News Bulletin  from UNODC South  Asia 

June-October 2019

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assists Member States in their efforts to combat illicit drugs and international crime. Over the past two decades, the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) has been working with governments and civil society in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, providing specialized assistance to address challenges pertaining to drugs, organised crime, security, justice and health. The commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, human rights and the rule of law is at the core of our mandate.
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Strategic Initiatives: Regional Snapshots
In a special message, India's popular film actor and youth icon, John Abraham, extends his support to UNODC's efforts against human trafficking, and calls for united action to protect victims and bring the perpetrators to justice.
Strengthening Government Engagement: Fostering Ties
UNODC South Asia Representative called on Foreign Minister of Maldives, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, Home Minister Mr. Imran Abdullah and Education Minister of Maldives, Ms. Aishath Ali in Male in June on the sidelines of the Maldives Partnership Forum 2019. The discussions focused on UNODC’s key initiatives and interventions aimed at countering organised crime and promoting security, the rule of law and health in the region. 
Countering Drug Trafficking: International Partnerships
A Trilateral Forum workshop between India, Ghana and Nigeria was convened on 'Countering Trafficking of Tramadol' in collaboration with the Narcotics Control Bureau, Government of India and organized under the aegis of UNODC programmes in Nigeria, West Africa and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB). The workshop focused on trends in drug trafficking through the Maritime and Southern Routes. 
Youth and SDG 16: Building a Culture of Lawfulness
In September, building on UNODC's extensive outreach with schools in India under the Education for Justice Initiative, over 400 students from schools in Haryana and Karnataka reiterated their pledge to promote the SDGs and prepared innovative and posters in support of SDG 16. In Bhutan, 485 students participated in a discussion on human trafficking at a school in Tsirang, a remote district in Central Bhutan. 
Regional Cooperation: Strategic Outreach
UNODC South Asia Deputy Representative called on the Inspector General of Bangladesh Prisons in Dhaka in September. The discussions focused on the scope of expanding the ongoing initiative in prisons in Bangladesh, building on the launch of the PDMS. During her visit, she also met with the Chairman, Anti-Corruption Commission of Bangladesh, which has been promoting values-based learning in schools.
Governments, law enforcement agencies and civil society organisations from India, Nepal and Sri Lanka joined hands to strengthen victim-centred responses at the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Platform convened by UNODC in July at New Delhi, in collaboration with UN Women and the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Platform seeks to create synergies between partner entities, facilitate exchange of information and good practices, encourage joint responses and identify the immediate priority actions to address the issue. 
Children in Focus: Family Skills Programme
The First Regional Pilot Training on “Family United”, an initiative under the Universal Family Skills Programme for Prevention of Negative Social Outcomes, was organised by UNODC at Jakarta, Indonesia in June. The training was supported by the Government of Japan. Participants were given hands on training in changing behaviours of caregivers and handling stress in children. 
Joint UN Action: Countering Violent Extremism
In August, UNODC supported a joint mission of UNCCT/UNOCT to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for a national workshop on “Countering the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Phenomenon and Other Violent Extremism”, with participation of the CTED and Interpol. Participants discussed national and regional trends, and shared good practices and tools in the deliberations. 
Addressing HIV/AIDS and TB: Interventions in Prisons 
UNODC and UNAIDS joined hands with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, the National AIDS Control Organisation and civil society partners in convening a 3-day consultation in Gujarat on addressing HIV/AIDS and TB in Indian prisons in October. UNODC South Asia Representative called for greater access to quality healthcare services in prisons. Officials from State AIDS Control Societies shared insights from their respective interventions in prisons. 
Countering Drugs: Leveraging Partnerships
The Asian Regional Forum against Drugs was convened in Kerala in partnership with the World Federation against Drugs and Fourth Wave Foundation in September. In his address, UNODC South Asia Representative emphasised that partnerships are essential for a coordinated multi-stakeholder response against drug use and HIV/AIDS. The event was attended by the Governor of Kerala, besides senior state government officials and civil society from across the region. 
In October, UNODC convened an International High-Level Conference on “Educating for the Rule of Law” at the UN Headquarters in Vienna. At the forum, ongoing efforts under the flagship Education for Justice Initiative in South Asia were showcased to over 350 representatives from Member States, civil society and academia from over 120 countries.  Through interactive dialogues, network-building and sensitisation, young people and educators in India and Bhutan are being engaged and empowered on peace, crime prevention and the rule of law. Since South Asia is home to the world’s largest youth population, new programs and activities are being designed to build on UNODC’s extensive work with educators and youth in the region to promote SDG 16. 
Maldives Parliament Endorses SARICC: Regional Cooperation
The Parliament of the Maldives approved the Government’s proposal to join the South Asian Regional Regional Intelligence and Coordination Centre (SARICC) in August. An open vote was taken and 70 of the 77 lawmakers present voted in favour. 
UN-ited Families: Addressing Drug Use and Violence
UNODC continued its ongoing efforts towards piloting the UN-ited Families Programme at schools in Dhaka to prevent drug use and violence among children in September. The initiative, supported by the Government of Japan, has received positive feedback from educators.
A multi-stakeholder consultation on countering trafficking in persons was convened in Chandigarh in June, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. The deliberations brought together experts from 8 Indian states and Union Territories-- Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Rajasthan—who called for greater government investments in enabling responses. 
UNODC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, convened a multi-stakeholder consultation on countering trafficking in persons at Hyderabad, Telangana in June. Stakeholders called on UNODC to develop inter-state and transnational cooperation mechanisms to counter trafficking in persons, and foster regular and sustained trainings of concerned stakeholders with cutting-edge knowledge tools to enhance responses.
In September, the Home Minister of Bangladesh, Mr. Asaduzzaman Khan launched the Prisoner Database Management System (PDMS), developed by UNODC in partnership with the Bangladesh Prison Department, in Dhaka. PDMS is an innovative system that will allow to digitalize prisoner records and enhance prison management in Bangladesh. With support of the US Department of State, PDMS was operating as a pilot project at Kashimpur Central Jail 2 and Gazipur District Jail. A series of focused training sessions on the PDMS were convened for prison officials and staff in Bangladesh since June 2019.  
GLO.ACT in South Asia: Civil Society Responses
UNODC convened a series of trainings for civil society representatives on Countering Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants in Nepal in July-August. The workshop featured focused deliberations on push and pull factors, key challenges and opportunities. Officials from the Nepal Police are also shared their good practices vis-a-vis investigations.

