DEVELOPMENT, PEACE AND SECURITY THREATENED BY INCREASED CRIME AND VIOLENCE, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD
DEVELOPMENT, PEACE AND SECURITY THREATENED BY INCREASED CRIME AND VIOLENCE, THIRD COMMITTEE TOLD19951017 Head of United Nations Drug Control Programme Urges 'Commensurate Response' from Global Community; Social Development Debate Concluded
Rising levels of crime and violence threatened the course of development, peace and security, the Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme, told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) this morning, as it began its consideration of crime and criminal justice and international drug control.
Crime as an impediment to sustainable development demanded a commensurate response by the international community, said Mr. Giacommeli. Coupled with the ever-expanding scourge of international narcotics trafficking and the use of illegal drugs, those problems constituted a threat to global security.
The representative of Canada, speaking also for Australia and New Zealand, said the injuries and deaths caused by criminal activities, the number of suicides by firearms and suffering resulting from accidents were a serious problem that justified greater gun controls.
Speaking on behalf of the Rio Group, the representative of Ecuador said the struggle against drugs needed to be global; he called for a renewed international commitment to cooperate in eliminating the demand, production, supply and illicit distribution of drugs.
The problem of drugs should be addressed from the standpoint of reducing both supply and demand, the representative of Malaysia said. Compulsory and effective treatment of drug addicts could reduce the demand for illicit drugs.
The representative of Peru said national strategies such as deactivating networks of drug traffickers, increased participation of the armed forces and the implementation of related legislation had reduced the price of the coca leaf by 700 per cent.
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The Chairman of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, F. Mayrhofer-Grunbuhel, also spoke.
Statements on crime and criminal justice, as well as international drug control were also made by the representatives of Mexico and Indonesia.
The Committee today also concluded its consideration of questions related to social development. Statements on that item were made by the representatives of Iraq, Morocco, Guinea and Saudi Arabia.
The Committee will meet again at 10 a.m., tomorrow, 18 October, to continue its consideration of crime prevention and criminal justice as well as international drug control.
Committee Work Programme
The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to conclude its discussion on social development questions.
It had before it an interim report on the world social situation; a report on the preparations for the International Year of Older Persons in 1999; a mid-decade review in the struggle against illiteracy; a report on the International Year of the Family (1994); the World Programme of Action concerning disabled persons; a report on the monitoring of the implementation of the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; a note on the report of the 1995 World Youth Leaders' Conference; and a report of the 1995 World Summit for Social Development. (For background information on reports before the Committee, see Press Release GA/SHC/3301 of 12 October.)
The Committee was also to begin discussion of Crime and Criminal Justice, as well as issues related to drug control.
Under Crime and Criminal Justice, the Committee had before it a report of the Secretary-General on the African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders; the report of the Secretary-General on the implementation of the Naples Declaration and Global Action Plan against Organized Transnational Crime; and the report of the Secretary-General on the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders.
On international drug control, the Committee had before it the report by the Secretary-General on the implementation of resolution 48/12.
Also before the Committee was the Secretary-General's report (document A/50/432) on progress made in the implementation of General Assembly resolution 49/158 on the strengthening of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
By that resolution, the Assembly, at its forty-ninth session, had recognized the direct relevance of crime prevention and criminal justice to sustained development, stability, security and improved quality of life and the urgent need to increase technical cooperation activities to assist countries, especially developing countries and those in transition, in translating United Nations policy guidelines into practice and to improve regional, interregional and international cooperation and coordination of activities aimed at combating crime. The Assembly reaffirmed the importance of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme and its crucial role in promoting international cooperation in that field.
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The Assembly also noted the considerable obstacles to the full and effective implementation of the crime-related programme activities, resulting from the increased workload of the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch of the Secretariat, owing to the lack of appropriate institutional capacity, and called for an appropriate share of the resources to be allocated to that high-priority United Nations programme. A number of specific steps were recommended towards that end.
In his report, the Secretary-General said organized crime had spread its tentacles over much of the globe, fed by corruption and the mercenary pursuit of riches, laundered through sophisticated means, especially when legitimate businesses had been infiltrated. Terrorist violence, usually by a fanatic fringe, sowed panic and fear. In some places, the entire economy has been subverted and the system destabilized by the impact of these deleterious activities, which posed a danger to the rule of law and democratic change.
