UN crime congress pledges closer cooperation against global threats

25 April 2005

Greatly concerned by the rapid expansion of transnational organized crime, delegates at a United Nations forum on criminal justice have pledged closer international cooperation to tackle global economic and financial graft, as well as increasingly sophisticated criminal networks and terrorists.

The Eleventh UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice wrapped its eight-day session today in Bangkok, Thailand, unanimously adopting the "Bangkok Declaration." In that text, they vowed to increase cooperation in information sharing, extradition, mutual legal assistance and other areas, especially related to money laundering, drug trafficking, human trafficking, "cybercrime" and the financing of international terrorism.

According to the Declaration, delegations reaffirmed their readiness to seek to improve international cooperation in the fight against crime and terrorism at the multilateral, regional and bilateral levels, especially in the prevention, investigation, prosecution and adjudication of transnational organized crime and terrorism and in discovering any existing links between them.

The Congress also called on all States that had not yet done so to ratify and implement the provisions of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, and the UN Convention against Corruption. It further called upon donors and financial institutions to continue to make adequate voluntary contributions for technical assistance to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to help them build capacity to prevent and tackle crime.

The meeting also ushered in the entry into force of the Firearms Protocol to the organized crime treaty, as Zambia became the 40th nation to ratify it. The Protocol is considered a critical component of the UN's anti-crime efforts and provides an opportunity and an obligation for countries to control small arms, which kill an estimated half million people every year.

"Small arms traffickers have littered the world with the victims of their trade," said Antonia Maria Costa, Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). "[But] along with the 39 other States that have ratified this protocol, Zambia is sending a powerful message to criminal gangs and gunrunners around he world – 'Your time is up.'"


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