In August, UNODC convened a series of four training workshops on strengthening responses against trafficking in persons in Colombo for officers from the Department of Immigration and Emigration, Government of Sri Lanka. The discussions focused on applicable laws, victim identification and standard operating procedures.
Countering Trafficking in Persons: Facilitating Dialogues
UNODC hosted members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force, Government of Sri Lanka for a discussion on preventing and countering human trafficking in June. Members of the Task Force exchanged ideas and insights with UNODC experts to strengthen the implementation of a comprehensive response to the issue, and identify gaps and needs. 
Joint UN Responses: HIV/AIDS in prison settings
In August, UNODC facilitated the visit of UNAIDS Regional Director to the Unified Budget, Results and Accountability Framework (UBRAF) sites--OST Centers and Prisons--in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and engage with officials of Gujarat State AIDS Control Society. The initiative was aimed at strengthening UBRAF activities in Gujarat and developing a roadmap in consultation with state and district officials.
Combating Illicit Trafficking of Drugs: Developing a Comprehensive Approach
A high-level Regional Workshop on “Combating Illicit Trafficking of Afghan Opiates and Drug Situation in the Northeast” was organised in October in Imphal, in partnership with the Government of Manipur. The workshop aimed at sensitising South Asia’s law enforcement agencies on the issue of drug trafficking and foster collaborative efforts in the region. The Governor of Manipur inaugurated the workshop and called on UNODC to carry out studies on the issue and capacity building efforts for law enforcement agencies to strengthen cooperation through the creation of an information sharing mechanism. The consultation was attended by over 60 officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, besides senior officials from Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura. 
A multi-stakeholder capacity building training to counter trafficking in persons was convened by UNODC in Colombo on in October. The program was inaugurated by the British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. UNODC's expert trainers engaged with a diverse set of participants comprising government officials and representatives from civil society during the workshop.
Combating Human Trafficking: Strengthening Cooperation
In October, UNODC convened a 2-day training on responding to Trafficking in Persons with more than 50 officers of the Assam Police in Guwahati. In the discussion, the Director General of Police emphasised that police officials must respond to trafficking cases using a victim/survivor-centred approach. The aim was to enhance coordination among stakeholders to strengthen responses.
Addressing  Organised Crime: Strengthening Border Security
UNODC implemented a project in Bangladesh with the aim to facilitate the establishment of a Border Liaison Office mechanism on the borders with Myanmar to counter illicit trafficking. In this backdrop, a two-day training on countering illicit trafficking was convened for frontline officials in Dhaka in July. The training was aimed at strengthening capacities of border officers in identifying and stopping cross-border crimes through coordination and cooperation.
Countering Trafficking in Persons: Collective Approaches
In September, UNODC convened a training for First Responders of Human Trafficking in Jaipur, with law enforcement officials from Rajasthan. In the discussion, participants reiterated the need for greater investments in infrastructure development to assist and protect survivors. A multi-stakeholder workshop was also held in Patna, with representatives from law enforcement and civil society calling for enhanced information sharing. 
Container Control Program: Combating Organised Crime
The 2019 Regional Cooperation Meeting of the UNODC-WCO Container Control Programme (CCP) with a special focus on Air Cargo took place in Male, Maldives, in September. The meeting strengthened the need for information exchange in real time. It was agreed that unbureaucratic communication between Air Cargo Control Units (ACCUs) and Port Control Units (PCUs) in both the region and globally are key for a successful law enforcement work. The global CCP was established in 2004 by UNODC and the WCO to thwart criminal activities in the containerized trade supply chain by pooling the strengths of Customs and other law enforcement bodies.
Combating Human Trafficking: Focus on Capacity Building 
In October, UNODC joined hands with the Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Goa to hold a two-day multi-stakeholder training in Panaji on countering human trafficking. Over 40 government and law enforcement officials from Goa and Maharashtra, and representative of the civil society, participated in the discussion. 
Trafficking in Persons: Victim Identification Guidelines
