grave threat to human security and sustainable development, as illicit drugs not only profoundly impacted the health and well-being of individuals, but also played a huge role in financing various forms of transnational crime. National and international efforts must address the drug trade in a more integrated manner. Nationally, the Philippine Government had strengthened its legislative and institutional framework into a comprehensive national anti-drug strategy, underpinned by a balanced approached to demand and supply reduction. Internationally, a similarly comprehensive approach was necessary. Finally, he proposed the elaboration of a multilateral extradition treaty to facilitate the return of merchants of death to the countries in which they had committed their crimes.
TUVIA ISRAELI (Israel) said Israel shared the international concern regarding the threat posed by illicit drugs and was party to the major conventions on narcotic drugs. The Israel Anti-Drug Authority (IADA) was a statutory corporation empowered by the Anti-Drug Authority Law and, since its inception in 1988, had developed a network of services aimed at combating drug abuse and at reducing both supply and demand. The Israeli Parliament had passed a forfeiture law in 1991, which empowered authorities to seize assets acquired through proceeds obtained from drug trafficking. It had also introduced a law pertaining to the laundering of money acquired as proceeds of illegal activities.
He said Israel and the IADA made constant efforts to exchange accumulated knowledge and expertise with any nation. With the help of the regional office of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, IADA was engaged in an ongoing effort to promote specific regional cooperation and programmes. Israel believed that only through regional, subregional and international cooperation could the world hope to stop the spread and proliferation of drugs.
MANEL ABEYSEKERA (Sri Lanka) said her countrys commitment to combating crime and drugs and to the creation of a regime of criminal justice had led to the elaboration of a number of legislative measures, as well as collaborative national and international mechanisms now under consideration. Those included a bail bill, which would restrict grounds for anticipatory bail; a prevention of computer crimes bill; a domestic violence bill; a penal code bill, which would bring many forms of trafficking within its ambit; and a data protection bill. Sri Lanka also envisaged a legal regime to facilitate the conduct of electronic commercial transactions.
On drug control, she noted that Sri Lanka had approximately 50,000 heroin users and 200,000 cannabis users, mostly youth. The national drug policy, adopted in 1992, had been strengthened in order to achieve a significant and measurable reduction in drug abuse by the end of the decade. National legislation was being drawn up to ensure sufficient control over precursor chemicals, with the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board acting as the focal point for efforts, and new legislation related to poisons and dangerous drugs, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, and treatment and rehabilitation of drug abusers was also being prepared.
JAMES CHOI (Australia) said people smuggling and trafficking were serious global crimes and challenged the right of countries to protect their own borders. Their activities had the potential to undermine the effectiveness and integrity of both the international refugee protection system and legal migration programmes. Australia was taking strong domestic measures to combat these crimes, including prosecuting and extraditing smugglers and traffickers. To be truly effective, however, governments must act together.
Cooperation in combating these crimes continued to be the hallmark of the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime. The Bali Process membership included source, transit and destination countries for people smuggling and trafficking, as well as the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Bali Process underlined that cooperation was essential to the fight against transnational crime. As long as smuggling and trafficking persisted, Australia would work with other governments in the Asia-Pacific on transnational solutions.
ILHAM IBRAHIM MOHAMED AHMED (Sudan) said the international fight against drugs necessitated a balanced approach to drug control, one that respected fully the territorial and sovereign integrity of States, as well as international human rights norms. Thus, her country welcomed the eleventh Congress forthcoming review of national legislation to combat drugs and called for multilateral, bilateral and regional cooperation and capacity-building for developing countries, especially African countries. Efforts to combat the scourge of drug trafficking must also fight poverty in order to enhance education and heighten youth awareness.
Expressing hope that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, through its African programmes, would play a pivotal role in strengthening regional initiatives such as the institute for treatment of young offenders, she also expressed pleasure over the elaboration of international efforts to reduce demand for narcotics. Lenient systems of national legislation must be redressed, she added. Nationally, the Sudan was one of the few countries in which drug usage had not reached alarming levels; however, the country could be used as a transit route due to its location.
