11 October 2005
Speakers Stress Threats Posed by Transnational Crime, Illicit Drug Trade to International Peace, Development, as Third Committee Concludes Debate
Draft Resolutions Introduced on Social Development, Volunteerism, Ageing, Family
NEW YORK, 10 October (UN Headquarters) -- The Third Committee (Social, Cultural and Humanitarian) concluded its general discussion today of crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control and heard the introduction of four draft resolutions on follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development, International Year of Volunteerism, World Assembly on Ageing, and the International Year of the Family.
During the debate, several speakers said organized crime and drug abuse and illicit trafficking were threats to international peace, security and development that must be tackled on all fronts with the assistance of the United Nations.
The response of the international community to organized crime during and after conflicts had been decentralized and fragmented, Liechtenstein's representative said. The High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change had noted that, in post-war periods, former belligerents often sought to exploit criminal connections and know-how developed during the war, thus undermining international peacebuilding efforts. The Peacebuilding Commission should, therefore, pay particular attention to coordinated and effective measures intended to sever existing ties between criminal enterprises and political elites. He warned, however, that criminal justice must be fair and equitable and that the United Nations played a vital role as overseer of coordination efforts and increased technical assistance for Member States in need.
Liechtenstein was doing its part, allocating $1.4 million to the capacity-building activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) over the next four years. Private-sector involvement in designing preventive counter-measures was not only an essential component in the fight against money-laundering, but of crucial importance in the fight against corruption.
Indonesia's representative said strategic information-sharing, institutional capacity-building and mutual support in law enforcement, training and extradition measures were necessary for Member States to break up the thriving global empire of organized crime. The advent of information communications technology had made it possible for criminals operating in different countries to create sophisticated networks for drug trafficking, human trafficking, money-laundering and corruption. Cooperation among countries, as observed during the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held last April in Bangkok, was vital to dismantle transnational criminal and terrorist networks so that they did not impede development. Indonesia was a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two Protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption, he said.
Ukraine had already ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and was now doing the same for the United Nations Convention against Corruption, that country's representative said. The Bangkok Declaration had created ways to strengthen the criminal justice system, international cooperation for crime prevention, law enforcement and community involvement in crime prevention. The second session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in October should become a milestone for strengthening international cooperation in that regard.
Uganda's representative commended the United Nations for creating international legal frameworks to fight organized crime, which, according to the High-Level Report, was becoming more diverse, flexible, strong and invisible. Terrorism was also one of the greatest threats to security and development, and he expressed hope that the proposals of the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice would crystallize through international cooperation.
Also today, the representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China, introduced draft resolutions on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly, on follow-up to the implementation of the International Year of Volunteers, and on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing.
Brazil's representative introduced a draft on follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond.
The representatives of Fiji, Mexico, Belarus, Chile, Albania, Kazakhstan (on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States), Bangladesh, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Bahamas, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Turkey, Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria, India, Nepal, Israel, Jordan, Syria and Venezuela also made statements.
A representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) also spoke today.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., Tuesday, 11 October, for an informal interactive debate on the role of women in peacebuilding. It will meet at 3 p.m. to begin consideration of the advancement of women and implementation of the outcome of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met today to continue its general discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as of international drug control. For background, see Press Release GA/SHC/3817 of 7 October.
The Committee had before it a note verbale dated 28 September 2005 from the Permanent Mission of Madagascar to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/60/403-S/2005/621), which transmits copies of the action plan adopted by the national expert workshop for the legislative incorporation of the universal instruments against terrorism and transnational organized crime, held in Antananarivo from 30 August to 1 September 2005.
The Committee also had before it a letter dated 29 September 2005 from the Permanent Representative of the Republic of Moldova to the United Nations addressed to the Secretary-General (document A/60/405-S/2005/623), which transmits the texts of the communiqué of the tenth meeting of the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the GUUAM States (Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Republic of Moldova) and the joint statement of the sixth GUUAM-United States ministerial meeting held in New York on 16 September 2005.
Also before the Committee was a draft resolution on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/60/L.5), which would have the General Assembly reaffirm that implementation of the Social Summit commitments and the millennium targets was crucial to a coherent, people-centred approach to development; recognize that employment and social integration had suffered from a general disconnect between economic and social policymaking; and emphasize that poverty-reduction policies should attack poverty by addressing its root and structural causes and manifestations.
Also before the Committee was a draft on follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond (document A/C.3/60/L/6), which would have the Assembly recommend that Governments, in cooperation with concerned academic and research centres, as well as relevant non-governmental organizations, encourage action-oriented research to address public policy with a family perspective and recommend that Government research be complemented by the study of topics by the United Nations programme on the family.
Further, it would urge Member States to create a conducive environment for all families regardless of sex, age, status or disability, with particular attention to the rights of women and girls; call upon the Secretariat to continue its important role on family issues within the United Nations system; and call upon Member States to undertake a review of the role and functions of existing national mechanism for the family with respect to integrating family issues into national development.
