The head of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today met with Kenyan officials in the capital, Nairobi, to discuss a number of issues such as counter-piracy, police reform and illicit drug trafficking.
“Kenya’s role is pivotal in East Africa and the country is a vital partner in tackling emerging threats to regional and international security in areas such as piracy and illicit drugs,” said Yury Fedotov, the Executive Director of the Vienna-based UNODC.
Mr. Fedotov’s visit to the Horn of Africa nation will include discussions with non-governmental organizations and other partners on drug dependency issues, as well as with Government officials on topics such as criminal justice and counter-terrorism.
UNODC’s work in Kenya forms part of the wider Eastern Africa regional approach designed to take into account overlapping geographic and thematic issues such as capacity building of international cooperation on law enforcement, strengthening of border control, anti-corruption and prison reform.
Mr. Fedotov will visit the Shimo Le Tewa prison and court house in Mombasa as part of UNODC’s counter-piracy work in the region. The agency has been particularly active in Shimo La Tewa, where the newly built courtroom and refurbished prison ensures sufficient levels of security, as well as humane prison conditions, for on-trial prisoners, officials and witnesses.
UNODC has also been working extensively with Kenyan authorities on streamlining the country’s prosecution services, which is critical move in the counter-piracy effort.
Mr. Fedotov reiterated the agency’s commitment to furthering assistance in drug dependence treatment. This follows a sudden surge for demand of drug dependence treatment services in January 2011 and UNODC played a pivotal role in assisting the Government in its response.
“UNODC recognizes that drug dependence is a disease and not a crime. Treatment is a critical component when we talk about countering the use of illicit drugs and it has been proven that this offers a far more effective cure than punishment,” he stated.