The head of the United Nations crime watchdog today applauded the accession by Gabon to treaties on human and arms trafficking, noting that the move will help strengthen peace and security in Central Africa.
The two pacts are part of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which is under the jurisdiction of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and was adopted in the Italian city of Palermo a decade ago.
Gabon acceded to two of the Convention’s three Protocols: the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; and the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.
The former is the first global legally-binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons. It also seeks to protect and assist victims of trafficking, with full respect for their human rights.
The latter is the first pact to be adopted at the global level on the illicit trade in firearms, and countries that ratify it commit to adopt a series of crime-control measures.
“Trafficking in firearms in Central Africa is fuelling conflict, which poses a threat to peace and increases the risk of violence against women and the recruitment of child soldiers,” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said at today’s signing.
“Without peace and security, development cannot take root and grow,” he added. “This makes halting illicit trade in firearms all the more urgent.”
The two protocols are among dozens of treaties that address human rights, disarmament, environmental protection, biodiversity, desertification and climate change, terrorism and crime, and the safety of UN and associated personnel that are open for signature, ratification or accession during the annual treaty event that coincides with the high-level segment of the General Assembly.
In addition to these, Member States can also take action with regard to some 500 other treaties.
During this year’s treaty event, Gabon also acceded to a pact on the International Criminal Court (ICC), ratified the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and consented to be bound to three others.
Other countries that took action with regard to treaties today were Panama, Lesotho, Bulgaria and Armenia.