In addition, the Committee had before it a draft on follow-up to the implementation of the International Year of Volunteers (document A/C.3/60/L.7), which would have the Assembly invite all stakeholders, especially from the private sector community and from private foundations, to support volunteerism as a strategic tool to enhance economic and social development. Further it would call upon relevant organizations and bodies of the United Nations system to integrate volunteerism into policies, programmes and reports, and encourage Governments to establish partnerships with civil society in order to build national volunteer potential at the national level.
Also before the Committee was a draft on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/60/L.2), which would have the Assembly call on Governments, organizations, bodies of the United Nations system and non-governmental organizations to reinforce advocacy campaigns about the Assembly's decisions, as well as ensure that their programmes adequately incorporate challenges of ageing populations and concerns of older persons.
Further to the draft, the Assembly would stress the need to increase national capacity-building to implement the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002 and would encourage Governments to support the United Nations Trust Fund for Ageing; call upon Governments to consult and utilize the Research Agenda on Ageing for the Twenty-First Century to help strengthen national capacity to implement and appraise the Madrid Plan of Action; and request that the United Nations system continue to strengthen the capacity of focal points on ageing and provide them with adequate resource to further implement the Madrid Plan. It would also stress the importance of collecting data and population statistics disaggregated by age and sex on policy formulation.
SAINIVALATI NAVOTI (Fiji) said the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice allowed the international community to exchange expertise and views on how best to deal with new challenges posed by all forms of crime. Criminal activities impacted seriously the security, stability and development of nations. The Bangkok Declaration laid the foundation for strengthening international coordination and cooperative efforts to prevent and combat crime, and his Government supported its recommendations, particularly the call for making available appropriate technical assistance to developing countries to strengthen their capacity to fight economic and financial crimes effectively. His Government also supported the promotion of anti-corruption policies and measures through the Convention against Corruption.
Corruption was a serious threat to the rule of law and the stability, as well as security of societies. It further jeopardized the fair distribution of resources because it undermined fundamental democratic institutions and values. His delegation also recognized terrorism as one of the major challenges facing the international community, as it posed serious threats to national and international security and required a coordinated and comprehensive international response. States needed to collectively nurture international relations based on sovereign equality, multilateralism and justice, the eradication of exploitation, oppression and social inequality, and the promotion of sustainable development. He added that while good progress had been achieved towards the attainment of positive and equitable solutions to the many challenges, Member States should build on such progress to formulate innovative and comprehensive measures that prevented crime and furthered international justice.
PATRICK RITTER (Liechtenstein) said transnational organized crime was one of the major threats to international peace and security, and must be tackled at the national, regional and global levels. The United Nations' role was to enhance the consistency and effectiveness of counter-measures taken worldwide, which could be achieved through enhanced coordination and increased technical assistance to Member States that lacked the necessary capacities. Liechtenstein had been supporting the capacity-building activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) on a regular basis, and this year his Government had decided to allocate $1.4 million to UNODC activities over the next four years. Stressing that adequate involvement of the private sector in the design of preventive counter-measures was not only an essential component in the fight against money-laundering but of crucial importance in the fight against corruption, he said that States had to promote a culture of integrity and accountability in both the public and private sectors.
It had been recognized by the High-Level Panel that the response of the international community to organized crime during and after conflict had been decentralized and fragmented. In post-war periods, former belligerents often sought to exploit criminal connections and know-how developed during the war, thus undermining international peacebuilding efforts. It would, therefore, be of great importance that the Peacebuilding Commission paid particular attention to the design and implementation of coordinated and effective measures aimed at cutting off any existing ties between criminal enterprises and political elites. Criminal justice had to be delivered in a fair and equitable manner, he added. The Peacebuilding Commission would be called upon to assist countries emerging from conflict in that difficult but vital task for the consolidation of genuine peace and security.
JENNIFER FELLER (Mexico) said preventive alternative development programmes, capacity-building and information campaigns were indispensable in the international fight against drugs and were viable alternatives towards sustainable development. She called upon the international community to benefit from the experiences of countries that had successfully implemented such programmes. However, public policy to reduce the world's illicit drug supply had not been adequate in responding to the problem, she said, stressing the need for policies tailored to situation in drug-traffic transit countries. Such countries increasingly suffered from violence and social fragmentation that traditionally affected producer countries and consumer countries.
Full implementation of international commitments, particularly resolutions of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the General Assembly, and the 2008 objectives set forth in the Political Declaration of the General Assembly's twentieth special session, was essential. She also urged States that had not done so to ratify the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, the Palermo Convention, and the Convention against Corruption.