Welcoming the entry into force of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, she said her Government was now proceeding to its implementation.The Sudan was also gratified by the elaboration of the Convention against Corruption, as that phenomenon must be fought at an international level, given its negative impact on peace, security and national economies.
FREDERICO DUQUE ESTRADA MEYER (Brazil), speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, said that despite great efforts, many goals of drug control commitments made six years ago had only been partly achieved, and goals set for 2008 appeared increasingly remote. The world still faced numerous challenges in achieving the goal of eradicating illicit trafficking. Arms trafficking, the smuggling of chemical precursors, terrorism, and corruption were only some of the crimes related to drug trafficking. The Rio Group urgently appealed to all States to improve the monitoring of the trafficking of precursor chemicals in order to prevent the production of synthetic dugs.
He said the harmful effects of drug trafficking were evident in all aspects of society -- in the increase in domestic violence, the spread of HIV/AIDS and the destruction of the environment. The problem of drugs directly affected the whole world. His region was faced with fragmentation of drug cartels, accompanied by new methods and routes for trafficking of illicit substances. In response, new mechanisms had been established for combating drug trafficking in the region.
He urged all States to take into account his regions experience and to consider creating similar mechanisms to encourage greater cooperation in their own regions.
He urged Member States to sign and ratify existing international treaties on the subject and to intensify efforts at regional cooperation. It was also indispensable to be committed to drug control efforts at the national level. Furthermore, it was essential for States and international financial institutions and non-governmental organizations to reflect on strategies aimed at solving the problem of poverty. The international community could not spare any effort in promoting health, education, and the social and economic well-being of people. The problem of drugs threatened the stability of families and of nations. It was imperative for nations to renew their political will to realize drug demand reduction.
LUCA DALLOGLIO, of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), said that people smuggling and trafficking in human beings had become a major political and security issue for the international community. After drugs and guns, it constituted the third largest source of profits for international organized crime. Current estimates indicated that approximately $10 billion was made through the smuggling and trafficking of human beings across international borders each year, with 600,000 to 800,000 individuals trafficked annually. Moreover, women and children were more likely to be trafficked. Having welcomed the entry into force of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime during the previous General Assembly, he was now pleased to note the entry into force of its Protocols on trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants.
Despite the progress symbolized by those protocols, the size and scope of both phenomena had not decreased, he stressed. Greater international cooperation to fight smuggling and trafficking, and to build a more comprehensive migration regime to protect the human rights of migrants, remained necessary. Recent studies showed that the international criminal organizations operating trafficking rings had modified their plans in response to new governmental measures, to avoid detection and increase profitability. New trends included more frequent use of legal travel documents, increased corruption, increased use of the Internet and telephone communications and increased participation of women as traffickers. Thus, while the phenomenon appeared less evident on the surface of things, serious forms of exploitation, including trafficking in children, begging, concealed and forced labour, organ trafficking and illegal adoptions, remained widespread.
There must be continuous efforts to identify new modes of trafficking and smuggling and to adjust national and international initiatives for prevention, prosecution and protection, he concluded. To that end, the IOM had directed its capacity-building and technical cooperation activities to work for enhancement of the capacities of governmental migration managers regarding border management, use of machine-readable passports, visa systems, passport issuance, systems regulating entry and stay and use of biometric information.
