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Seventieth Session,
5th & 6th Meetings (AM & PM)
GA/SHC/4131

International Community Must Enhance, Bolster Cooperation, Putting Human Beings at Heart of Drug Policies, Speakers Tell Third Committee

States and United Nations agencies must strengthen cooperation in addressing transnational crimes, human trafficking and the world drug problem while putting human beings at the heart of solutions to combat those threats, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today during its general discussion of crime prevention, criminal justice and international drug control.

To truly tackle the scourge of drug trafficking and the havoc it wreaked on communities and vulnerable groups worldwide, speakers called for collective, innovative approaches to stamp out what had become a persistent global health issue.  Addressing it required comprehensive and balanced measures focusing not only on repression, but also on prevention, support to the victims, rehabilitation of drug users and protection of the most marginalized, speakers said.

Kenya’s “fight-back” strategies had not been very successful, said that country’s representative, who called for the global community’s cooperation in seeking sustainable solutions to deal with drug trafficking and addiction.  Indeed, like many of the more than 50 delegates who addressed the Committee, she said drugs and transnational crime were ravaging national and regional social, economic and political development.  For Kenya, the inflow of illicit drugs destined for Europe from Asia was destroying youth and had deleterious effects on the country’s economic and social stability, she said.

Contributing to a range of suggestions to combat illicit drug use and trade, Thailand’s delegate recommended alternative development as one of the best long‑term and people-centred approaches.  Other speakers shared efforts they were making to remedy drug-related challenges.  Representatives of Brazil and the European Union opposed the use of the death penalty for drug-related crimes.  Some delegates highlighted their Governments’ special rehabilitation programmes for incarcerated drug users or alternative crop production to poppy farmers.

Echoing a common view, the representative of Ecuador, speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, emphasized the need to promote administrative and legislative measures in the field of health, education and social inclusion to prevent drug abuse.  Angola’s delegate, speaking for the Southern African Development Community, said authorities in her region had been gaining better control over “the burden of crime”, however, drug trafficking represented a grave threat to prosperity and the future of youth.  Reflecting the view of several speakers, she said youth were a large part of the solution, and efforts would be redoubled to protect the region’s young people from drug abuse, violence and crime.

Speakers also raised concerns about that transnational crime had been amplified by cybertechnology and had affected the fabric of social development of many countries.  Responses required enhanced regional and international cooperation, many delegates stated.  Qatar’s representative underlined the importance of exchanging information, legal assistance and conducting joint investigations.  Although the support provided by the United Nations Organization for Drugs and Crime was highly valued, speakers called for better cooperation among United Nations agencies as well.

Many delegates welcomed the upcoming General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem, to be held in April 2016, with some expressing hope that a bold outcome document would, alongside the new 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, guide States in their efforts to improve the quality of life of their citizens.  Encapsulating a view raised during the discussion, the representative of Jamaica, speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community, said that the special session should be a moment to assess the current strategy and priorities and to set out a pathway for responding to emerging realities that were facing nations.

Also speaking today were representatives of Singapore (also for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Kazakhstan (for the Commonwealth of Independent States), Egypt, Colombia, Morocco, Israel, Mexico, Peru, Italy, United States, Liechtenstein, Japan, Syria, Cuba, Thailand, Algeria, Russian Federation, Kenya, Guatemala, Belarus, Iraq, Turkey, India, Iran, Pakistan, Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, China, Eritrea, Bolivia, El Salvador, Sudan, Tajikistan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Maldives, Nigeria, Philippines, Oman, Indonesia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Cameroon, Costa Rica and Uruguay, as well as the Holy See.

The Third Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Friday, 9 October, to conclude its consideration of crime prevention and criminal justice and international drug control.

Background

The Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) met this morning to begin its general discussion on crime prevention and criminal justice and on international drug control.  Before it were reports of the Secretary-General on the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (document A/70/90-E/2015/81); action against gender-related killing of women and girls (document A/70/93); implementation of the mandates of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme, with particular reference to the technical cooperation activities of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (document A/70/99); improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons (document A/70/94); and on the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (document A/70/121).  It also would consider a note by the Secretary-General on crime prevention and criminal justice (document A/70/407).

On international drug control, the Committee had before it a note by the Secretary-General on the report on the progress made by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in preparation for the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem to be held in 2016 (document A/70/87-E/2015/79) and a report of the Secretary-General on international cooperation against the world drug problem (document A/70/98).

Statements

COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica), on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), drew a link between human rights and development on the one hand, and crime prevention and the world drug problem on the other.  CARICOM member States had a long history of principled justice systems, but in many cases were overburdened and often lacked resources to be fully efficient.  International cooperation was important in order to strengthen and develop national capacity in the justice sector, as agreed in the Doha Declaration at the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held in Doha, Qatar, in April.  CARICOM had benefited significantly from cooperation with key international partners, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in countering illegal activities and reducing their impact on the Caribbean region.

The Community looked forward to the special session of the General Assembly on the world drug problem, to be convened in April 2016, he continued.  Since no CARICOM member State was represented in Vienna, headquarters of UNODC, the Office and the Commission on Narcotic Drugs must make every efforts to ensure that everyone was aware of preparations for the special session, including the scheduled negotiations for its outcome document.  The world drug problem was not only a challenge for Latin America, the Caribbean, Central Asia or Europe; it was in fact a “world” drug problem.  The special session should be a moment to assess the current strategy and priorities and to set out a pathway for responding to emerging realities that were facing nations.