ANDREI POPKOV (Belarus) said he wanted to draw attention to international cooperation issues that were of particular interest to his Government, such as broadening of cooperation in the area of crime. Commending the efforts of the UNODC, he said dealing with the problems of international organized crime, such as trafficking in persons, illegal migration and illegal drug trafficking, should be a priority. That was important to transit countries such as Belarus. His Government was increasing efforts to deal with human trafficking, in particular as it affected women and children, because Belarus believed that trading in humans was one of the most serious crimes. Belarus had encountered the problem and had seen its effect on the moral state of society. As such, the Government had done much to bring laws in line with the international laws to eliminate people trafficking and to prosecute those involved in it. In 2005, a number of additional measures were taken to prevent the trade in humans, including a law to punish those involved in the trade and other related crimes, as well as a decree on overcoming human trafficking and providing assistance to victims.
Belarus had also taken part in five joint international cooperation projects to counteract human trafficking. It had, however, often encountered problems in cooperation with other States, such as untimely responses for legal assistance. Recognizing the need to agree on international measures, he called for more effective and organized efforts on the part of origin, transit and destination countries and others, such as non-governmental organizations, to counter all forms of human trafficking.
The problem of illicit drug use and trafficking was also of serious concern, and his Government believed that the UNODC should give more attention to transit countries dealing with the issue. He said Belarus had witnessed an 80 per cent increase in domestic illicit drug use in over the last five years and expressed hope that the international community would support efforts to counter drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
CARLA SERAZZI (Chile) said that last year Chile had ratified the Palermo Convention and its Protocols on human trafficking and the trafficking of migrants, and was in the process of ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Economic and financial methods of organized crime and money laundering had grown increasingly sophisticated, seriously threatening national economies, the global financial system and political stability. An integral and systematic response was needed to address that challenge, she said, stressing the need for all countries to effectively apply anti-corruption instruments and improve national systems.
Chile had made the fight against terrorism a top priority, she continued, stressing the need for a global anti-terrorism strategy in line with the United Nations Charter, international law and respect for human rights. She called for concluding negotiations to create a convention against terrorism. Chile was doing its part, having ratified 12 United Nations conventions regarding terrorism and the Inter-American Convention against Terrorism. In September, it had signed the Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism and had actively participated in negotiations of the Sixth Committee (Legal) and the Security Council regarding sanctions against Al-Qaida and the Taliban, as well as in discussions of the Committee against Terrorism.
ILIR MELO (Albania) said that in today's interdependent world, international crime was becoming more complex and sophisticated, posing a real, increased threat to global security, development and human rights. His Government was a committed actor in the regional and international cooperation frameworks, in order to efficiently combat and eliminate all forms of trafficking of human beings. At the national level, it had set in motion effective measures to tackle the issue. His Government also believed that regional cooperation was a key factor of stability, peace, tolerance and good understanding, paving the way towards a more secure, prosperous and integrated region, with a clear destination into the European and Euro-Atlantic structures. His Government was convinced that increasing the role of the community and also improving cooperation with governmental institutions in the common cause to combat the trafficking of human beings would ensure significant and tangible progress.
Endorsing the call of the World Summit for enhancing international cooperation on migration issues, he said his Government was also alert to the need for effectively addressing the problems related to drugs and drug trafficking. It fully shared the view with the European Union of the need to identify corruption as an obstacle to sustainable development and good government. Corruption, organized crime and conflict of interests directly decreased the capacity of Government to implement and enforce the law, and negatively impacted the development, economic prosperity and the situation of human rights. He added that good governance, combined with a transparent and accountable public financial management system, constituted a very important mechanism in fighting against corruption. All of those things together comprised important steps forward in promoting and enhancing a stable, predictable and attractive environment for foreign investments, as well as for mobilizing all possible domestic resources.
YERZHAN KAZYKHANOV (Kazakhstan), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), said the global drug problem continued to be a serious challenge, and its growth was closely linked to illegal immigration. The international community's efforts were not sufficient. United Nations anti-drug programmes must be strengthened, he said. He welcomed the progress achieved in overcoming drug dependency worldwide, as noted in the Secretary-General's report, and said he would study in detail its recommendations. The CIS was implementing coordinated measures in that regard, through the CIS Anti-Narcotic Centre and the creation of the Central Asian Regional Coordination Centre for Countering Narcotic Drugs. CIS States were exchanging information, conducing research and providing assistance to counteract the drug trade. Further, the CIS had approved a 2005-2007 programme for illegal drugs, psychotropic substances and their precursors.
He fully supported the Secretary-General's report that stated that Afghanistan's security was a serious concern for the international community. The so-called "northern route" for transport of Afghan drugs through Russia to CIS States and on to Europe required greater attention. Most heroin seized in CIS countries was from Afghanistan, he said, stressing the need for efforts to secure an anti-narcotic belt around Afghanistan and to end transit of drugs through neighbouring countries. He called upon the United Nations to enhance its work to resolve the Afghan situation through assistance to that country.