ANDREI DAPKIUNAS (Belarus), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said that the CIS countries had taken joint action to counter transnational crime and international terrorism, among other crimes. The main thrust of the countries practical work had been undertaken through specialized agencies that shared information on criminal groups and the scale of criminal activity in the region and had taken the form of seminars on treaty regimes and recent experiences with certain kinds of international crime, among others. The CIS countries also felt that cooperation with the United Nations for crime prevention and criminal justice should be strengthened, including through ratification and implementation of the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, as well as through strengthened support for the United Nations Programme on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
Among other initiatives, CIS members intended to continue to work for the signing and ratification of the Convention against Corruption, he said. New grounds had been laid out in 2004 for the expansion of cooperation between CIS countries. For example, last month, an intergovernmental programme incorporating measures to fight crime had been adopted, and there had been efforts to work together to suppress illegal immigration. Moreover, enhancing mechanisms to fight international terrorism remained a priority for CIS countries, both at the regional and global levels. The CIS countries had been inspired by the tragic events in Beslan to take additional measures to fight international terrorism and other forms of extremism, including through expansion of its international treaty frameworks and new agreements on issues such as cooperation in crime prevention and the hijacking of certain vehicles. The CIS countries also reaffirmed the importance of enhancing cooperation with United Nations agencies for crime prevention.
MARIA ANGELA HOLGUIN CUELLAR (Colombia) said her country knew well the ominous dynamics of illicit drugs and how drug trafficking weakened societies and institutions. She highlighted the successes of the drug eradication policy of President Alvaro Uribe Velez, noting it was the most successful policy implemented in Colombia in recent years. It had strengthened the rule of law and the fight against the production and traffic of illicit drugs, which nourished violence, terrorism, arms trafficking and money-laundering. As a result, illicit crops in Colombia had been reduced by some 30 per cent, as indicated in the reports of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. International cooperation, both bilateral and multilateral, had played an important role in obtaining those results.
She said most of the eradicated hectares of illicit crops had been transformed into crops aimed at reforestation under a programme known as the Ranger Family Program. The programme had gathered 22,000 families who had abandoned the cultivation of illicit crops and were now dedicated to reforestation to preserve the tropical forests, receiving a subsidy of $2,000 a year. Those cooperatives had provided an important source of revenue and work, in which women played a central role. Such sustainable livelihood projects abandoned illicit crops, generated social and economic development and required national investment and international cooperation. The international community could play a critical role in building technical capacity for the sustainability of thousands of people.
NAWAF N.M. AL-ENEZI (Kuwait) affirmed that his country shared in the international responsibility to end organized crime and the scourge of drugs and had, to that end, enacted many legislative reforms. For example, a drug addict in Kuwait was now considered someone suffering from an illness, deserving of rehabilitation. Among national efforts to combat drug use, Kuwait partook of wider, regional efforts to reduce the demand for narcotics. Initiatives to that end focused on spreading awareness of the threat of drug use in universities and prisons, organizing a communication campaign and training the police and justice systems to combat organized crime.
To combat corruption and enhance international cooperation, Kuwaits Council of Ministers had ratified the Convention against Corruption, he said. The initiative of Saudi Arabia, to host an international conference on terrorism next February, was also welcomed. At a time that his country reiterated its denouncement of all forms of terrorism, he expressed concern over the stark violations committed by terrorist groups, including under the guise of religion. However, terrorism should not be associated with any single religion. Finally, he welcomed the establishment of a special tribunal to try members of the former Iraqi regime for crimes perpetrated against the Kuwaiti and Iraqi people.
ABDULLATIF SALLAM (Saudi Arabia) said his delegation was satisfied with efforts that had been made to implement the recommendations of the Secretary-General on international cooperation to combat the world drug problem. It regretted, however, that there had been an escalation of trafficking and drugs, which targeted the youth who were ultimately the future of society. Saudi Arabia fully supported the enhancement of international cooperation in fighting organized crime, corruption, trafficking in migrants and human beings, especially women and children. His Government was working to put an end to terrorism and in this context would host a conference in Riyadh on how to fight terrorism.
Saudi Arabia attached great importance to international cooperation, through bilateral and multilateral treaties. Saudi Arabia had signed all the recommendations on money-laundering and participated in activities to fight money-laundering. It had also signed the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the United Nations treaty to combat drugs and psychotropic substances.