UNODC, under the GLO.ACT initiative, convened a national consultation in Kathmandu in June to discuss draft victim identification guidelines to counter Trafficking in Persons. Discussants asserted that absence of victim identification guidelines leads to weak investigations and prosecution in trafficking cases.
Anti-Trafficking Awareness: Engaging with Changemakers
In October, UNODC participated in the 10th Annual conference of Local Government Chairpersons in Thimphu. Over 193 local leaders and 60 officials attended the program. At the Conference, the Home Minister reiterated the support of the Government towards the cause of preventing human trafficking. The Home Secretary called on leaders to “act now” in countering the crime. 
Joint UN Responses: Preventing Violence against Women
In June, UNODC South Asia Representative addressed a seminar on “Perpetration of Violence Against Women and Girls through Abuse of Technology” organized by UN Women India and the Data Security Council of India in New Delhi.  The program aimed at fostering collaborations between the UN in India and the Government of India on issues pertaining to cyber safety. 
Paris Pact Initiative: Countering Illicit Financial Flows
The Government of India, in collaboration with UNODC, hosted the Paris Pact Expert Working Group (EWG) on Illicit Financial Flows held in New Delhi in June. The event was attended by 60 participants, representing 15 countries and 6 international organizations. The Expert Working Group on Illicit Financial Flows was directly related to the Vienna Declaration, adopted at the Third Ministerial Conference of the Paris Pact Partners in February 2012, which serves as the roadmap to guide all partner actions in support to the Initiative. 
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Examining the Legal and Regulatory Responses
In October, UNODC delivered two back-to-back national workshops in Dhaka, Bangladesh on “Legal and Regulatory Responses to New Terrorism Financing Challenges” and on “Countering the Financing of Terrorism and the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction”. The workshops, funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Japan, focused on the latest trends and challenges in the area of countering terrorism financing. 
Combating Trafficking in Persons: Strengthening Joint Responses
In September, UNODC convened a focused training for Haryana Police on responding to trafficking in persons in Chandigarh. Over 40 police officials from different districts of Haryana participated in the workshop. The focus of the discussions was on Anti-Human Trafficking Units and practical implementation difficulties while responding to cases of human trafficking in the state. Police officials shared insights on inter-state rescue processes and victim support through case stories.
Addressing Drug Use and HIV/AIDS: Focus on Prevention
UNODC South Asia Representative addressed a High Level Inter-Departmental Meeting convened by the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) and the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India in New Delhi in July. In the discussion, the need to focus on preventive efforts on among high-risk groups, including injecting drug users, was emphasised. The meeting was held in the backdrop of the recent National Survey on the Extent and Magnitude of Drug Use in India.
Countering Trafficking in Persons: Strategic Outreach
During the Working Group meeting on Trafficking in Persons at the UN in September, the Government of Sri Lanka presented updates on its current anti-human trafficking efforts, highlighting UNODC’s support. In Dhaka, UNODC joined the Government of Bangladesh, UN agencies, donors and NGOs in an expert consultation to mark Bangladesh’s accession to the UN TIP Protocol and discuss concrete steps on its implementation, in line with the National Action Plan against Human Trafficking. 
UNODC and the Container Control Programme launched the Air Cargo Control Unit at Tribhuvan International Airport, in partnership with the Government of Nepal in August. Supported by the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program of the US State Department, the program seeks to facilitate trade by strengthening stakeholder capacities to identify and intercept illegal items such as drugs, wildlife, counterfeit goods and weapons.
Family Skills: Capacity Building of Facilitators
In October, UNODC hosted a consultation in Jakarta for facilitators from Bangladesh and Indonesia on the booster training of the Families UNited program, a flagship UNODC initiative. Discussions revolved on the need to promote family skills for the prevention of drug use, violence and crime. 
Drug Use: Promoting Family Therapy
The UNFT booster training on Family Therapy for substance use disorders among adolescents was held in Male in September, with  participants from Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Sri Lanka. UNODC tested the applicability of the newly developed practitioners manual at the workshop.  