IFTEKHAR AHMED CHOWDHURY (Bangladesh) said transnational crime was a threat to all, and was often interconnected with the abuse, as well as the trafficking, of drugs, illicit arms trade, trafficking in persons, corruption and various illegal trades. It was a serious threat to development, peace and security. His Government's commitment to combat transnational crime was unflinching and, at the national level, it had taken adequate measures for the prevention of all forms of crime, including through legislative arrangements to clamp down on criminal activities. It also condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and had ratified 12 conventions on the issue.
Trafficking in persons also remained a major concern for his country and, in addition to ratifying the three major United Nations drug conventions, his Government had concluded a number of bilateral agreements. On the domestic front, it had also enacted the necessary laws and rules to counter drug trafficking and local drug trades. Welcoming the outcome of the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, he said it was necessary to take coordinated measures to implement the decisions and recommendations of the Bangkok Declaration. Furthermore, the United Nations should deepen its partnership with regional efforts in combating organized crimes and drugs. Funding and technical cooperation for developing countries were also necessary. Member States must work together to fight against those global threats in order to ensure peace and prosperity for all.
VOLODYMYR PEKARCHUK (Ukraine) said combating crime and corruption was a top priority for Ukraine, and in that regard the country had made headway in improving its national capacity and had engaged in bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Ukraine had ratified the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and had begun the process of ratifying the United Nations Convention against Corruption. The second session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime in October should become a milestone for strengthening international cooperation in the global fight against crime. The Bangkok Declaration created ways to strengthen the criminal justice system, international cooperation for crime prevention, law enforcement and community involvement in crime prevention.
Ukraine was a signatory to 12 international legal instruments and was among the first countries to sign the International Convention for the Suppression of Nuclear Terrorism, he continued. He supported creation of the European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator and the adoption of the European Union programme to strengthen cooperation with partners. Regional cooperation to end terrorism in Georgia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and the Republic of Moldova (GUUAM) was a priority in Ukraine's regional strategy, he said, stressing that GUUAM should significantly contribute to the area's security and stability.
MOSTAFA ALAEI (Iran) said the threats of drugs and crime were multifaceted in nature, as they were interlinked with other emerging factors in a worldwide web of menaces, and constituted a global threat to all of humanity. While the major contributing factors were at work in different shapes everywhere in the world, problems such as poverty, underdevelopment, ineffective law enforcement and a weak judiciary might be found more responsible for the spread of drugs and crime in some societies. Keeping with the dynamics of a given region, Member States were driven to develop approaches, formulate strategies and put in place initiatives that directed collective efforts in ways that were fit for that region.
In Iran, for instance, the necessary focus was on border control, strengthening law enforcement and increasing police capacities, because the country was the main route for the transition of drugs to the west. International and regional cooperation was a crucial aspect in combating that problem. His Government had increased its control over its borders by increasing military and police operations, and had also started to cooperate with countries in the region. His Government had developed a specific framework with 35 countries and had received drug liaison officers in an attempt to enhance its international cooperation. Furthermore, it had taken various measures to protect the victims of society, such as drug addicts. Reaffirming his Government's commitment to enhance its cooperation with concerned and interested countries and international organizations on countering drugs, he said it also stood ready to contribute to all endeavours to combat the menace.
Ms. AL-SHAMISI (United Arab Emirates) said that despite international efforts to achieve the objectives set forth in the General Assembly's twentieth special session on drug trafficking, multilateral efforts and appropriate legal measures to address the dangerous phenomenon must be strengthened. All countries, not just developing countries, should bear responsibility in that fight. She called on developed nations to make good on their commitments to transfer technology and share communications know-how with developing nations. Sufficient human resources were also needed to eradicate drug crops and strengthen cooperation in the health sector regarding the legal and medical use of drugs. International strategies must take into account religious and social needs.
The United Arab Emirates had launched a strong national strategy to combat narcotic drug trafficking in accordance with the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, she said. That included training sessions for technicians; reinforcement of border and customs police in order to control narcotic drug transit; strengthened capacity of security forces to deal with drugs, chemical substances and precursors; and several legislative measures to end drug trafficking and money laundering. Her Government had also created several awareness campaigns to protect citizens against drug trafficking's negative impact on social well-being and public health, and was cooperating with INTERPOL and other organizations dealing with organized crime.
Mr. SAEED (Sudan) said Member States must step up efforts to promote the exchange of experiences, as well as coordinate and establish partnerships to put an end to crime and its devastating effects, particularly for the maintenance of international security. Welcoming the Eleventh Congress against Crime, he stressed the importance of respecting the United Nations Charter and national sovereignty. His Government was making considerable efforts to implement the various national and regional instruments, particularly regarding enhancing cooperation and other conventions on money-laundering, the illegal trade in human organs and international crime. It supported all initiatives made in those areas, both regionally and globally.