ROMY TINCOPA (Peru) said that, after a decade marked by authoritarianism and corruption at the highest levels, the Peru of today was committed to combating such crimes and pursuing the path of democracy. The struggle against corruption was ever-present at both the national and international level, and given the complexity of the challenge to eradicate it, a multidisciplinary and cross-cutting approach was needed. This approach must ensure protection of citizens values and international cooperation.
To combat corruption, Peru had establish offices of attorneys and judges, which would provide citizens with proper legal counsel, she added. Innovative systems for recovery of assets derived from illegal activities had also been implemented. Yet, corruption was not the only side effect of globalization with which the country had to deal. Trafficking in drugs and people, as well as international terrorism, had also negatively impacted socio-economic development. Thus, as the victim of terrorism for more than 20 years, Peru denounced terrorism everywhere. To combat that scourge, she added, a broad, wide-ranging alliance that comprised the governmental, private, academic and civil society sectors was needed. Peru embodied the struggle against terrorism, and would continue to bring support and cooperation to eradicate that phenomenon once and for all.
Ms. LISTYOWATI (Indonesia) said her country firmly hoped that the Convention against Transnational Crime and the Convention against Corruption would enable the international community to address crime prevention in a more holistic manner and put into place a series of transnational measures that would create a solid foundation for a truly global response. Indonesia had signed the Convention against Corruption in December 2003 and was currently working on establishing a national action plan towards implementing and ratifying the Convention. It had set up an anti-corruption commission and was cooperating with its neighbours in preventing and combating corruption. Indonesia was also aware of the intimate link between terrorism and money-laundering and had been undertaking measures to improve institutional capacity and the legal infrastructure to combat money-laundering.
Turning to the crime of drug trafficking, she said Indonesia had made drug control one of its top priorities. The rising trend of illicit drug abuse, production and trafficking remained one of Indonesias most serious problems. Adding to the challenge of fighting drugs was the fact that Indonesia was no longer targeted as a mere transit country but was considered a destination for the sale of illicit drugs and production of synthetic drugs. It had formulated a national action plan in the areas of prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, law enforcement and legal reform in order to implement declarations of the twentieth United Nations General Assembly Special Session.
Indonesia fully supported any effort to increase cooperation that would strengthen its national capacity in combating transnational crime. It emphasized the need to strengthen the partnership of the business community in the joint campaign against terrorism within the framework of shared responsibility, to suppress and combat transnational crime.
RANIA AL HAJ ALI (Syria) said the twin scourge of drugs and crime could not be restricted to certain parts of society. The Syrian Government remained firmly committed to combating drugs and crime by enacting and implementing legal provisions to ensure the protection of its citizens, and had laid down stringent penalties for perpetrators. Treatment centres for drug users had also been established. The country continued to combat all attempts to use its national territory as a transit route and continued to modernize its law to counter challenges related to drugs and crime. In the latter regard, Syria had acceded to the international conventions against drug trafficking, corruption, transnational organized crime and its two protocols.
Bilaterally, efforts had also been undertaken to reinforce the steps and measures undertaken to combat the scourge of drug use, she added. Syria also continued to work with the UNODC, and expressed its gratitude for efforts undertaken by its regional office on the Middle East and Africa to help countries combat drugs trafficking and related crimes. Finally, she said Syria eagerly awaited the eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, convinced of importance of reinforcing international cooperation and stepping up efforts to combat those phenomena.
BHARTRUHARI MAHTAB (India) said India had resolutely pursued a multi-pronged strategy to combat terrorism. This strategy gave primacy to dialogue, democratic political processes and the rule of law. There could be no justification for terrorism on any ground, whether it be religious, political, ideological, or any other. The fight against terrorism had to be global and comprehensive. The global nature of the scourge of terrorism made it essential to have a comprehensive legal framework, without which the battle would be lost before it could begin. While the international community must be able to distinguish between a criminal act and a terrorist act, the line was often fine and was one which could and must be addressed.