Failure to give proper weight to the detrimental effects of crime had exacted a heavy human and material toll, undermining the gains of development, the quest for greater equity and the prospects for a better life, the report stated. It had also hampered United Nations peace-keeping and institution-building efforts, which could not succeed in situations of complete lawlessness, as recent experience had shown.
The report said that two world conferences and a session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held during the year in review had highlighted many of the concerns and proposed concrete directions for future work.
The fourth United Nations survey of crime trends and operations of criminal justice systems was largely completed during the year, and an interim report on the results was submitted to the Ninth Congress on Crime, as requested by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. That report contained information drawing on the situation in 100 countries of different regions that responded to the survey questionnaire, including the trends of violence (and dynamics of homicide) in the world. It also included an assessment of trends of transnational crime, especially organized crime, conducted in pursuance of Economic and Social Council resolution 1993/34 of 27 July 1993 and the Naples Global Action Plan to serve also as an early warning for appropriate counteraction.
The report said the gulf between the scope of the work to be done to make a measurable difference in the problems related to crime and the administration of justice afflicting most countries and the world at large had been a recurrent theme. There had been some improvement in the situation, but political and financial constraints have curtailed the payment of the needed funds, and donor fatigue, competing priorities and reliance on bilateral aid had reduced resources earmarked for technical assistance.
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The report further stated that support of crime and justice-related efforts, and of the United Nations programme, had acquired special relevance. Crime prevention and criminal justice expenditures could have a developmental significance and a multiplier effect far beyond the modest sums expended. That that fact was not yet fully appreciated was clear from the precarious situation of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Fund.
Some specific initiatives might be envisaged to expand the resource base, especially for technical cooperation activities, the report continued, including the donor "round-tables" convened for certain countries and problems, where crime and justice aspects could well be included. Donor conferences to consider specific project proposals in crime prevention and criminal justice for targeted countries or groups of countries were also planned.
The report said that although much had been done, much more remained to be done for improved crime prevention, greater justice and effective international cooperation against the mounting threat of transnational crime. The rising toll of violence linked to civil strife, terrorism and ordinary street crime, and the price exacted by organized, economic and environmental criminality, had jeopardized some of the gains of development and undermined future prospects. Security and justice were indispensable conditions for sustained development and human well-being, and for both national and world progress. A concerted effort was needed by the United Nations system and by governments to give practical effect to the pronouncements of the major meetings held during the past year. The United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme had the responsibility of providing leadership and services in this field.
The Secretary-General's report on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/50/375) reviews the activities of the Institute, recalling that in its decision 49/480, the General Assembly decided to redeploy $119,700 to enable the Institute to meet its administrative expenses through 1995.
According to the report, no contributions had been received from the member States for 1995. Assessed contributions were collected from only six member States in 1994, amounting to $69,612, the highest level of annual contributions received by the Institute since its inception. However, the total amount collected was still far below the expected level and the situation of the Institute continued to be very bleak.
The report said that if it were to continue to deliver its various services to member States of the African region, the Institute required a basic minimum of resources and should be able to operate on a more stable financial basis.
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The Secretary-General proposed that the General Assembly should authorize the appropriation of additional funds for the Institute for the biennium 1996-1997, to cover the expenses for a minimum of core staff and the basic requirements for the implementation of its programme. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) should also be encouraged to continue providing support to the Institute beyond 1995.
The Secretary-General's report on the implementation of the Naples Political Declaration and Global Action Plan against Organized Transnational Crime (document A/50/433), among other things, reviews action taken by the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice as well as other action taken against organized transnational crime.
It stated that the Naples Political Declaration and Global Action Plan had been adopted by the World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime held at Naples, Italy, from 21 to 23 November 1994, and was approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 49/159 of 23 December 1994. It identifies specific measures, to be further elaborated and implemented, in order to make action against organized crime more effective and to strengthen international cooperation.
According to the report, the Declaration and Action Programme recommends that continued priority be accorded, in the context of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, to strengthening international cooperation against organized transnational crime at all levels. It recommended that a higher priority be accorded to United Nations crime control activities by providing the programme with adequate resources. The report identifies certain aspects of implementation and action required to be taken by States and the United Nations, as well as modalities for such implementation.
The report further said that action against organized transnational crime would be more effective if it were collective. It was recognized that prevention and control of organized transnational crime must necessarily vary from State to State and region to region, and must be based on improvements in national capabilities, increased knowledge and shared experiences about organized criminal groups.