Welcoming progress in various areas on combating drugs, he said Member States must make greater international efforts to enhance cooperation and implement programmes, such as promoting all legal programmes to counteract drugs. While the problem of drugs for his country was not significant, it was, however, used as a transit country for drugs. As such, it was necessary to promote awareness-raising campaigns and enhance cooperation with civil society in order to put an end to that. It was also necessary to face up to problems in their early stages so that they did not become a major concern. The problem of drugs required international cooperation and the exchange of experiences in order to promote stability at the world level, he added.
FLORENCE CHENOWETH, Director of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Liaison Office with the United Nations, said her organization's work in international drug control had been primarily aimed at interventions in support of alternative development and alternative livelihoods. It was working closely with a number of partners, including the UNODC, to carry out those interventions, which were primarily in Afghanistan, other parts of Asia and Latin America. Alternative development experts had recognized the need for a strategic and coordinated approach to their work in order to develop a strategy to better integrate drug analysis and objectives into the work of multilateral, national and non-governmental development organizations. The FAO and other international organizations, such as the European Commission and the World Bank, had begun or increased their engagement in alternative development during recent years.
The European Commission intended to fund two international workshops to allow networking between stakeholders, the development of a coordinated effort, and the mainstreaming of action to counter narcotics. The workshops would be jointly hosted by the FAO and the German Technical Cooperation Agency and were expected to bring together a wide range of actors, such as representatives from ministries or organizations responsible for drug control, development ministries, drug-producing countries and international organizations. It was expected that the workshops would put countries in a better position to prepare their inputs for technical discussions on alternative development both in the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and the General Assembly, she added.
Introduction of Draft Resolutions
At the outset of today's afternoon meeting, ARIEL BOWEN (Jamaica) introduced three draft resolutions on behalf of the "Group of 77" developing countries and China. She said the text of the first resolution, on implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the twenty-fourth special session of the General Assembly (document A/C.3/60/L.5), had been streamlined and made shorter than last year's, but with the same essential elements, to reflect the status of implementation of the outcome of the World Summit objectives. The new elements included a new preambular paragraph that made reference to the forty-third session of the Commission for Social Development and a paragraph that highlighted commitments made in the Outcome Document adopted during the 10-year review of Copenhagen.
The draft resolution also included an operative paragraph that stressed the importance of employment and social integration; one that incorporated equity and reduction of inequities in the policies aimed at poverty reduction; and one that stressed the negative impact of globalization and noted that promotion of education and health-care access should be among the principles of social integration policies. Stressing that the text remained one of the most important proposals and contributions of her Group to the deliberations of the Committee under agenda item 61, she added that the Group counted on the support of all delegations in ensuring that the text was adopted by consensus, as was customary.
Introducing a draft resolution on follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond (document A/C.3/60/L.6), she said the resolution was intended to achieve the continued focus of the Assembly on the necessary follow-up to the anniversary; provide policy guidance on ways to strengthen family centred components of policies and programmes as part of an integrated approach to development; ensure that the mandated objectives of the Year received the attention they deserved at all levels; and underline the need for increased international cooperation in strengthening national capacities.
Stressing that her Group was conscious of divergent opinions concerning the family, she said it had deliberately oriented the resolution towards addressing processes and programmes rather than the more substantive issues on which there were no common positions. She added that she expected the support of all delegations in order to adopt the resolution by consensus.
Introducing a draft resolution on follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (document A/C.3/60/L.2), the representative of Jamaica said the resolution had been updated from last year to reflect recent developments concerning the implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action and recommendations in the Secretary-General's report. She expressed hope that the resolution would help to ensure that the momentum generated by the Madrid Summit to address critical issues affecting the aged and the invaluable contribution they could make to achieving the Millennium Development Goals would not lose ground.
In introducing a draft on follow-up to the implementation of the International Year of Volunteers (document A/C.3/60/L.7), Mr. CARDOSO (Brazil) highlighted the importance of volunteerism for achieving the millennium targets. He also stressed that strengthening dialogue between civil society, and the United Nations would help strengthen volunteerism.
The Committee then resumed its discussion of crime prevention and criminal justice, and of international drug control.
GUSTI AGUNG WESAKA PUJA (Indonesia) said the advent of information communications technology had made it possible for criminals operating in different countries to create global empires thriving on drug trafficking, human trafficking, money-laundering and corruption. Member States continued to experience difficulty in strategic information sharing, institutional capacity-building and mutual support in law enforcement, training and extradition measures. Indonesia was committed to such cooperation, which, as observed during the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held last April in Bangkok, was vital to dismantling transnational criminal and terrorist networks so that they did not impede development.
Indonesia was a signatory to the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its two Protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption, he said. Indonesia had taken steps to curb money-laundering and human trafficking. Thanks to those efforts it had been removed from the Non-Cooperative Countries and Territories list. It had partnered with Australia to set up the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation for combating transnational crime in the Asia-Pacific region, with particular emphasis on counter-terrorism. Indonesia had also implemented the 2002 Plan of Action to Combat Transnatioanl Crime of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which aimed to help build regional capacity and facilitate information and intelligence sharing.
