Islamic Republic of Iran and UNODC to increase cooperation on trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants matters

On 29-31 January 2019, UNODC hosted a high-level delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran for a three-day specialized Technical Meeting on Exchange of Views on Cooperation Mechanisms for Effective Prevention and Combat of Transnational Organized Crime at its Headquarters in Vienna.

In a first for both counterparts, a senior level delegation comprised of officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Economic Affairs and Finance, as well as from the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, discussed at length with UNODC specialised experts technical cooperation mechanisms available within the framework of UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and its Protocols, such as criminalization of organized crime offences, international judicial and law enforcement cooperation, money-laundering and seizure, as well as confiscation of proceeds of crimes, as well as new trends and emerging crimes, such as cybercrime, piracy and trafficking in cultural property.

A specific session of the technical meeting was dedicated to trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants among source, transit and destination countries. UNODC presented its work on facilitating and supporting cooperation in preventing and addressing theses crimes and heard from the Iranian senior experts about current achievements and measures in this sphere.

Iran's geographic position makes it an important transit point for both crimes, and it is also confronted by the significant numbers of refugees from neighbouring countries such as Afghanistan, as well as Iraq. Iran has been making continuous efforts to work on criminal justice and law enforcement responses to human trafficking and migrant smuggling, including through a dedicated anti-human trafficking law (2004), which is currently in process of revision. Iranian experts expressed an interest to identify areas for further partnership with UNODC on preventing and addressing human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

In summing up the outcomes of the fruitful meeting, H.E. Ambassador Abbas Bagherpour, Director General of International Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran, confirmed that "the process for further collaboration will involve establishing a framework to work with UNODC at a very important time. We will continue the discussion to shape that framework".

Ms. Loide Aryee, Chief of Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch at UNODC said, "UNODC appreciates the exchange with the high-level delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran on their existing efforts and challenges in combatting transnational organized crime. UNODC, as the guardian of UNTOC, looks forward to expanding partnership with the Islamic Republic of Iran in areas related to transnational organized crime and to offer its support and technical assistance in facilitating Iran's ratification of UNTOC".

Bilateral discussions were also held between UNODC Executive Director Mr. Yury Fedotov and the Iranian delegation and sides expressed interest to increase level of cooperation and partnership, including to promote the implementation of UNTOC and its Protocols in the framework of UNODC Country Partnership Programme for Iran.