KAREN TAN (Singapore), speaking on behalf of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said globalization, technological advancements and the increasing cross-border mobility of people and resources had broadened the scope and complexity of transnational crime.  The international and regional drug situation continued to be challenging, with rising global production and use of illicit drugs.  Opium poppy cultivation worldwide had risen to record levels, with increases in global seizures of heroin, cannabis and methamphetamines.  Unfortunately, technology had enabled drug transactions to occur online anonymously, posing a major obstacle to tracing those involved.  Enhanced regional and international cooperation were required to effectively combat those scourges.

The Association’s leaders were fully committed to intensifying concerted efforts to realize the goal of a drug-free ASEAN community, maintaining a zero‑tolerance approach.  Accordingly, ASEAN had intensified anti-drug trafficking operations and created new platforms.  Pointing to the ASEAN Airport Interdiction Task Force and the ASEAN Narcotics Coordination Centre, she said those initiatives had successfully disrupted drug syndicate operations, and improved coordination and information flows between law enforcement agencies in the region.

CHARLES WHITELEY, of the European Union Delegation, addressed the tragedy that had befallen migrants who had been trying to cross the Mediterranean in recent months.  Time and again, smugglers had been putting migrants at risk and the situation in the Mediterranean was an example of how international organized crime could destabilize a region and put the basic rights and lives of thousands of people at risk.  The European Union had launched in June a naval operation with a mandate to disrupt the business model of smuggling and trafficking networks.  Since 7 October, the operation could target vessels suspected of involvement in human trafficking, in line with international law.  “Trafficking in human beings is a multibillion-dollar business,” he said.  “Millions of victims today are exploited, often in very serious conditions, which are being driven by profits and demand.”  Greater cooperation was needed to eradicate demand for all forms of exploitation, protect trafficking victims, seize profits and to bring perpetrators to justice.

With regard to the death penalty, the European Union stood by its principled position against its use in all circumstances.  Concerned that a number of States continue to apply the death penalty to drug-related crimes, the bloc would continue to advocate for the effective implementation of a moratorium on executions as a first step towards full abolition of the practice.  The European Union fully supported the Mandela Rules, and regretted poor conditions and overcrowding in prisons in many States.  Turning to other concerns, he said global efforts had led to “a significant decline” in piracy of Somalia, but that scourge alongside armed robbery at sea continued to be a security threat on key international shipping routes.  The threat of piracy was also a continuing threat of coast of West Africa, he said, adding that the European Union was supporting States in the region to enhance the safety of maritime routes in the Gulf of Guinea.

LUIS XAVIER OÑA GARCÉS (Ecuador), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the group’s recently adopted Special Declaration on the world drug problem recognized the implications the scourge placed on public health, safety and well-being of humanity, particularly children and adolescents.  The drug problem also undermined the rule of law, democratic institutions and political stability and affected development.  Further, the Declaration emphasized States’ common, shared responsibility to address the drug problem through a comprehensive, balanced and multidisciplinary approach based on full respect for human rights.  Underlining the importance of strengthening international cooperation and exchange of good practices, he emphasized the need to promote administrative and legislative measures in the field of health, education and social inclusion to prevent drug abuse.  The United Nations framework should continue to be developed through measures focusing on the human being, protection of the environment and on prevention.

Continuing, he said policies on demand reduction must include a gender perspective and give attention to vulnerable groups, public health and crime prevention while prioritizing prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social reintegration.  CELAC’s first ministerial meeting on the world drug problem, held in May 2014, had been important for strengthening regional cooperation with an integrated and balanced approach.  The second ministerial meeting, held in May 2015, had focused on the importance of bolstering technical and political bodies and of having a consensus-based vision at the General Assembly’s special session in 2016.  To conclude, CELAC reiterated its call upon the international community to strengthen international cooperation on the world drug problem.

KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan), speaking on behalf of the Commonwealth of Independent States, said fighting economic crime was a priority, with member countries taking joint measures to address the cross-border illicit drug trade.  To combat corruption, money-laundering should be countered at national levels.  At the international level, efforts and actions should cooperate with relevant United Nations agencies, including UNODC.  Going forward, he welcomed the fact that the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda included references to combatting organized crime.

Stamping out all forms of organized crime, including trafficking in persons, had to be a priority for international cooperation in the field of development, he continued.  Existing actions in that regard included the establishment of a centre in Minsk that hosted trainings for law enforcement officers from Commonwealth of Independent States member States.  To bolster those efforts, the work of the United Nations in combating organized crime, and particularly drug-related crimes in Afghanistan, was highly welcomed.