The report argued that effectiveness of global action would depend on how well coordinated it was, particularly since such action was bound to involve technical cooperation. It said that in spite of its difficulties, the elaboration of an international convention against organized transnational crime could bring a number of advantages.
The report added that the Secretary-General has begun translating into practice the priority attached to the fight against organized transnational crime in the context of the proposed programme budget for the biennium 1996- 1997. Regular budget resources could provide only a minimum framework and, as such, needed to be supplemented by extrabudgetary resources through voluntary contributions from States.
By a note (document A/50/373), the Secretary-General transmits the report of the Ninth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Cairo from 29 April to 10 May 1995 following
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General Assembly resolution 49/157 and Economic and Social Council decision 1995/211. The report said the Congress, the first to be held in Africa, was attended by more than 1,700 participants, including representatives from 138 countries, and featured a number of workshops dealing with the following topics: extradition and international cooperation; exchange of national experience and implementation of relevant principles in national legislation; mass media and crime prevention; urban policy and crime prevention; and prevention of violent crime.
According to the report, the Congress revealed a remarkable degree of consensus, especially on the need for strengthened, urgent action to counter the escalation of crime, particularly in its alarming new transnational forms and dimensions. The Congress adopted numerous recommendations and resolutions dealing with special concerns, which included international cooperation and practical assistance for strengthening the rule of law; development of United Nations model instruments, such as a convention or conventions against organized transnational crime; links between terrorist crimes and transnational organized crime; and practical implementation of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
On the issue of international drug control, a report by the Secretary- General (document A/50/461) reviews the implementation of General Assembly resolution 48/12 adopted at the high-level plenary meetings on international cooperation in drug control, held during the forty-eighth session of the General Assembly. The report stated that the resolution had underlined the role of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs as the principal United Nations policy-making body on drug control issues, and requested that, with the support of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) and in cooperation with the International Narcotics Control Board, it should monitor and evaluate action at the national and international level in implementing the international drug control instruments, with a view to identifying areas of satisfactory progress and weakness.
The Secretary-General's report said that at its thirty-seventh session, the Commission adopted a resolution in which it determined the methodology to be followed in the implementation of the General Assembly resolution. An ad hoc intergovernmental advisory group had met in Vienna twice in 1994.
At its thirty-eighth session, the Commission went on to adopt another resolution by which it invited States and relevant bodies to give due
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consideration to the recommendations contained in the report of its Executive Director on the implementation of the General Assembly resolution.
Statements on Social Development Questions
KHALED AL-HITTI (Iraq) said the issue of social development was important for every country including the developed ones. Positive multilateral cooperation was needed for the success of social development. International economic relations were at crossroads due to the existing imbalance between the States of the North and those of the South. In the South, technological process had brought problems such as the accumulation of wealth by a few.
He said many harmful and unilateral practices, such as United Nations Security Council economic sanctions, obstructed development. Those sanctions had a detrimental effect on the population of the affected State as well as on neighbouring countries. The unrestricted use of such sanctions indicated shortcomings in the United Nations Charter, which allowed some States to use sanctions as a political weapon and a means to deprive people of medicine, food and education.
The people of Iraq had been deprived of their right to development, and the Iraqi economic infrastructure could be destroyed by the economic sanctions, he went on. Those sanctions derogated the morality and integrity of the United Nations.
MOHAMED LAGHMARI (Morocco) said the processes of globalization and interdependence were constantly increasing. Not everyone benefited. Many developing countries were facing great unemployment; about 1.3 billion people worldwide lived in poverty.
On the situation of the elderly, he supported a society for all ages. The ageing of the population would soon become a world phenomenon. In his country a High Commission for the disabled had been established, seeking to sensitize public opinion and bring the disabled into society and provide them with job training. Islam greatly supported the well-being of the family as the basis of society, and condemned the abandonment of children. The family unit had not been helped by development. It was crucial to maintain the sacred nature of the family.
ISSA TRAORE (Guinea) said social development could be obtained only if all members of society had access to education, health and other such services. Special attention must be given to developing countries, especially those in Africa where adjustments had led to upheavals.
He called for appropriate programmes to be designed in support of the family, and for the young and the aged. He congratulated the Special
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Rapporteur for the remarkable work he had been doing since his appointment in 1994, particularly for his visit to countries in the African region.
