States Must Wield Global Instruments to Crush Human Trafficking, Drug Trade, Restore Peace, Social Order, Speakers Tell Third Committee
Human trafficking and illicit drugs were jeopardizing peace and social order by ravaging communities, spilling over borders and violating the human rights of its victims worldwide, delegates told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) as it concluded a two-day discussion on crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.
With international instruments in place to combat those scourges, States must effectively use those tools to protect their citizens from cross-border crimes, many speakers said. Painting a bleak picture of drug addiction as a major national challenge, Afghanistan’s representative pointed out that transnational organized crime, terrorism, narcotics and corruption had undermined development, stability, governance and the rule of law in his country, posing serious threats to society. Drug dependency, particularly among the most vulnerable populations, he said, remained a grave concern and drug use was rising nationwide. Suggesting that joint efforts be intensified to tackle those problems, he called upon the international community to further strengthen existing initiatives.
Some delegates told similar stories of waves of cross-border crimes jeopardizing the well-being of their citizens and leaving thousands of victims in their wake. A representative of Lao People’s Democratic Republic said his country was the origin, transit point and destination of human traffickers. In addition, the illicit drug trade and abuse had deeply affected socio-economic development, poverty eradication and the future of young people, he lamented.
Among the greatest crimes facing the international community, human trafficking had touched the lives of tens of thousands of women, men, children and their families every year, some speakers said. A delegate from the Philippines said transnational crime, corruption, illegal trade and trafficking were great concerns for her Government as citizens had become, due to their worldwide presence, victims and unwitting accomplices of perpetrators of crime.
In response to human trafficking, some delegates called for the full implementation of relevant plans of action, including developing adequate capacity-building technical assistance for law enforcement and judicial systems. Echoing a common thread that ran through the discussion, Georgia’s representative said that justice system reform was a priority to establish and enhance a functional democracy that upheld principles of transparency, accountability and the rule of law. For that reason, Georgia had supported strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice mechanisms as well as integrating those concerns into the post-2015 development agenda.
Also participating today were speakers representing El Salvador, Uganda, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Indonesia, Maldives, Eritrea, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Sudan.
The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Monday, 13 October to begin its consideration of the advancement of women.
The Third Committee met this morning to continue its consideration on of crime prevention and criminal justice, and on international drug control. For background information, see Press Release GA/SHC/4099 of 09 October.
RUBÉN IGNACIO ZAMORA RIVAS (El Salvador) said a national policy against human trafficking had been agreed upon and now provided a legal framework. Border immigration agents had been trained to detect trafficking victims, he added, while a network of traffickers operating in the capital had been recently dismantled and a safe space set up for girls and women who were trafficking victims. Turning to the world drug problem and related criminality, he said that the scope of crime needed systematic and ongoing monitoring. As those crimes affected development, no unilateral solution was possible. The General Assembly’s Special Session on the world drug problem scheduled for 2016 was an opportunity to assess what had been done and to agree on next steps. Success in combating drug trafficking required collective political will, international consensus, increased international cooperation and technical assistance using a sustained approach based on the principle of shared responsibility.
RICHARD NDUHUURA (Uganda) said crime prevention was “vital” for the transformation of society and for political, social and economic development. He welcomed the Secretary-General’s report on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) as well as its review process. Yet he lamented that a number of challenges were facing the Institute, which was being hosted by his country. They included a shortage of staff and funds to support substantive programmes, he said, adding that technical assistance was needed for the Institute to fulfil its mandate. Announcing his delegation’s coordination of a draft resolution on the Institute, he asked Member States for their support.
MARÍA SOLEDAD URRUELA ARENALES (Guatemala) said that despite progress and openness in multilateral meetings on the topics at hand, her country had been suffering from drug trafficking, which deeply affected the safety of its citizens. Emphasizing that current approaches to decrease drug use in Guatemala had failed, she stressed the importance of changing the paradigm to focus on long-lasting solutions. Yet, in spite of those challenges, Guatemala had shown a capacity to find effective ways to fight the use, trade and production of illicit drugs. Alongside neighbouring countries, she concluded, Guatemala had also encouraged a global and inclusive debate on drugs in preparation for the 2016 special session.
TAMTA KUPRADZ (Georgia) said justice system reform was a priority for her country. At the national level, programmes had been implemented to build a system of legal aid services that, among other things, assisted socially disadvantaged citizens. Reforms were also being pursued to focus on the independence of judges, prosecution services and criminal code. Concluding, she said Georgia had developed its first stand-alone juvenile justice law, which aimed at fully incorporating the best interests of children.