FATMAAALZAHRAA HASSAN ABDELAZIZ ABDELKAWY (Egypt) said terrorism was a plague that did not differentiate between developing and developed countries.  Foreign terrorist fighters came from different societies, but they were not bound together by any religious faith.  International cooperation had to be intensified to eliminate support being given to terrorist groups.  Combating trafficking in cultural property was a priority for Egypt, which looked forward to more technical support from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and international partners to recover stolen objects and repair damage to cultural heritage monuments.  She also urged the international community to help restore looted Egyptian antiquities in accordance with the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

MIGUEL CAMILO RUIZ BLANCO (Colombia) described the national commitment to continue undertaking efforts to contain drug manufacturing and trafficking and to dismantle cartels.  Repression was, however, not sufficient and a more balanced way was required, placing people at the centre of States’ actions.  Many drug users continued to die every day from overdoses or of HIV/ AIDS.  Such deaths were preventable, he said.  Alternative crop production and development had been a cornerstone of Colombia’s measures to address the drug problem, he said, pointing out the Government’s recently adopted comprehensive strategy to tackle the drug problem.  That approach addressed, among other things, prevention, repression and reintegration dimensions.

OMAR RABI (Morocco) said drugs had affected the most vulnerable and marginalized segments of the population.  They undermined security and affected entire societies.  Combating trafficking had to focus on several aspects, including on reducing supply and demand for illicit drugs, sharing information strategies and establishing measures for alternative approaches.  The emergence of new behaviours with regard to drug-related crime required the international community to adopt equally new strategies and measures.  For its part, Morocco was making efforts to combat cannabis trafficking and dismantle crop production.  Morocco had also strengthened its regional cooperation and its surveillance technologies to combat international drug trafficking.

ABDULLA YOUSIF ALMAAL (Qatar) acknowledged the importance of international cooperation in addressing transnational crime, which was one of the greatest challenges today.  Exchanging information, legal assistance and conducting joint investigations were basic ways to combat terrorism and organized crime.  Criminal groups today were better able to exploit institutional weaknesses and proceed with impunity, and with that in mind, Qatar had revised its criminal laws to bring them in harmony with international commitments.  The thirteenth Crime Congress held in Qatar in April was a major turning point for the global struggle against crime.  As part of its regional commitment, Qatar had launched an initiative for a donor conference in Kuwait on education and vocational training for young Syrian people.  With regard to other challenges, he said drugs were a real challenge and Qatar had been pursuing a national strategy to end that scourge.

DAVID ROET (Israel) said it was necessary to address the underlying reasons for drug use by concentrating on prevention, rehabilitation and the reintegration of drug users into society.  In his country, the Anti-Drug Authority worked to drive that multifaceted strategy and placed a particular emphasis on programmes addressing vulnerable populations, such as women and youth.  During the recent session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, a unanimously approved resolution had sought to ensure accessible treatment for children and youth affected by substance abuse.  In addition, he described Israel’s actions, including training programmes for Government and non-Government officials in developing countries, and new challenges, such as combatting the epidemic of psychoactive substances.  At the global level, he said:  “If we act together and if we embrace those suffering from addiction, no one will be left behind.”

BRUNO RIOS (Mexico) said comprehensive policies were key for the realization of sustainable development.  Despite efforts, the drug problem continued to be a great challenge to social development.  Clearly, the international drug control regime’s objective to protect the populations from the dangers of narcotics had not succeeded.  Indeed, in recent years, drugs had led to more victims than ever before.  The scourge had accentuated exclusion and weakened development efforts.  Moving ahead, he said, criminalizing or stigmatizing the most vulnerable had to be avoided.  On prevention initiatives, Mexico was committed to the implementation of the Doha Declaration.  During the Third Committee’s current session, his delegation would also table a draft resolution on the world drug problem, with the text including elements on human rights and development.  Mexico encouraged all delegations to engage in the negotiations of the draft text and in the preparation of the Assembly’s special session in 2016.

FRANCISCO TENYA HASEGAWA (Peru) underscored the value of an integrated and balanced approach.  For many years, Peru had felt the dreadful effects of drug trafficking and its link with terrorism, particular in poor areas.  With a national strategy in place, it had seen some positive results.  Alternative crop programmes had been promoted, enabling people an opportunity to live under the law and become part of the formal economy.  A net reduction in coca production and an increase in seizures of cocaine had been seen in 2014.  With international cooperation, Peru had sought to reduce demand, control supply and offer sustained alternative development while dealing with money-laundering and encouraging international legal cooperation.  It was important to look at all components of international drug trafficking and not focus on just one component.

LUIGI MARINI (Italy), aligning with the European Union, said the Doha Declaration had been “a great step forward”, and there was growing attention within the United Nations system on the issue of organized crime, including a Security Council resolution on the link between organized crime and terrorism.  Turning to other concerns, he said the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners had set out principles that would serve as a point of reference for all stakeholders.

SERGIUS WAT (Singapore) said his country was vulnerable to the inflow of drugs and its associated ills.  Since drug abuse could quickly undermine society and turn Singapore into a regional transit hub for drugs, it was a key priority of the Government to ensure that the country remained a safe, secure and drug-free home for its people.  To achieve that, Singapore had a comprehensive approach, including preventive drug education, tough laws and effective enforcement.  Further, it structured rehabilitation programmes with strong community support to reintegrate drug offenders into the society.

LUIS ARREAGA (United States) said drug abuse and addiction knew no borders.  Drug addiction had once been considered a criminal matter, but, today, science had revealed that substance abuse was primarily a public health challenge.  Since it was clear that drugs could not be considered in a vacuum, a comprehensive approach was integral to successful criminal justice as a whole.  Without a fair, effective, humane and transparent criminal justice system, all efforts — including comprehensive global drug reform — would be impaired.  One step that could be taken was the final adoption of the revised United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, also known as the “Mandela Rules”.  Another major opportunity was the reaffirmation of the critical role of international conventions and the implementation of their mandates.  As the world prepared for the General Assembly’s special session, it was crucial to ensure that the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs received all the support it needed from Member States in order to focus on developing concrete operational objectives.