The funding situation of the Office on Drugs and Crime continued to be a cause of concern, he said. Funding from the regular budget remained inadequate and it was important to enhance budgetary allocations to ensure that the priorities as laid down by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs could be implemented. The challenges posed by the links among drug trafficking, terrorism and transnational organized crime continued to pose a major threat to international security and could not be overcome without a concerted global effort.
MOHD RADZI ABDUL RAHMAN (Malaysia) said the process of globalization, advancements in information technology and the removal of boundary formalities had resulted in a rise in transnational crime. Crime had not only spread to many countries, but had also become more organized and sophisticated, as criminal groups had been enabled to operate beyond their traditional limits. Hence, international cooperation for information sharing and effective legal cooperation, including mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and assistance in freezing criminal profits and in extradition, was essential to combating international criminal activity.
Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, was one of the most complex security challenges confronting the world today, he added. The increase in international terrorism necessitated the adoption of international measures adequate to the elimination of that scourge, yet the war on terrorism could not be won unless the international community was prepared to identify the root causes motivating terrorism and support for terrorist activities. Efforts to combat terrorism would be futile if the environment that provoked and bred the scourge -- characterized by foreign occupation, oppression, gross injustice, exclusion, poverty and acute economic disparity -- was allowed to continue.
On corruption, he noted that phenomenon was a major cause of economic underperformance and an obstacle to poverty eradication. Unchecked corruption nurtured crime and terrorism and undermined the socio-economic fabric of society. Thus, measures to combat it must be considered a priority. Malaysia had embarked on a two-pronged approach, which addressed both the punitive and preventative aspects of the issue. On illicit drug trafficking, he noted the active role played by his country in the fight against this scourge, both at home and internationally. A comprehensive approach to combating illicit drug activities was necessary -- illicit drugs must be stopped at the source, and alternative development programmes must be supported.
MUTAZ HYASSAT (Jordan) said it was necessary to step up levels of international cooperation. The Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its two protocols were critical instruments in combating organized crime, which had undermined development. Jordan had adopted a national action plan which aimed to combat drug use, reduce supply and provide treatment. In general terms, its efforts in combating drugs took the form of a two-pronged policy of prevention and treatment.
He said Jordan had also launched awareness-raising campaigns to educate the public on the dangers of drugs and their negative effects on health and had developed special programmes for border communities. On treatment, Jordan believed drug users were victims who required rehabilitation to ensure they could become active members of society. Jordan was committed to participating in regional and international efforts to combat crime and drug trafficking to minimize their harmful effects on society.
WEGGER CHRISTIAN STRØMMEN (Norway) said that corruption was a global problem, which threatened democracy, human rights and social justice. It was particularly harmful to developing countries, with their most vulnerable economies and populations. If the common goal to halve poverty by 2015 was to be accomplished, combating corruption must remain a priority issue for the international community. Moreover, that fight must take place at the national, regional and international levels; no country could overcome corruption nationally if it ignored the international aspects of the problem. International cooperation was essential, and the United Nations Convention against Corruption was essential in that regard, as it provide a framework for better coordinated action and cooperation.
However, eliminating corruption would not solve all the worlds problems, he stressed. Other measures, including those for good governance, must also be put in place. The Convention alone would not solve the corruption problem and, to ensure its credibility, that agreement must be effectively implemented and enforced. Yet, the universal condemnation of corruption was encouraging, as was the introduction of an International Day against Corruption (9 December).
PAUL-PROMPT YOURI EMMANUEL (Haiti) said that, due to its geographic location and its precarious social and economic situation, Haiti was particularly susceptible to crime, trafficking in drugs and trafficking in human beings. Criminal activities were serious obstacles to development and posed serious threats to international security. Haiti had spared no effort in contributing to efforts to combat transnational organized crime. Haiti was making every effort to strengthen its national police and to institute judicial reform to fight drug trafficking, money-laundering, trafficking in human beings, and crime in all its forms.
