Lao Government and UNODC hold the first meeting of the Sub-Working Group on Crime
Vientiane, Thursday 8 th October 2009: UNODC Lao PDR in partnership with the Lao Government and the international community held the first Sub-Working Group on Crime, a collaborative forum that will jointly address the multiple threats posed by illicit activity, notably transnational organized crime, which is increasingly affecting the Lao PDR, a landlocked country that shares its borders with nations with emerging economies such as China, Thailand and Vietnam and countries currently dealing with political instability such as Myanmar. The spill-over effect resulting from the Lao PDR's geographical parameters threatens the national security of the country, therefore jeopardizing the security and the socio-economic profile of its people, and hindering the country's development efforts.
The primary objective of the Sub-Working Group on Crime is to implement the Lao PDR's National Drug Control Master Plan, which has been approved by the government in March 2009, and of which the implementation will further enforce the National Drug Law, which was passed by the National Assembly in December 2008 and approved by the president of the Lao PDR in January 2009. The implementation of the National Drug Control Master Plan will ensure a comprehensive response to the multiple issues pertaining to law enforcement and criminal justice, by targeting all forms of criminal activity and strengthening the law enforcement and criminal justice systems in the country to suppress crime on the national level and to take part in the regional efforts in the sector through partnership, cooperation and coordination with agencies from neighboring countries, thus protecting the stability and security of the Lao PDR and its people.
The meeting was co-chaired by high level representatives from the agencies involved, notably Mr. Leik Boonwaat, Country Representative of UNODC in the Lao PDR, Mr. Kou Chansina, Vice Chairman of the Lao Commission on Drug Control and Supervision, and LT. Col. Viloun Silaprany, Director General of the Foreign Relations Department of the Ministry of Public Security. During the opening remarks, it was emphasized that the establishment of the Sub-Working Group on Crime will enhance cooperation and coordination between the experts in the sector, in order to effectively implement the country's drug control strategy. It was also pointed out that organized crime, an ever increasing threat, isn't always transnational or on a mass scale, and that the country must have an adequate response to crime, regardless of its form.
It was proposed that the membership of the Sub-Working Group on Crime should be composed of the agencies mandated to combat drugs and crime. The 5 core agencies proposed are the Lao Commission on Drug Control and Supervision (LCDC), The Ministry of Public Security (MoPS), the Ministry of Juctice (MoJ), the Office of the Supreme People's Prosecuter (OSPP) and the People's Supreme Court (PSC). These core government agencies will work closely with international partners and other relevant government agencies, through information sharing and analysis, and the establishment of specific task forces composed of experts in the fields of law enforcement and criminal justice. It was further proposed that the activities of the Sub-Working Group on Crime will lead to the development and implementation of the National Drug Law Enforcement Strategy, with emphasis put on international cooperation. Further more, it has been proposed that the establishment of the strategic frameworks and the priority areas for this strategy are key elements to its implementation.
The interconnected aspects of drugs and crime are well documented. A contextual example is the increasing threat of ATS consumption that has been directly linked to exponential increases in petty crime/theft and violence over the course of last year. In a country that thrives to exit the LDC status, it is crucial to put in place effective measures that protect the country's security in order to continue on the path of socio-economic growth, and overall development.
Members of the Sub Working Group on Crime