KATHRIN NESCHER (Liechtenstein) said her country had fully complied with international standards, and had an effective system in place to prevent and detect the transfer of the proceeds of corruption and other illicit financial flows.  The Government continued to assign a substantive part of its international cooperation and development assistance efforts on capacity-building to fight corruption and to recover stolen assets in ongoing partnerships with UNODC, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.  With regards to the world drug problem, she highlighted that a collective response needed to be more balanced, comprehensive and evidence-based.  Particular efforts, therefore, should focus on prevention, harm reduction, access to treatment and the social integration of drug users.

JUN SAITO (Japan) said crime prevention and criminal justice were essential components to creating a society in which every person could live with a sense of safety.  The Doha Declaration had provided a deeper point of view for crime prevention and Japan, as the host of the fourteenth Crime Congress, to be held in 2020, believed that Member States must prioritize prevention efforts to tackle transnational organized crime and terrorism.  For its part, Japan actively cooperated with UNODC and attached great importance to the activities of the Financial Action Task Force.  As for the growing concerns over the trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, the international community had a shared responsibility to eradicate such acts and address other trends, including cybercrime.

AMJAD QASSEM AGHA (Syria) said his country was party to most international instruments for combatting trafficking in persons and organized crime.  For its part, Syria had taken steps to protect victims of human trafficking.  Currently, terrorist extremist groups and criminal gangs, assisted by a number of States, had been committing all types of crimes against the population in Syria, particularly affecting women and children, and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS) had targeted Syrian and Iraqi cultural heritages.  Calling on all States to adopt measures, in accordance with Security Council resolutions, to stop those criminals and jihadists, he said their activities had led to cross-border crimes affecting those who were attempting to flee terrorist violence.  In conclusion, he said the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had appealed to all countries to protect the civilians, particularly women and girls, from those crimes.

DAYLENIS MORENO GUERRA (Cuba) said that since all countries were vulnerable to crime, terrorism, the illicit drug trade and human trafficking, international cooperation — in full compliance with States’ sovereignty — was essential.  Drug trafficking had had dire effects on societies, and the scourge had only intensified through cybertechnology.  The cost was tremendous, including wreaking havoc on society and fostering social exclusion.  Drug abuse was a health issue and required social, prevention, health and reinsertion policies.  That approach was not new, she said, and did not require any modification of the international legal framework on drug control.  The 2016 special session would be an important opportunity for States to share good practices.  Cuba had a zero-tolerance policy for trafficking drugs and persons.  Her country was also committed to continuing to combat transnational crime.

SOMPONG SUCHARITKUL (Thailand) said the connection between drug trafficking, organized crime and corruption had become more sophisticated and transnational, fuelling insecurity across the world.  In terms of combating drug trafficking, Thailand recommended alternative development as one of the best long-term and people-centred approaches in addressing abject poverty and the lack of opportunity, both of which are among the root causes of the drug problem.  Thailand supported the wide implementation of the United Nations standards and norms in criminal justice.  At the twenty-fourth session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Thailand had co-sponsored a revision of the Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.  The Economic and Social Council had approved the rules in a draft resolution that had been tabled for the Assembly’s current session, she said, requesting that Member States support its adoption, as it represented a significant step in improving the prisoners’ lives.

BAKHTA SELMA MANSOURI (Algeria) said tackling complex challenges posed by the world drug problem, corruption, money-laundering and terrorism was beyond the scope of individual States.  Rather, it required collective action of all Governments in coordination with relevant international organizations.  Her delegation had consistently supported preserving and strengthening the existing international drug control mechanisms and would continue to cooperate closely with the International Narcotics Control Board.  On the international fight against terrorism, she noted that the international community must confront such challenges through a united response.  She emphasized that the Global Counter‑Terrorism Strategy hinged on the conclusion of the proposed comprehensive convention on international terrorism.  She reiterated her delegation’s commitment to continue to promote the principles of dialogue, tolerance and reconciliation in combating the root causes of violent extremism and terrorism.

ELENA S. MUKHAMETZYANOVA (Russian Federation) said there had been an “unprecedented rise” in organized crime threats.  As such, her delegation believed in the international community working as one to address crime, with the United Nations playing a central, coordinating role.  Welcoming global action on trafficking in persons, she noted that more attention should be given to illegal trafficking in human organs.  As her country was preparing to host a meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, she hoped that delegations would be represented at a high political level.  With regard to drugs, the Russian Federation was particularly concerned about Afghanistan, where drug production needed to be put to an end as it represented a threat to international peace and stability.  More attention also had to be given to the growing threat of synthetic psychotropic substances, including in the field of monitoring the trafficking of those illicit drugs.