He said Haiti had adopted administrative measures to combat those scourges. A national commission and a national task force had been established to counter drugs and crime, which also operated at a regional level, in view of the need to find joint solutions to fight drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, and other crimes. Haiti was also participating with its counterparts in the region to combat crime in other ways. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, it was reprehensible that slavery still existed and that this year alone 1 million people, especially women and children, would become victims of brutal exploitation by criminal groups involved in prostitution, child pornography and other revolting crimes. Haiti welcomed the entry into force of the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols and the signing of the Convention on Corruption, which were instrumental in fighting these scourges.
PUREVJAV GANSUKH (Mongolia) agreed that the rapid growth in organized crime, illegal trafficking, corruption and terrorism, which had spread across national borders, posed a serious threat to international security, justice, democracy and development. He stressed the need to tackle the underlying causes of those phenomena, including poverty, marginalization and inequality. The eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice should serve as a platform from which to launch concerted efforts for effective and extended cooperation to combat transnational organized crime, illegal trafficking, corruption and terrorism.
Reaffirming his countrys support for the conventions against transnational organized crime and corruption, he said Mongolia was also grateful for the assistance of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in the field of drug control and crime prevention. Every effort would be made to extend that cooperation even further and to implement the Memorandum of Understanding, signed during the Presidents visit to the UNODC office at Vienna last year. On the fight against corruption, he noted that a series of anti-corruption measures had been undertaken nationally in recent years, such as the establishment of the National Council to Combat Corruption and the National Programme to Combat Corruption. The National Anti-Corruption Conference had been held in March 2003, while one of the first working groups established by the new Government had been the group tasked with drafting a law against corruption.
HAKAN TEKIN (Turkey) said transnational organized crime could not be prevented by governments acting individually or through traditional forms of international cooperation. The situation today required coordinated and comprehensive responses.Turkey had become party to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption. Their provisions had been integrated into domestic legislation and were being implemented. Turkey was also closely involved in regional cooperation initiatives in the fight against organized crime and corruption in its region.
He said the increased trafficking and abuse of synthetic drugs worldwide required a doubling of efforts. Turkeys global strategy on combating illicit drug trafficking was based on the principle of extensive and effective international cooperation. It had signed and ratified all the relevant United Nations drug control treaties and had concluded bilateral agreements with 48 different countries.
Due to its geographic location, Turkey was affected by the flow of South-West Asian heroin to Europe and the illicit trafficking of precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs from Europe and the Middle East. Turkey had exerted every effort to combat illicit trafficking of drugs by enhancing law enforcement capabilities and through collaboration with the countries concerned. Turkey shared the view that it was necessary to pursue a balanced approach to demand and supply and it had exerted national efforts and organized public campaigns to that end. Noting the close links between illicit drugs, organized crime and terrorism, he pointed out that drug trafficking and organized crime were among the main financial sources of terrorist groups.
MAI TAHA MOHAMED KHALIL (Egypt) said that all agreed that organized crime, drug trafficking and terrorism had negative implications, which impeded efforts for sustainable socio-economic development. Redressing that situation was of paramount importance, and efforts must be exerted to contain these phenomena. To that end, the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption, were significant tools and should be acceded to by all States.
On drug control, she stressed the importance of implementing the outcomes of the twentieth special session of the General Assembly, which had contributed significantly to international efforts to grapple with the phenomenon of the illicit drug trade. All efforts to reduce demand for illicit drugs were welcomed; however, the tolerance for certain illicit drugs demonstrated in some areas of the world was a source of concern. Demand for illicit drugs should be reduced, including through implementation of the guidelines contained in international agreements. Moreover, there was a need for a comprehensive understanding of the problem; one could not eliminate the supply of drugs without efforts to overcome the factors that facilitated their cultivation, including poverty and marginalization. Additional international cooperation to provide assistance to developing countries grappling with the problem of drug trafficking was essential, she concluded.
