Greater efforts are needed to win the battle against organized crime in East Asia and the Pacific, according to a new study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which calls for a fresh approach to tackle the scourge.
While many countries in the region have a centuries-long experience with organized crime, others have only recently come into contact with such groups as well as illicit goods and services, according to the report launched today in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The history of organised crime in the Asia-Pacific also demonstrates that no single country, no single strategy, no policy, no law, no law enforcement measure, and no penalty — however harsh — has been successful in eliminating and eradicating the problem of organised crime,” it noted.
Profits generated by smuggling and trafficking, with a price tag of billions of dollars, exceeds the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of many of the region’s economies, the UNODC study said, adding that organized crime could potentially undermine governance, commerce and human rights.
“New ideas are needed to prevent and suppress organised crime more effectively,” the report, entitled “Palermo on the Pacific Rim: Organized Crime Offences in the Asia Pacific Region,” underscored.
“Palermo” refers to the 2000 UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, known as the Palermo Protocol, which has been ratified by nearly 150 nations so far.
But the new publication pointed out that few countries in the Asia-Pacific region has implemented the obligations contained in the pact.
“Whether or not the Asia-Pacific region succeeds over organised crime — or surrenders to it — is the collective responsibility of the whole region,” it said. “In the end, it is the combined political will of all governments and civil societies in the region that will determine the future of the response to organised crime in the Asia-Pacific.
“Whether or not there will be a Palermo on the Pacific Rim is ultimately up to us.”