ISAAC BIRUMA SEBULIME (Uganda) said the world was faced with new challenges and mutating crime. Commending the United Nations system for establishing international legal frameworks to fight organized crime, he said the world should have at the top of its agenda strengthened cooperation and enhanced mechanisms to curb what the High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change highlighted as the growing diversity, flexibility, low visibility and longevity of organized crime. Terrorism was also one of the greatest threats to security and development, and he expressed hope that the proposals of the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice would crystallize through international cooperation.
Welcoming the report on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, he said that the United Nations Regional Institute for Africa assisted the African continent in assessing criminality trends in the region and their impact on national development; in formulating policies and programmes; and in encouraging technical cooperation among African countries in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice.
He said the United Nations grant and contributions from Member States, development partners, the private sector and civil society had been crucial in enabling the Institute to undertake its mandate. The answer to how Africa could fight crime lay in the commitment of the international community, Member States and development partners to continue and increase support to regional and national initiatives for fighting and preventing crime. The monetary cost that was necessary to establish a comprehensive preventive framework should not be compromised, because otherwise the world would never be free from threats to peace and security.
PAULETTE BETHEL (Bahamas) said the Bahamas by virtue of its geographic location had become a transit point for narcotic drugs from sources of supply in the South to demand markets in the North. That was accompanied by the trade in illicit small arms and light weapons and had led to an increase in crime, particularly violent crime. That phenomenon posed a grave threat to socio-economic development, human rights and security, and required a collective response. The Bahamas was fully engaged in the international fight against narcotic drugs and was party to ally major international drug conventions.
International cooperation was one of the most important tools it that regard, she said, supporting the United Nations International Drug Control Programme's assistance to the Caribbean Task Force on Crime and Security. The Bahamas participated in regional mechanisms such as the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission, the Caribbean Task Force and the Caribbean Customs and Law Enforcement Council. It had matched its international commitments with national action establishing a comprehensive legislative regime to criminalize narcotic drugs and prevent money-laundering and had also earmarked 12 per cent of its national budget for national security, particularly for law enforcement and drug interdiction efforts.
OUNSENG VIXAY (Lao People's Democratic Republic) said that by May of this year, all 10 provinces and one special economic zone of his country had been declared free of opium production. That historical achievement marked the end of more than a century of opium production in the country. Apart from satisfactory results that had been recorded, particularly in the field of supply elimination, much still remained to be done in order to ensure the sustainable elimination of illicit crops. An additional main concern was the drug-demand reduction side, and his Government and the UNODC had jointly adopted a three-year programme strategy for the post-opium eradication scenario. Its main activities were focused on long-term, socio-economic development efforts aimed at improving the livelihoods and reducing the poverty levels of former opium poppy growers who used to depend on opium for cash incomes; comprehensive treatment and rehabilitation; preventive education; and adequate law enforcement efforts to interdict illicit drug producing and trafficking.
While having achieved significant success in eliminating drug production in rural areas, he said that the challenges of eradicating drug trafficking and related crime in the urban areas of his country were still enormous. His country continued to be used as an important transit point for traffickers of amphetamine-type stimulants, and the abuse of drugs continued to worsen. The abuse of synthetic drugs had now expanded from the northern and central parts to the southern provinces of the country, with damaging effects on its socio-economic development efforts. The drug demand-reduction programme was being developed in that part of the country, and the Government was also now taking necessary steps to improve its drug control legal framework and strengthen its drug law-enforcement capacity to reduce drug trafficking throughout the country. He added that the drug problem was international in nature and, therefore, required the cooperation of all States.
SERHAT AKSEN (Turkey) said human trafficking was of growing concern, and Turkey had taken the necessary legal and administrative steps to end it, including signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Human Trafficking, particularly of women and children. Turkey's Penal Code, which entered into force 1 June 2005, explicitly defined human trafficking and set a prison sentence of eight to 12 years and legal fines for violators. The 2002 National Task Force on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings had created shelters in various cities for trafficking victims; set up a 24-hour, multilingual victim helpline; and had established awareness training for law enforcement officials.
Due to its geographic location, Turkey was a transit point for heroin from South-West Asia sent to Europe and for precursor chemicals and synthetic drugs from Europe sent to the Middle East, he said. Turkey's strategy to combat that trade was based on the principle of cooperation, information exchange and expertise. Turkey had signed and ratified all relevant United Nations drug control treaties and had formed bilateral cooperation agreements with 66 countries. Turkey had also contributed to the work of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UNODC, the Paris Pact and the Pompidou Group. It was a member of the Group of Major Donors of the UNODC.
