UNODC and UNHCR sign memorandum of understanding to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling
1 November 2011 - UNODC and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at furthering joint cooperation in combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling. The memorandum, which was signed by UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov and UNHCR High Commissioner António Guterres, is the first formal cooperation agreement between the two United Nations entities.
Speaking at the signing in New York, Mr. Fedotov welcomed the memorandum of understanding as a way of streamlining the mutual work of both entities: "UNODC's mandate in combating organized crime is complementary to UNHCR's work of protecting refugees. As we have often seen with human trafficking and migrant smuggling, criminals prey on society's most vulnerable. Refugees, in search of a better life, can become victims of these criminals and it is important that we offer coordinated assistance to those who need it the most."
Building on the organizations' past and current shared efforts, the agreement covers migration management issues and health-related work in refugee camps and expands joint activities carried out under the United Nations Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT). Geographically, the memorandum of understanding focuses on four regions defined on the basis of the work of UNODC and UNHCR: Latin America, the Gulf of Aden, Afghanistan and its neighbouring countries and North Africa.