"The creation of an UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office is fundamental to foster integration among South American countries", says Brazilian Minister of Justice, José Eduardo Cardozo in an interview with UNODC

13 March 2012 - Invited to participate in the opening session of the 55 United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the Brazilian Minister of Justice, Jose Eduardo Cardozo, announced an annual contribution of $2.5 million for the establishment and running of a UNODC Liaison and Partnership Office in Brasilia. In an interview with UNODC, Cardozo talks about drugs, organized crime, and the importance of the re-profiling UNODC in Brazil.

1 - What are the main drugs and crime related problems in your country?

At the present, we have some situations in Brazil that require a particular attention from our government. Regarding drug consumption, we have a concerning situation with crack. The other situation refers to violence and a very high homicide rate. Those are the two main issues that worry us the most and on which we have received from the president Dilma Rousseff orientation and a determination to address them from a careful perspective in the years of her government.

2 - Could you share with us some of the successful stories from Brazil in overcoming these challenges?

I believe one of the main problems we face and that reflects in those two issues I mentioned before is our difficulty in controlling our borders.We have 16 thousand kilometers of borderland, crossed by forests, native Indian lands, some urban populous zones, and it is not easy to control all that. Especially because we also have many border countries in South America.

I believe that the most recent successful story, which is not concluded yet but that we are going through, is exactly a new border control system developed through the integration of Federal Government bodies, for instance the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defense, and other ministries, with State Governments and the strengthening of our relations with other countries. Since June 2011, when we launched this new methodology, this new border control operation, we have had substantial improvements in the apprehension of drugs, and in the fight and control over other forms of crime, which are very frequent in border regions. Our idea now is to intensify this work through better equipment and technological innovation, and staff reinforcement in borders. I believe that by 2014 we will be able to achieve this good government policy case for the countering of these issues.

3 - How has your Ministry been working with UNODC?

We have a very strong cooperation, always supporting the UN body, because we know that the issues UNODC deals with are not issues that can be solved in the borders of one country, but that demand the strengthening of relations, and require integration, action and a great pool of efforts. Therefore, our cooperation is very strong but we want to strengthen it much more.

4 - What new opportunities you can see in collaborating with UNODC for countering drugs and criminality problems in Brazil?

We are proposing the creation of a new office, a more relevant office in Brazil which will be able to have a broader role in the formulation of public policies for all countries in the region. If we are able to implement this new office, and it is all almost done to do so, we will really have conditions to give a quality step forward, not only regarding our relationship with UNODC but also regarding our international relations which will gain a more dynamic profile.

5 - How do you see the creation of a UNODC Liasson and Partnership Office as an advantage?

The creation of this office is fundamental for us to foster integration among South American countries in policies that are so important for all countries.

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