SUSAN W. MWANGI (Kenya) said corruption continued to be a national challenge that was having adverse effects on its development agenda.  The Government had established an independent ethics and anti-corruption commission with the mandate for combating and preventing that scourge.  To address transnational and emerging crimes, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions had set up specialized divisions and developed guidelines.  Kenya would continue to seek global and regional partnerships to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in conducting specialized prosecutions.  Further, the inflow of illicit drugs destined for Europe from Asia was destroying Kenyan youth and had deleterious effects on the country’s economic and social stability.  Noting that Kenya’s “fight-back” strategies had not been very successful, she called for the cooperation of the international community in seeking sustainable solutions to deal with drug trafficking and addiction.

ANA CRISTINA RODRÍGUEZ PINEDA (Guatemala) said repression policies were not sufficient to address the drug problem.  Huge efforts and resources were required from all States and responses had to address the expectations of populations.  An integrated approach at all levels was necessary to combat organized crime, money‑laundering and related violence, she said, emphasizing that measures and policies had to focus on the needs of the people.  The international community had to coordinate its efforts, share good practices and identify gaps.  The Assembly's special session would, therefore, constitute a great opportunity to address those issues and ensure that the respect and protection of human rights were considered in a cross-cutting approach to dealing with the drug problem.  UNODC could not be the only agency working on those issues.  Other bodies, including United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women), had to be included in coordinated efforts to tackle those problems more successfully.

LARYSA BELSKAYA (Belarus) said the 2030 Agenda was a good basis to take into account the necessity to combat crime in order to realize full development.  She called on States, United Nations agencies and other partners to coordinate their activities on the basis of the Assembly’s 2010 Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.  She also called for the implementation of General Assembly resolution 68/192 about the contributions on the implementation of the Plan of Action.  In that vein, Belarus would introduce a draft resolution during the current Third Committee session on improving international cooperation to combat human trafficking.  Moving to the world drug problem, she stressed that tackling drug trafficking was one of her Government’s main priorities.  In light of the upcoming special session, she hoped that attention would be paid to transit countries.

FIRAS AL-KHAQANI (Iraq) said terrorism was a scourge that knew no borders, targeting schools and temples and affecting all Iraqis regardless of age or gender.  “It kills, tortures, burns and uses human beings as commodities,” he said.  Cooperation between nations was crucial.  Corruption was another form of terrorism, he said, as it created despair and a lack of trust in State institutions.  For its part, Iraq was committed to the Convention against Corruption, and in cooperation with UNODC, had organized a training programme for Iraqi law enforcement officials.  Iraq would continue to tackle crime in all its forms, and it invited the international community to generously support its anti‑terrorism efforts.

MURAT UĞURLUOĞLU (Turkey) said that due to conflicts and humanitarian crises in the vicinity of his country, Turkey had intensified border protection measures to confront human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.  In that regard, all countries should exert joint efforts to address the problem.  The root causes of irregular migration, however, also needed to be addressed, he said, adding that “sustainable solutions to irregular migration can only be attained if ‘push factors’ are prevented”.  Turkey had become a safe refuge for more than 2 million Syrians, and had welcomed “with open arms” Syrian women and girls fleeing a brutal conflict and a regime that targeted its own people.  Turkey had had long experience in addressing terrorist threats and today, Da’esh was an overriding security threat alongside other groups, including the PKK.  The looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property called for an intensified coordinated international response.

ANA MABEL ALIPUI (Angola), speaking on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), said authorities in the region had been gaining better control over “the burden of crime”.  While human trafficking was a major concern, drug trafficking represented a graver threat.  Great importance was being placed on the Doha Declaration, which represented a high-level commitment to addressing the world drug problem.  Providing an overview of the region’s challenges, she said a rising drug problem was threatening prosperity and the future of youth.

Trafficking in persons, especially women and children, had also been growing into what amounted to “a new, sophisticated and aggressive form of slavery”, she said.  Clear and comprehensive legislation was needed, as well as better information and intelligence-sharing platforms.  Some countries still lacked the capacity to prevent and prosecute transnational threats like terrorism, cybercrime and financial crimes.  Youth were a large part of the solution, and efforts would be redoubled to protect the region’s young people from drug abuse, violence and crime.

MAYANK JOSHI (India) said transnational organized crime and the drug problem continued to jeopardize sustainable development, which aimed at achieving a safe, stable, peaceful and sustainable world.  While much had been done since the adoption of the UNODC Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, new challenges had emerged requiring a concerted and balanced response from the international community.  For its part, the Indian Government had attributed the highest priority to the issue and undertaken initiatives to curb the drug menace.  Policies included increased health services for better rehabilitation of addicts and greater awareness in schools and colleges against narcotic use.  India was a party to the United Nations conventions on organized crime and on corruption, and was a signatory to various instruments to combat money-laundering and terrorism financing.  Concluding, he noted that India was committed to working with the international community at all levels towards a world free of illicit drugs, terrorism, crimes against women, trafficking of persons and drugs, and illegal arms transactions.

ANTONIO DE AGUIAR PATRIOTA (Brazil) thanked the Government of Qatar for hosting the thirteenth Crime Congress, which had produced an outcome document that acknowledged the mutually reinforcing relationship between sustainable development and the rule of law, especially in light of the 2030 Agenda.  Efficient strategies for countering crime should rely on preventive measures.  Public policies aimed at eradicating poverty, improving education and health, empowering women and combating all forms of discrimination should be implemented in cooperation with civil society and were essential for crime prevention.  Welcoming the adoption of the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, he said the document now took into account the advancement of correctional science and the need to protect the rights of incarcerated people.  The Assembly’s 2016 special session would be a unique opportunity for a reflection about the world drug problem, and one of the key points of its outcome must be the improvement of drug use prevention policies through cross-cutting, multidisciplinary programmes that considered the perspective of vulnerable groups.  Concluding, he reiterated Brazil’s view that no crime warranted the application of the death penalty, including drug-related crimes.