ZAHIR TANIN (Afghanistan) said that transnational organized crime, terrorism, narcotics and corruption had undermined development, stability, governance and the rule of law in his country, posing serious threats to society. Drug dependency, particularly among the most vulnerable populations, remained a major challenge and drug use was rising across the country. Emphasizing a need for intensified joint efforts, he reiterated his country’s commitment to the fight against narcotics and illicit trafficking, and called on the international community to further strengthen existing initiatives, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Networking the Networks, Border Liaison Offices (BLO), Southern Trafficking Operational Plan (STOP), Joint Planning Cells (JPC) and the Joint Triangle Cooperation at Northern Trafficking Route (Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan-Tajikistan).
NURAN NIYAZALIEV (Kyrgyzstan) said his country was committed to strengthening regional and international cooperation against transnational crime, given the issue’s global nature. Human trafficking was also a global phenomenon and efforts needed to be further strengthened to protect the rights of victims. Turning to corruption, he said his country had developed a special law and national strategy to provide anti-corruption services to eradicate the scourge. He reiterated Kyrgyzstan’s commitment to dealing with drug-related issues, exemplified in its candidacy for the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
LIBRAN N. CABACTULAN (Philippines) said transnational crime, corruption, illegal trade and trafficking were concerns for the Government as citizens had become, due to their worldwide presence, victims and unwitting accomplices of perpetrators of crime. Protecting and assisting citizens had, therefore, become one of the main pillars of foreign policy, she added. Turning to cybercrime, she noted an increase in the use of information technology to abuse and exploit children. She urged international cooperation and technical assistance to combat those crimes as well as for trafficking endangered wildlife species.
NONA GAE LUNA (Indonesia) said that her country was committed to combating transnational crime, including illegal economic activities, drug trafficking, money laundering and environmental violations. The issue of international drug control remained a high priority for her country, she said, adding that it was important to use international cooperation to address the world’s drug problem. Among preventive measures being taken, for its part, Indonesia had established a multi-stakeholder National Narcotics Board in 2009. Concluding, she said that the spread of terrorism should be eliminated through the full implementation of the UN Counter-terrorism Strategy.
AHMED SAREER (Maldives) said his country was at risk of becoming a transit State for transnational crimes, such as human and drug trafficking. As an archipelago of scattered islands at the intersection of several maritime trade routes, Maldives was vulnerable to the pervasive international drug trade. The country’s law enforcement agencies had regularly coordinated with international partners and inter-agency networks. The Government had also introduced an anti-piracy bill in Parliament and was building its capacity in that regard. In closing, he said Maldives was party to the United Nations Convention against Corruption and was currently identifying gaps in its national legislature.
AMANUEL GIORGIO (Eritrea) said the crime mostly affecting his country was human trafficking, especially of young people. To address that issue, the Government had organized awareness-raising campaigns and counselling, and efforts had also been made to dismantle organized crime networks. In addition, cooperation with neighbouring countries had been forged with the aim of bringing criminals to justice. To further deal with such crime, he called for coordination and cooperation among origin, transit and destination countries.
TARAS KAIUK (Ukraine) expressed concern over the links between organized crime, drugs, money laundering and terrorism, as they posed challenges to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. He also commended UNODC for tackling new challenges to the criminal justice system, such as cybercrime. Human trafficking was one of the greatest crimes facing the international community, he said, calling for the full implementation of relevant plans of action, as well as adequate capacity-building technical assistance for law enforcement and judicial systems.
ENASS AL-SHAHWAN (Saudi Arabia) said it was a common responsibility for all actors to combat transnational organized crimes with intensified international cooperation. She acknowledged the positive role of the United Nations, including the Organization’s funds, programmes and regional commissions, in combatting various types of crimes and providing technical training and assistance. For its part, her Government had ratified several conventions to prohibit drug trafficking and had taken a number of measures to that end.
MAYTHONG THAMMAVONGSA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic) aligning his country with a statement made by Malaysia on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that the issue of drugs and crime constituted a significant threat to peace and social order. Due to its geographical location, his country was the source of origin, transit and also destination for human trafficking and, therefore, national and regional mechanisms had been put in place. Continuing, he said drug trafficking and abuse had an enormous impact on socio-economic development, poverty eradication and the future of young people. Further, he linked poverty to insufficient and unsustainable alternative occupations available to the local community. In conclusion, he reiterated his country’s commitment to working with the international community to address drug problems and transnational crime to ensure sustainable development and improve the well-being and standard of living of its citizens.
SHAFAQ ABDALJALEEL JUBARTALLAH MOKWAR (Sudan) called for a unified formula to deal with terrorism that would allow the international community to address it. She also called for consolidated international assistance to deal with the dangers coming from drugs and crime. On human trafficking, she said that trilateral and bilateral agreements for border control had been made to impede the passage of criminals. Turning to drugs, she said that efforts had been made to raise awareness among students on the dangers of drug abuse. Combating crime needed ongoing support of the international community, she concluded.