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Cambodia closer to law to combat smuggling of migrants

Phnom Penh (Cambodia), 29 November 2013 - Having ratified the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, the Kingdom of Cambodia is in the final stages of finalizing a law to prevent and combat the smuggling of migrants. For this purpose, the Ministry of Justice and UNODC jointly organized a consultation workshop on 21 November 2013 in Phnom Penh, during which officials from the Ministry of Justice reviewed the current draft law.

The strengthening of policy and legislative frameworks is a core element of the recently launched UNODC Regional Programme for Southeast Asia.

During the workshop, Ms. Riikka Puttonen, UNODC legal expert, facilitated the review of the Cambodian draft law to counter migrant smuggling and provided advice on ensuring compliance with the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol and the Organized Crime Convention.  H.E. Hi Sophear, Secretary of State of Ministry of Justice in charge of Legislation Affairs, welcomed UNODC's comments.

During the workshop Mr. Sophear also emphasized the importance of gathering more comprehensive and reliable data on migrant smuggling. Cambodia was of the first countries to become member of the Voluntarily Reporting System on Migrant Smuggling and Related Conducts (VRS-MSRC). The VRS-MSRC is a regional database that serves to assist states in collecting, sharing and analysing data on migrant smuggling.

In addition to participating in the VRS-MSRC, Cambodia and UNODC have collaborated in strengthening cross-border law enforcement cooperation with neighboring countries and in setting up a special unit to investigate migrant smuggling, through the PATROL and PIU projects respectively.