REZA DEHGHANI (Iran) said armed narcotic smugglers had been responsible for the deaths of nearly 4,000 law enforcement officers.  Nevertheless, as a result of its drug-control policies, Iran had seized tons of illicit drugs.  In addition, harm reduction, treatment and rehabilitation services had been expanded in an attempt to reduce domestic drug demand.  It was unfortunate, however, that global illicit opium poppy cultivation in 2014 had reached its highest level since 1998, and was growing in Afghanistan “at an alarming rate”.  The international community had an obligation to support alternative livelihoods in Afghanistan and to extend technical and financial support to neighbouring countries, as the level of such support had so far been minimal.  A “venomous nexus” had emerged in the past several years between traffickers and terrorists, he said, calling for more resolute international action.

DIYAR KHAN (Pakistan) said his delegation was concerned about the steady rise in poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, which posed a direct challenge to transit countries in the region.  There was a close correlation between drug production, instability and the lack of alternative economic opportunities.  Drug cultivation had expanded in regions where the authorities faced armed groups.  It was, therefore, vital to re-establish Government control over the territories used for drug cultivation.  Pakistan had political will, trained personnel and an effective strategy to address the drug problem.  The country, however, needed enhanced cooperation from UNODC to overcome challenges, including the lack of latest equipment and forensic laboratories, and budgetary constraints.

BERNARDITO CLEOPAS AUZA, Permanent Observer of the Holy See, noted that Pope Francis, in his address to the General Assembly in September, had referred to narcotics trade as “systemic violence”, describing it as a conflict “silently killing millions of people”.  The Pope had underlined close links between drug trafficking and human trafficking, money-laundering, the arms trade and child exploitation, he said, adding that Pope John Paul II had referred to drug traffickers as “merchants of death”.  Families suffered due to drug addiction, which ultimately destabilized civil society, and law enforcement was critical in protecting them.  Human trafficking was also a serious crime that, despite agreements by the international community, still forced millions of people to “live in conditions akin to slavery”.  Concluding, he supported the Secretary-General’s report, called for increased prevention efforts and addressing factors that made people vulnerable to trafficking.

SUYAPA CARÍAS (Honduras), aligning with CELAC, said the implementation in her country of a comprehensive strategy on drugs had brought hope.  There had been a considerable reduction in homicide and related crimes, as well as the destruction of narcotics structures and the jailing of drug traffickers.  Yet, the challenge had remained monumental, she said, noting that her country had limited resources to confront traffickers.  Migrant flows from Central America to the United States were a tragic situation related to drug trafficking.  Honduras was keenly awaiting the General Assembly’s special session in 2016 and would spare no effort to rid its territory of the evil of drugs.

MILDRED GUZMĀN (Dominican Republic), endorsing statements made by the Group of 77 and CELAC, said a comprehensive approach was needed, taking into account the realities of the different countries affected.  Her country had a “micro-trafficking problem” on its territory.  Drug consumption was a matter of public health, rather than criminality, and so it was a challenge to expand treatment and support individuals recovering from drug abuse.  The Assembly’s 2016 special session would be a major step towards implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action.

MARÍA CLARISA GOLDRICK (Nicaragua) said given the current situation in the world, insecurity and violence had become a problem facing many countries.  For its part, Nicaragua had worked nationally to address the root causes and with regional and international partners to promote broader peace and security.  The Government had carried out several national policies and programmes to address drug trafficking and other forms of crime, with efforts including strengthening the family unit and providing opportunities for youth based on the principle of the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Government had chosen an alternative path in crime prevention and guaranteeing justice, he said.  In November, the country would, with UNDOC, launch the “Blue Heart” anti-trafficking campaign to raise awareness of human smuggling.  The overall goal of Nicaragua’s policies was to create a safe space conducive to sustainable development.

WU HAIWEN (China) said the recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development had incorporated elements of criminal justice, crime prevention and reduction, anti-corruption and drug control.  Member States should remain steadfast in the fight against corruption.  Further, he continued, the role of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols needed to be given full priority.  On drugs, he expressed appreciation for preparations being made by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs for the Assembly’s 2016 special session.  He hoped the gathering would result in a comprehensive and objective assessment of the implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and build consensus.  Concluding, he said it was necessary to help developing countries with capacity‑building in drug control efforts through financial assistance, technical cooperation and information sharing.

ZEBIB GEBREKIDAN (Eritrea), aligning with the Group of 77 and the African Group, applauded UNODC for its support to Member States in their efforts to counter transnational organized crime, corruption and terrorism, prevent crimes and to strengthen criminal justice systems.  Eritrea had placed the establishment of an effective criminal justice system at the centre of its nation-building agenda.  It had taken measures to improve peoples’ access to the national justice system through community courts and had recently set up new penal and civil codes, taking Eritrea’s international commitments into consideration.  The Government was continuing its efforts towards improving the prison system, including rehabilitation facilities.  As a country affected by crime and human trafficking, Eritrea, in collaboration with transit and destination countries, and regional and international bodies, had established legal, institutional and administrative frameworks to prevent its nationals from falling to the traps of criminal networks.  Eritrea was also implementing economic and political projects to provide opportunities for its youth.