MARÍA ÁNGELA HOLGUÍN CUÉLLAR (Colombia) said that, for her Government, the illicit drug problem was of a global scope and, therefore, demanded a full application of the principle of shared responsibility to allow all to cooperate overcome its pervasive effects. All operational stages of the scourge, such as cultivation of illicit crops, production, processing, selling, demand, trafficking and distribution of narcotics and psychoactive substances, as well as the illicit transfer of precursor chemicals and all other related crimes, must be addressed under the principle of shared responsibility. The world drug problem was related to transnational organized crime and to terrorism, as it had become one of its sources of financing. That is why the world's war against terrorism and organized criminal activities, fighting production, trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs must be part of a more holistic global strategy to eliminate the supply of economic resources to criminal and terrorist organizations. Both for the United Nations and for the world, it was of utmost importance to acknowledge that, as stated in the Secretary-General's report, there were more links between terrorism and drug trafficking. By fighting transnational organized crime, Member States were also fighting the resources that financed terrorism.
For her Government, alternative development programmes were a key element for the sustainability of the eradication of illicit crops. Several United Nations resolutions called for cooperation by the international community to provide new and additional financial resources in order to carry out alternative development and environmental protection programmes. Her Government also believed that eradication could not be successful if it did not bring along a sustainable programme that included cost-based alternatives for peasants to stop producing illicit crops as their primary source of income. Furthermore, she said the world drug problem concerned all States, and all must reaffirm the interest and political will to eradicate the production and trafficking of illicit drugs and demand for them in order to ensure a better and healthier world for future generations.
STEPHAN DEJOIE (Haiti) said his country had become transit route for illegal drugs due to its geographic location and insufficient security to contain the drug flow. Haiti's transitional Government had adopted measures to counter that trend, including strengthening the Haitian National Policy Force, judicial reform and steps to combat corruption and money-laundering. It had also devised a three-pronged transition strategy to strengthen police institutions, which involved strengthening the police force structure, doubling the police force by 2006 and ensuring that 10 per cent of police officers were women, and increasing police professionalism to enhance the office of the director general. Further, a memorandum of understanding had been signed between Customs and the Society for Chemists to collectively curb the drug trade.
Haiti had also assigned an investigative magistrate to deal with money-laundering and had ratified the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, he said. However, the lack of precise data to track drug use made it difficult to deal with Haiti's growing drug problem. Various drug use surveys had been done in schools, and in October, officials had begun collecting such data. Results would be available in January. Haiti was able to carry out the study because of support by the Inter-American Commission on Drug Abuse.
ALHAJI BELLO LAFIAJI (Nigeria) said the escalation of organized crimes, including drug trafficking and money-laundering, was of serious concern to his Government, despite improvements in law enforcement. It also reinforced the Government's belief in the need for cooperation at national and international levels. There was a strong link between poverty, underdevelopment and crime, and success could be achieved through cooperation among States at both bilateral and multilateral levels. The emergence and growing incidence of synthetic drugs presented his country with new challenges, and he called for the urgent need to formulate proactive intervention programmes. Although Nigeria had yet to witness any significant incidence of trafficking of such drugs in its subregion, it was important to act swiftly to avoid a situation whereby Africa would be turned into a veritable ground for trans-shipment or illegal production of such drugs.
Consistent in its belief in international cooperation in drug control, his Government was party to all United Nations drug control convention. Recognizing the link between demand and supply reduction, his Government had intensified preventive and drug demand-reduction efforts. To effectively tackle money-laundering, the Government had instituted appropriate structures, including strengthening the country's financial investigation capacity and intensifying the inspection of banks. Regarding the issue of trafficking in persons, his Government had actively supported efforts at bilateral and multilateral levels to reduce the practice.
M.S. GILL (India) said the close nexus between international terrorism and transnational organized crime, illicit drugs, money-laundering, illegal arms transactions and the illegal movement of nuclear, chemical and biological materials posed a serious threat to international security and warranted careful monitoring. Narcotic drugs were a major source of funding for transnational and national criminals and terrorists. In the past several years, terrorism had claimed the lives of almost 80,000 people in India.
India had taken extensive measures to prevent and combat terrorism, he continued, noting that it had enacted anti-terrorism legislation and had entered into bilateral and regional arrangements. It had initiated the draft comprehensive convention on international terrorism and was in the process of ratifying the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. India's Money-Laundering Act further strengthened domestic legislation to deal with terrorism, organized crime and money laundering.
ARJUN BAHADUR THAPA (Nepal) said transnational crime organizations were threats to international peace, security and development, and had caused massive loss of life and property. Among them, terrorist groups had done the most damage. Such crimes continued to threaten the fabric of civilized society across the world. They not only disrupted the efforts of Member States towards sustainable development, peace and justice, but also misguided youth towards the vortex of the criminal world. While globalization was intended to promote international economic growth and development, it had also helped criminals to expand and deepen their reach and networks worldwide. His Government was committed to working together with other States to defeat the activities of transnational organized criminal groups.