The United Nations, he went on, should strengthen support for the developing countries to enable them to hold seminars and conferences on the question of equalization of opportunities for the disabled. Noting that the youth were often the victim of unemployment and other problems, he said Guinea had instituted programmes to support business ventures by young people. It had also begun an important programme for sustainable development in order to improve living conditions of the people.
ABDULLAH AL-DAKHAIL (Saudi Arabia) said the Islamic religion in his country ensured the protection of all sectors of society against any discrimination. To address the problems of the elderly, the poor and orphans, a solidarity programme had been established for which $9 billion had been invested. Furthermore, loans and direct assistance had been given to citizens in the areas of agriculture and housing. His Government had also given great importance to the development of medical centres and hospitals. As a result, malnutrition problems had decreased and the number of doctors and hospital beds had greatly increased. In addition there were special programmes for the disabled and mentally retarded.
The individual was the main focus of development. For that reason, his government had given great importance to education; teaching consumed 18 per cent of the national budget. Under Islam, duties of parents towards children and those of children towards parents were clearly defined.
In an introductory statement on crime and criminal justice, GIORGIO GIACOMELLI, Executive Director of the United Nations International Drug Control Programme and Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna, said that as the international community approached the next millennium, crime was becoming a world-wide scourge, a major threat to national and international security. With the trend toward regional integration and accelerated movement of people and goods across increasingly porous borders, the situation was bound to become even more unstable. Thus, incisive joint action was an absolute imperative.
He said the global political, economic and technological developments of the last decade had changed the nature of criminality. Rising levels of crime and violence exacted a heavy toll in different parts of the world and threatened the course of development, peace and security. Crime drew on new technological developments and complex organizational forms. It profited from gaps and differences in national legislation and lack of effective enforcement. Terrorism and other forms of violence claimed innocent lives and
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created a climate of fear and insecurity, jeopardizing internal stability and relations between states.
He said security was increasingly viewed not only as the absence of wars but, also, as the maintenance of social peace. The new concept of security, as emphasized by the Secretary-General, placed crime prevention and criminal justice on a par with other major national and international concerns.
Crime as an impediment to sustainable development, demanded a commensurate response by the international community, he went on. Coupled with the ever-expanding scourge of international narcotics trafficking and the use of illegal drugs, those problems constituted a threat to global security.
He announced that the Secretary-General, on the basis of a recommendation of the General Assembly, had proposed that the Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Branch be upgraded to a division. That proposal included the addition of two junior-level posts in a unit which at the moment had 14 professionals.
He said the United Nations Crime Prevention Programme had striven to effectively implement the mandate given to it by the Member States. It was increasingly being asked to take on new functions and responsibilities which were not envisaged when the Branch was established and which the minimal budget resources and extra-budgetary funds allocated to it could not adequately cover. Member States had to go a step further and translate statements into tangible political and financial support.
F. MAYRHOFER-GRUNBUHEL, Chairman of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, said the United Nations Congress for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders should be used as a forum for exchanging views, identifying emerging trends and providing advice to the Commission. The exchange of expertise had been demonstrated by the research workshops of the Congress.
The new format at the Ninth Congress, in Cairo this year, had been a breakthrough in the way such United Nations conferences were normally organized. The smaller number of resolutions, in comparison to the Eighth Congress, had shown the trend toward "a more practical process of learning on all sides". A few further improvements were needed, such as providing for a high-level segment in order to give a forum to Ministers of Justice and the Interior so that the rest of the Congress could concentrate on the task it was assigned.
During the fourth session of the Commission, he continued, an extensive debate had dealt with the Commission's working methods. It had specifically dealt with the frustration felt by some delegates because of initiatives
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discussed too late to allow for adequate consultation within national Governments. Lack of adequate information given on the ratification of the proposals had also been discussed.
United Nations efforts to promote democracy and protect human rights could not succeed without adequate attention to crime prevention and criminal justice, he emphasized.
EMILIO IZQUIERDO (Ecuador), also speaking for the Rio Group, said the Group had realized the growing problem of drugs. Substantial financial resources had been allocated in those countries to fight the problem of drugs and related problems, such as money-laundering and the traffic of chemicals related to the manufacturing of those drugs.