FERMIN TORO JIMENEZ (Venezuela) said his country had ratified the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption. It had also ratified the International Conventions on the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings and the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, which were now part of its national legislation. Venezuela had asked the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to organize workshops on the prevention of the trafficking of persons.
He said his Government condemned terrorism in all its forms and rejected all terrorist activity. Venezuela was firmly committed to fighting effectively this problem that threatened international peace and security. In addition, its legislation considered corruption as a phenomenon that affected social structures and socio-economic development and weakened societal order, morality and justice. Regarding the Convention against Corruption, Venezuela wished to point out that certain issues had not received adequate attention, including issues of bank secrecy and money-laundering. While the Convention addressed those issues, they were not binding upon States parties.
Venezuela considered the fight against drugs to be a primordial issue for the safety and defence of its nation, he continued. It had developed a national anti-drug plan for the period from 2002 to 2007, with the aim of striking a balance between the reduction of supply and reduction of demand. This required a balanced multilateral approach that was inclusive and not selective. It was critical to have innovative and efficient approaches that would cover prevention and promote legal, sustainable activities. There was a need to develop education programmes to increase awareness and the training of technical staff to support alternative development and environmental protection.
MYKOLA MELENEVSKYI (Ukraine) said the globalization of organized crime presented a growing threat to all governments. Levels of crime, corruption and drug abuse had worsened beyond expectation. All were marked by a trend toward consolidation of the activities of criminal organizations at the international level, leading to a close interrelationship between organized crime, drug trafficking, terrorism, small arms trafficking, money-laundering and corruption. The worldwide expansion of these evils demanded continuous improvement in national, regional and international efforts and mechanisms for cooperation.
For its part, Ukraine had made substantial efforts to improve its national capacity to fight crime and corruption, and had developed active cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral levels, he added. While the country was working to bring its national legislation into conformity with the provisions of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the establishment of a UNODC field office in the country would be of great benefit. Ukraine also welcomed the adoption of the Convention against Corruption and had already started the process of ratifying that instrument.
Regarding international terrorism, he said the country welcomed the new orientation and expansion of activities of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme in support of States efforts to combat international terrorism. Ukraine had developed and implemented measures for the implementation of the Security Council resolution aimed at preventing the use of the national territory by international terrorist organizations.
On trafficking in human beings, he noted the difficulties faced by his country, which had seen thousands of young women trafficked to different parts of the world over the past decade. Enhancing the fight against this scourge had led the Parliament to undertake a number of legislative reforms, including for tougher penalties for trafficking in people. Strategies to combat such trafficking should focus both on striking a balance between law enforcement operations and improvement in the socio-economic situation of those at risk to be trafficked. Finally, regarding drug trafficking, he noted that his country had, unfortunately, become a transition point for international drug trafficking syndicates and stressed that the State would continue to do its utmost to rectify the situation.
AXUMITE GEBRE-EGZIABHER, a representative of the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), said crime was one of the key challenges facing cities. Sustainable development in cities required stable and safe environments. The increase in urban crime was associated with growing social exclusion. The effects of crime on city development were manifold and included lost economic opportunities and increased costs for individuals and the private sector, reduced access to services, and an increased burden for the poor. The UN-Habitat emphasized a preventive approach to crime prevention at local levels through the development of innovative forms of local governance of security.
She said UN-HABITAT had started to collaborate with UNODC and other United Nations partners to develop local-level intervention and advocacy for crime prevention. It looked forward to increased contributions of the criminal justice system to local crime prevention through justice system reforms that promoted decentralization and increased access to justice. The UN-HABITAT called on the various agencies with specialized mandates to collaborate in the effort to make cities and communities more resilient to crime.
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