Outlining its ongoing efforts to assist countries in tackling migrant smuggling, UNODC held an informal briefing on the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants in Vienna, on 30 March 2012.
UNODC presents the Global Programme against the Smuggling of Migrants.
The meeting was very well received by the attending state representatives who suggested more such meetings be held to generate an open dialogue between States Parties and UNODC on the challenges, global priorities, and needs of the organisation to support the implementation of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air additional to the United Nations Convention against the Transnational Organized Crime.
Ms. Sara Greenblatt, Chief of the Organized Crime Branch, highlighted the relevance of the Global Programme to assist States Parties implement the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, and UNODC's specific mandate in this regard. She presented the Global Programme in the context of the Thematic Programme Against Transnational Organized Crime And Illicit Trafficking and the new Comprehensive Strategy to Combat Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants.
UNODC staff reminded attendees of the high flexibility of smugglers who shift their routes to circumvent States responses and maximize their profits. In comparison, the limited implementation of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol by States Parties was noted, an imbalance which results in leaving this crime being widely unpunished, the smugglers left at large, and smuggled migrants more exposed to danger. For a more effective response, UNDOC emphasized the need, amongst other things, for greater and ongoing research to better identify trends and the linkages with other crimes, greater emphasis and resources commited to secure a common understanding of the crime, enhanced coordination and cooperation between States as well as increased capacity of the criminal justice system to respond to this crime.
It was agreed by all that the Global Programme is crucial to assist States build a coherent and comprehensive transnational response, yet that the primary duty of implementation of the Protocol lies with States Parties. They can be assisted by tools developed by UNDOC, such as the International Framework for Action to implement the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, but also though the Global Programme, provided it receives a baseline of funds to continue conducting its technical assistance activities, in addition to the welcome support of in-kind contributions. In this regard, there was a call in discussions amongst states representatives to consider associated good practices in donorship.
UNODC plans to hold a similar meeting during the upcoming Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants (30 May to 1 June).