During a Summit that took place last September in Quito, Heads of State of the Rio Group had committed themselves to fighting illicit drug production and traffic. However, the struggle against drugs needed to be global. Greater world cooperation to eliminate the demand, production, supply and illicit distribution of drugs was imperative. A renewed commitment from the international community was essential. Negotiations with representatives of other regions were underway.
MIGUEL BARRETO (Peru) said the effective implementation of agreements depended, in great part, on the effectiveness of the United Nations system. Periodic recommendations on the problem were needed as well as concrete commitments by the international community.
His Government had struggled against the drug problem by de-activating networks of drug traffickers, and by increasing the participation of the armed forces in fighting the problem. Also, related legislation had been implemented. The production of coca and amapola as well as money laundering were now punishable by life imprisonment. The national strategy against the problem of drugs had reduced the price of the coca leaf by 700 per cent.
Implementation of crop substitution programmes was imperative, he added. It was necessary to consider the economic and social practices that induced the first link in the chain. Instruments had already been approved for cooperation.
MANUEL TELLO (Mexico) said that never before had States expended such economic and human resources in combating the scourge of drugs. Huge areas had been destroyed, numerous laboratories dismantled and thousands of people punished in the fight against drugs. At the same time, the huge power of the drug traffickers had continued to increase. Efforts at combating drugs were diminished because of the changing tactics used by the drug dealers. Various United Nations resolutions in the last few years indicated the international community's concern in that area.
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In order to stop the criminal organizations devoted to drug trafficking from evading the law, it was necessary to gradually implement the strategies against drugs, he continued. It was essential to establish new international consensus on the fight against drugs. There must be a discussion on ways of effectively facing the new problems that were arising.
The President of Mexico had proposed an international conference to evaluate the status of current international efforts at fighting the drug problem, and to that end Mexico had begun a dialogue with the countries concerned. He said Mexico was taking firm and far-reaching steps to eradicate the drug problem in its area, but individual action was not enough.
KERRY BUCK (Canada), speaking also on for Australia and New Zealand, said that the Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders held in Cairo four months ago had fulfilled its role as a forum for the exchange of information and the identification of new trends. The holding of workshops on issues of current interest greatly contributed to the practical orientation of the Congress.
She said that to help the Commission on Crime in carrying out and determining its priorities, information must be provided to it, in accordance with the plan for strategic management adopted at its first session.
In the face of severe budget constraints, the United Nations had to focus on key objectives and increase efficiency in order to identify and protect priority programmes. Canada, Australia and New Zealand would support the reallocation of sufficient resources to the crime prevention and criminal justice programme.
She said the World Ministerial Conference on Organized Transnational Crime, held in November 1994 in Naples, Italy, had provided an opportunity for countries to share their national experiences. It sent a strong signal to organized crime that the international community was firmly committed to putting a halt to the damage done to its economies and societies.
On gun control, she said the misuse of firearms was both a crime and a public health and safety problem. Besides the injuries and deaths caused by criminal activities, the number of suicides by firearms and the suffering resulting from accidents were also a serious problem that justified greater controls.
ESTI ANDAYANI (Indonesia) said the international community had made great strides in its fight against drug-related problems as demonstrated at recent world conferences. In many countries, particularly the developing ones, there was a significant need for technical assistance and for advisory services, both in law enforcement and in the treatment of offenders. International cooperation must be undertaken with a view to enhancing the
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national capacities of countries, particularly the developing ones. An international data network system on traffic and related matters -- with a reliable network at national levels -- was necessary. Repressive measures undertaken by the criminal justice system should be implemented, together with comprehensive and integrated measures that included social policies aimed at finding out the root causes of crime.
RUHANIE AHMAD (Malaysia) said that the war against drug abuse and illicit trafficking in drugs should be addressed in a comprehensive manner. The problem should be addressed from the standpoint of reducing supply and demand. It was imperative that proper drug rehabilitation programmes, including the reintegration of drug addicts back as productive members of society, should be given priority. There should also be greater international cooperation to monitor and prevent the movement of drugs.
Malaysia had embarked on a long-term strategy to combat the drug menace, initiating a primary programme of preventive education to create public awareness and community action to reduce the impact of the drug problem on society. It had also implemented a programme of treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts through early education and institutional treatment to reduce contamination and recidivism. Malaysia believed that confirmed drug addicts should be subjected to mandatory treatment and rehabilitation. It also believed that compulsory and effective treatment could reduce the demand for illicit drugs.
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