Security and justice

Photos: A. ScottiGlobal drug control efforts have had a dramatic unintended consequence: a criminal black market of staggering proportions. Organized crime is a threat to security. Criminal organizations have the power to destabilize society and Governments. The illicit drug business is worth billions of dollars a year, part of which is used to corrupt government officials and to poison economies.

Drug cartels are spreading violence in Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. West Africa is under attack from narco-trafficking. Collusion between insurgents and criminal groups threatens the stability of West Asia, the Andes and parts of Africa, fuelling the trade in smuggled weapons, the plunder of natural resources and piracy. Greater international cooperation is needed to fight organized crime.

Learn more about the security challenges different countries and regions are facing:

Photo: A. ScottiAfghanistan

Afghanistan is the world's top opium producer. The illicit crop and drug trafficking have a negative impact on the Afghan institutions and society at large. The country also fights armed insurgents and rampant corruption.

Central America and the Caribbean

Caught in the crossfire between the world's biggest suppliers and consumers of cocaine, countries in Central America and the Caribbean are suffering the consequences of the international drug trade. Crime is stifling their economies, and where violent crime and corruption flourish, socio-economic development lags and democracy is undermined.

Read the story on drugs and crime in the region

North America

Mexico and the United States of America are friends, neighbours and commercial partners. However, drug demand in the United States is fuelling the drug trade from South America to Central America and through Mexico to the largest illicit drug market in the world. On the other hand, arms acquired in the United States are transported to Mexico and fall into the hands of the drug cartels.

Watch the video interview with Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora Icaza (Flash required, video in Spanish and English)

Read the op-ed "Stop the flow of guns" by UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa (New York Times)

Read and listen to the United Nations Radio story "Drogas: Pugnan por fortalecer cooperación México-EEUU" (in Spanish)

South America

The cocaine trade cannot be dealt with exclusively from the point of view of either supply or demand. Producer and consumer countries must share the responsibility. Colombia, the world's top cocaine producer, stresses that a link exists between cocaine consumption in Europe and North America and violence and environmental degradation in Colombia.

View the video interview with the Colombian Minister of Interior and Justice Fabio Valencia Cossio (Flash required, video in Spanish)

Read and listen to the United Nations Radio story "Basta de doble moral en lucha contra las drogas" (in Spanish)

West Africa

West Africa is at risk of becoming an epicentre for drug trafficking and the crime and corruption associated with it. Tons of cocaine from the Andean countries are transiting West Africa every year, heading north where they are worth billions of dollars on the streets of European cities. Most cocaine entering Africa from South America makes landfall around Guinea-Bissau in the north and Ghana in the south. Much of the drugs are shipped to Europe by drug mules on commercial flights.

Audio slideshow (Flash required)

Related stories and press releases

Commission on Narcotic Drugs puts drug control in the context of security, health and development (2009)

Counter-narcotics operation on the border between Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan (2009)

How to tackle a disturbing consequence of drug control (2009)

Secretary-General Ban warns that terrorism, drugs and crime are thwarting development in Afghanistan (2009)

UNODC warns of narco-trafficking threat to security in West Africa (2008)


 

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