Counter-Terrorism: Enhancing Information Sharing
 In October, UNODC delivered a national training workshop in Dhaka, Bangladesh on “Enhancing information sharing and the use of Advance Passenger Information (API) and Passenger Name Record (PNR), biometrics and other data for border security”, with participation from representatives of different law enforcement and border management agencies. The workshop was facilitated by various experts, including INTERPOL, IATA, IOM, and UNOCT. 
UNODC and the South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN) convened a workshop on strengthening prosecution of wildlife crime in July. The Attorney General of Nepal, Chairman of SAWEN and UNODC opened the workshop, attended by 7 countries of the region. Prosecutors and judges from South Asian Member States exchanged experiences on how to handle the most serious forms of wildlife crime, with a focus on forensics, corruption and evidence admissibility.
Combating Corruption: Capacity Building Initiatives 
In October, UNODC delivered a 3-day Module I training on "Criminal and Financial investigations of Corruption Crimes and Links to Money Laundering" to Nepali anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies, as a continuation of technical assistance in building up the investigative capacity of national authorities. A training on "Corruption Risks Assessment and Management Methodology" was also delivered to a selected group of senior and middle managers from the national Anti-Corruption Commission, Bangladesh. A follow up to the training is planned in early 2020 to assist ACC in finalizing the document and appropriately addressing the monitoring mechanism.
Human Trafficking: Information Collection and Management
In July, UNODC organized a training workshop on ‘Information Collection and Management Related to Trafficking in Persons Crime’ in Colombo, for members of the National Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force (NAHTTF), UN agencies and civil society. The importance and significance of collecting data by the collective effort of all relevant agencies including ministries, CSO’s and international organizations on a common platform in creating a comprehensive information management system in relation to trafficking in persons was highlighted during the sessions. Participants shared examples of how trafficking-related data is collected and channeled to NAHTTF.
Combating Trafficking in Persons: Raising Awareness
In October, UNODC convened an interactive discussion on countering human trafficking at the Technical and Vocational Institute in Bumthang, Bhutan. Nearly 234 students and 35 teachers participated in the awareness program, which revolved around the Blue Heart Campaign. A training of 21 legal officers and prosecutors was also organised in Bumthang, enabling participants to exchange information on good practices and insights on countering trafficking in persons. 
Special Observances
Observing the International Day against Drug Use and Illicit Trafficking on June 26, UNODC joined governments, institutions, citizens and the UN family in calling for a health and human rights-based response to the world drug problem. To mark the occassion, UNODC organized a youth-led, youth-focused discussion on addressing drug use, featuring young doctors, academics, social volunteers and students. 
World Day against Trafficking in Persons 
UNODC joined hands with the Department of Law and Order, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs to observe the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons in Thimphu, Bhutan in July. The program was attended by senior officials of the Department of Law and Order, and the Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs, as well as students and representatives from youth groups, civil society, Drayangs and taxi drivers. 
Our Partners
The aforementioned activities
were made possible
through the generous support of:

  • Department of Revenue, Government of India
  • European Union
  • Government of Japan
  • Government of Qatar
  • United Kingdom
  • United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 
  • US State Department
Support UNODC South Asia
We seek your active and generous assistance as a partner and friend of UNODC to help improve lives in South Asia. Our partnerships aim at building national and regional alliances on our mandates--crime prevention, security, justice and health--which are closely linked to global priorities as well as the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. We also invite Corporate Partners to enable and aid large-scale and impactful UNODC initiatives under their Corporate Social Responsibility mandates.  Your support can make all the difference!

To know more, please contact:

Mr. Samarth Pathak
Communications Officer
UNODC Regional Office for South Asia
Cellphone: +91-9811347927
Contact Us

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Telephone: +91-11-24104968/70/73
Email: samarth.pathak@un.org

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