INGRID SABJA (Bolivia) said her country had been employing the resources of its people to overcome the problem of drugs and “we have done better” than when the Drug Enforcement Agency of the United States was present.  A record decline in coca crops had been attained “without killing anybody”.  In the past eight years, cocaine seizures in Bolivia had tripled.  Despite tangible outcomes, it was surprising that a United States Government report had not acknowledged Bolivia’s progress.  Coca cultivation had long been part of the history of Bolivia.  Her Government would continue to help people deal with the drug problem and hoped there would be respect for Bolivia’s right to sovereignty.

RUBĒN ZAMORA (El Salvador) spoke in favour of a public health approach to drugs that focused on prevention, treatment and social reintegration, with full respect for human rights.  An exclusively criminal approach had proven ineffective.  Drug abuse was a social and public health issue, he said, adding that alternatives to prison sentences for drug offenses were a viable option that would avert the social stigmatization that incarcerated individuals might face.  Seizures of funds and assets of organized crime were “a high-impact measure” that should be promoted, he concluded.

MOHAMED IBRAHIM MOHAMED ELBAHI (Sudan) said terrorism was an international crime, requiring global cooperation and technical support for capacity-building.  For its part, the Government had deployed great efforts to address terrorism, as well as other forms of crime, including corruption, narcotic drugs, money‑laundering and transnational crimes.  He expressed his delegation’s support for all measures to address the key causes and consequences of the world drug problem.

MAHMADAMIN MAHMADAMINOV (Tajikistan) said the severity and magnitude of the problems associated with illicit drugs production and trafficking was a clear indication of ever increasing global menace threatening international stability.  The international community must coordinate measures aimed at reducing drug demand and supply, and integrate efforts taken at the national and regional levels into an international strategy.  He stressed that the forthcoming Assembly special session was expected to provide a unique opportunity for strengthening international cooperation on combating the roots of drug problems.

MAYTHONG THAMMAVONGSA (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), aligning with the Group of 77 and ASEAN, said that concerted efforts were needed at local, national, regional and international levels to prevent and suppress illicit drug trafficking.  For its part, the Government had established a policy framework for combating illicit drugs and strengthened legal instruments on related crime.  Reviewing recent national legislation on the issue, he noted that his country had focused on strategies that included enhancing effective law enforcement, among other measures.  A rehabilitation and vocational training centre had, since 1996, treated 25,984 drug-addicted patients, curing 24,425 who had subsequently been returned to their families, he said.  The remaining 1,559 were still receiving treatment.

Mr. KHAN (Sri Lanka), aligning with the Group of 77, said drug abuse and trafficking were major and persistent problems worldwide.  Sri Lanka had worked very closely with UNODC and other United Nations entities in combating that problem.  The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board of Sri Lanka had highlighted the country’s main drive to combat drug trafficking.  Indeed, the country had been used as a transhipment destination by drug traffickers, and heroin consumption had become a major problem.  Sri Lanka had a strong legal framework on drug-related offenses, including legislation keeping in mind the country’s international and regional obligations.  Measures had been taken to set up residential care treatment and rehabilitation services for drug dependents, including for detainees.  Sri Lanka would cooperate fully in all international and regional mechanisms set up to combat the drug problem, which required enhanced cooperation and coordination among States and international organizations.

GORGUI CISS (Senegal) said transnational organized crime sapped the political stability of States, undermined economic growth and posed a real public health problem, as underlined in the reports before the Third Committee.  It was regrettable that, despite international efforts, drug trafficking and transnational crime remained troubling.  Combating transnational crime required a reinforcement of international, regional and subregional cooperation.  West Africa was touched by trafficking of all types, with porous borders, poverty and political instability contributing to the region becoming an international hub in the drug trade.  UNODC was encouraged to continue its support to States, notably in the areas of information sharing, training of health care personnel, data collection and analysis, and security and justice reform, he said.

JEFFREY SALIM WAHEED (Maldives) said that for his nation, which was an archipelago at the centre of one of the world’s premier maritime trade routes, threats of transnational crime were acute.  Due to its heavy reliance on migrant workers, Maldives also remained vulnerable to the perils of human trafficking.  His Government had sought above all to address the issue of crime prevention and drug abuse through a holistic approach, he said, prioritizing education and job creation for youth as measures towards empowering young people and creating productive citizens.

USMAN SARKI (Nigeria) said dealing with the world drug problem required an integrated, multidimensional, balanced and comprehensive approach.  In Africa, the consequences of drug abuse continued to ravage families, communities and society, undermining the efforts aimed at promoting sustainable development.  The consumption of illicit drugs also continued to contribute to the rise in diseases such as HIV/AIDS and psychological disorders.  The increasing use of the continent as a transit channel for illicit drugs and psychotropic substances was worrisome, as it had created security challenges.  Accordingly, Nigeria welcomed the adoption of the Revised African Union Plan of Action on Drug Control (2013-2017) and looked forward to the support provided by the international community.