Corruption had badly affected development efforts in developing and least developed countries, as it ate up the resources of nations and undermined their stability. His Government was also seriously concerned about the threat posed by narcotic drugs to public health, safety and the well-being of people, particularly children and youth. He called upon the international community and the United Nations to continue to provide financial and technical assistance to complement national efforts in the fight against illicit drugs. He also urged the international community to take coherent measures to implement the recommendations of the Bangkok Declaration, which would pave the way for strengthening international efforts towards preventing transnational organized crimes, and to extend its support to the least developed countries.
TUVIA ISRAELI (Israel) said regional and international cooperation against drug trafficking was necessary to prevent further violence. Israel was doing its part and was party to various conventions and treaties on narcotic drugs, including the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the 1988 Political Declaration of the General Assembly's special session on drug control. In 2004, Israel had become a member of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and was fully committed to the United Nations 1998-2008 plan to counter the world drug problem. In the Middle East and elsewhere, terrorist organizations utilized drug trafficking networks to execute their goals.
Countering that phenomenon required a concerted effort, including information and intelligence sharing, effective and collective resources use, and collaboration on enforcement, he continued. In that regard, Israel wished to partner more closely with its Arab neighbours and had been pursuing partnerships with other Middle Eastern countries for several years. He expressed hope that the regional meeting of the UNODC later this year would enhance such cooperation. Israel's Anti-Drug Authority, with the help of several ministries, had recently developed programmes to reduce drug-related violence in the country by as much as 40 per cent.
MU'TAZ HYASSAT (Jordan) said crime prevention and criminal justice were indispensable factors in social growth. His Government wanted to provide the greatest possible measure of stability and security to its people and to establish the sovereignty of the rule of law. It also wanted to establish crime prevention through awareness campaigns, in particular for the young and children, with the cooperation of civil society and all organizations interested in combating international crime. His Government was convinced that crime prevention, combating terrorism, money-laundering and organized crime required international cooperation. He expressed hope that the results achieved would be reflected in practical measures to contend with all forms of crime, and in particular the more recent forms.
In the context of combating corruption, his Government had adopted the most stringent measures to curb the scourge and prevent its nefarious effects on society. It had created an independent organ to coordinate the work of all relevant bodies. Regarding the fight against drug trafficking, his Government was gratified at the success achieved at every level, including preventive and curative efforts. It would pursue cooperation with forces at all levels to immunize and inform society, in particular young people, with the support of the national councils for youth and the family.
Ms. WARIF-HALABI (Syria) said urgent solutions were needed to eliminate the dangers that drugs placed on societies. Syria was party to all United Nations conventions on drug trafficking and had become a member of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs. It also had bilateral agreements concerning information exchange on drug trafficking with several neighbouring countries, including Cyprus, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan. It was implementing national policies and programmes to reduce demand, and research of all international drugs was to be put under strict control. Statistics revealed that of every million people, 127 were drug users. Syria had created rehabilitation and treatment centres for drug addicts, but her country was neither a producer nor a transit country for drugs.
Syria was party to many conventions to prevent crime, including the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its two Protocols, she continued. It had also signed the Convention against Corruption and recently had joined the Convention for the Suppression of Financing Terrorism. Syria was also working at the bilateral and regional levels on extradition concerns and the creation of international standards for money-laundering. Further, it was party to the Arab Convention on Legal Cooperation and the Arab Anti-terrorism Convention.
FERMÍN TORO JIMÉNEZ (Venezuela) said that, for his Government, the problem of drugs and drug trafficking was a crime against humanity affecting the weakest sectors of society. For that reason, it required a whole-hearted commitment by all international actors, in keeping with and based on a principle of shared responsibility with an integral and balanced approach. His Government was establishing domestic and international mechanisms, both bilateral and multilateral, that strengthened its capacity to respond immediately to the challenges raised by the very sensitive problem of drugs.
He stressed, however, that those responsible should take resolute action in countries that received drugs. There were two key moments in drug trafficking -- production and consumption -- and the main task was the responsibility of the great drug consumers, who lived in the first world, where social deterioration and the weakening of the family had significantly increased consumption of narcotics. It was important to point out, however, that no cooperation agreement against drug trafficking could be allowed to invalidate the principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter or in international law.
Noting with great concern the perverse relationship and impacts of drug consumption on social marginalization in areas such as education, security and health, among others, he said that, at the same time, it was necessary to draw attention to the consequences on the well-being, political stability and safety of States. For his Government, such a struggle was a matter of principle, and it would not change its conduct, because its mandate arose from social and ethical convictions. His Government believed that no State could arrogate to itself the right to create standards or guidelines to certify or decertify other States to combat drugs. Reaffirming his Government's commitment to resolutely continue to face the scourge of drugs, he added that consuming countries must also implement effective policies to control drug demand.
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