THERESE CANTADA (Philippines), aligning with ASEAN, outlined her country’s five pillars to combating drugs:  supply reduction; demand reduction; alternative development; civic awareness and response; and regional and international cooperation.  A new National Anti-Drug Plan of Action (2015-2020) reflected a much-needed balance between supply- and demand-oriented programmes.  While national gains had been made supported by international partnerships, she noted the shifting battleground against narcotics due to increased human mobility, new drug formulations and the Internet.  Indeed, in today’s world, drugs, transnational organized crime, cybercrime, corruption and other criminal activities were increasingly interlinked, necessitating a comprehensive approach in combating them.  Laws increasing the transparency of financial transactions had been passed in the Philippines wherein banks and other institutions were required to report certain transactions to the Anti-Money-Laundering Council.  The Philippines had also enacted the Terrorist Financing Prevention Act.  Further, she noted the strengthening of the Juvenile Justice and Welfare Act in 2012, consistent with principles of restorative justice.

RAHMAN MOHAMMED SULAIMAN BAOMAR (Oman) said justice, peace and the rule of law were essential for achieving sustainable development.  The Constitution of Oman guaranteed the protection and promotion of the rights of all, regardless of race or gender.  It was essential to have effective criminal justice systems and protect the rule of law.  Oman commended the efforts of States and international and regional organizations, but efforts needed to be stepped up to combat crime and drugs which affected a large segment of the population.  Oman was a party to a number of regional and international conventions on crime, and it was cooperating with UNODC and International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) to strengthen its national capacity in this regard.

ABDURRAHMAN MOHAMMAD FACHIR (Indonesia) commended the work of UNODC to facilitate Member States’ efforts in developing avenues and cross-regional mechanisms for a more effective international cooperation in tackling international crimes and the drug problem.  A comprehensive and coordinated approach must encompass the national, regional and international dimensions, and partnerships with international organizations and civil society in combating transnational crimes.  Labour trafficking was a priority for the Government, which had initiated the Bali Regional Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime, involving countries of origin, transit and destination.  International cooperation was also crucial to combat corruption.  Turning to terrorism threats to security, he stressed that global responses must be consistent with the rule of law and human rights, and reiterated the importance of full implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.  The soft power approach, including the promotion of tolerance, was also essential.  On new emerging forms of crime, Indonesia regular collection and dissemination of data and information was important for effective policy formulation, he said, encouraging UNODC and Member States to promote technical assistance and capacity-building to countries.

YE MINN THEIN (Myanmar), associating with ASEAN, said that the drug problem was still haunting his country, despite successive Governments’ utmost endeavours to eliminate the problem.  Myanmar was striving for the total eradication of poppy cultivation through the promotion of improved living standards for all peoples residing at border areas.  Bilateral agreements on mechanisms regarding transnational organized crime and other issues were particularly effective with neighbouring States.  Strong regional and international cooperation, along with enhanced technical and financial assistance from various partners, would contribute to success in the ongoing fight against drugs.

RAMLAN BIN IBRAHIM (Malaysia) said transnational crime was a global concern that needed to be addressed as it had detrimental effects on the political, economic and social development.  Drawing attention to the smuggling and trafficking of persons, which had caused the loss of thousands of lives, he stressed the need to address its root causes and to strengthen international cooperation.  Turning to the issue of drugs, Malaysia was concerned about the threats posed by trafficking to his country’s social and economic structures.  In Malaysia, there were three major drug related problems, including the smuggling of drugs into the country, abuse of drugs by the local population and the transit of drugs through its borders.  Against that backdrop, Malaysia looked forward to the convening of the Assembly’s special session.

 

CECILE MBALLA EYENGA (Cameroon) said the United Nations reports allowed Member States to get a snapshot of the severity of transnational crimes, including corruption, terrorism, cybercrime, human trafficking and illicit drugs.  Such crimes not only posed a serious threat to the national security and stability, but also to the socioeconomic development.  Similar to other States, Cameroon had been affected by the increase in the cultivation, manufacture, distribution and usage of drugs, especially among young people.  Accordingly, the Government had established drug control systems at the airports and borders in the country.  Concluding, she underlined the need for a global response to address such problem, and called upon Member States to share best practices.

JUAN CARLOS MENDOZA (Costa Rica) said it was clear that conventional strategies had not been working with regard to the drug problem.  Burning and seizing drugs or jailing small producers and consumers would not produce results.  New strategies were needed that respected the rule of law, and destination countries must play a bigger role.  Because of its geographical position, Central America was a victim of drug trafficking and organized crime; the cost of fighting both was very high, putting a strain on resources that could otherwise go towards education, health and infrastructure.  For every $1 of foreign assistance, the region had spent $40.  Given the relationship between the illegal trade in conventional arms and transnational organized crime, Costa Rica encouraged States that had not yet to do so to ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.

SILVANA GARCĪA (Uruguay) welcomed the upcoming General Assembly session on the world drug problem.  Sentences for drug offenses should be proportional.  Drug users who had been imprisoned were not criminals, and they were entitled to the right to health, she said, noting that her country condemned the use of the death penalty for drug offenses.  In applying the law, leaders at the top of the criminal chain should be targeted.  Tobacco and alcohol should be incorporated into drug policies as tobacco was responsible for 5 million deaths a year, and the figures were similar for alcohol consumption.

For information media. Not an official record.