Director General/Executive Director
Remarks of Mr. Yury Fedotov, UNODC Executive Director at the Security Council Briefing on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia
22 February 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to report on UNODC's Counter Piracy Programme.
Based on our data, in 2011, pirates received about US$170 million in ransoms for hijacked vessels and crews. The figure has risen since 2010 when ransoms paid amounted to over US$110 million.
The average payment made to pirates in 2011 was about US$5 million, although as much as 10 million was paid for the release of a tanker.
The ransom money from piracy is flowing into the legal financial system at an increasing rate. The laundering of piracy proceeds are causing steep price rises in the Horn of Africa and the surrounding area.
And the money is also being reinvested into criminal activities that are not limited to piracy. Drugs, weapons and alcohol smuggling, as well as human trafficking, also benefit from the proceeds of piracy.
Although UNODC is unaware of an ideological link between Al-Shabaab, a militant group that reportedly has joined al-Qaeda, and pirates, there is strong evidence of cooperation in furtherance of the two groups' aims.
Therefore, piracy is creating a clear threat to the stability of the region.
UNODC's Global Programme against Money Laundering, Proceeds of Crime and the Financing of Terrorism is engaged in cooperation with other UN agencies and Member States within Working Group 5 of the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia.
This programme is helping to increase awareness of illicit money flows linked to piracy.
Central to GPML's activities is its support for Financial Intelligence Units and Law Enforcement Agencies in East Africa.
It has also organized two international conferences on Illicit Financial Flows linked to Piracy in 2011-the first in Nairobi in May, and the second in Djibouti in December.
We are now working under this programme with the World Bank and INTERPOL on a report on Illicit Financial Flows linked to Piracy. It will be published at the end of this year.
To make our efforts more effective, we need broader international support beyond this region. This is the most efficient way to sever the arteries that sustain piracy.
At the same time, we continue to address the crime of piracy.
UNODC's Counter-Piracy Programme is providing support to regional countries agreeing to undertake piracy prosecutions.
We are working, in particular, through extensive training programmes to police, prosecutors, judges and prison personnel in Kenya, Seychelles and Mauritius, as well as within Somalia itself where security conditions allow.
The programme started in 2009 with US$500,000, and by 2012, had expanded to a budget of US$40 million. This year, we will be implementing some US$16 million to cover a range of technical assistance.
Our Piracy Prisoner Transfer Programme supports the transfer of convicted pirates back to Somalia to serve their sentences, while ensuring that prison conditions meet international standards.
UNODC has built a model prison in Hargaisa, Somaliland. Construction in Garowe, Puntland, has begun with a prison academy being built. A court, a farm and a 500 man prison will soon follow.
Under the PPTP programme, we are also training prison staff, mentoring staff and prisoners and monitoring the prisons on a full-time basis.
In Kenya and Seychelles, UNODC has refurbished prisons, built courtrooms, and provided transport.
The assistance provided is strengthening the overall criminal justice system in these countries and helping it to become fair, efficient and consistent with human rights standards.
Based on our review, 1116 young Somali men are being, or have been, prosecuted for piracy in a total of 20 countries around the world, and 688 in the region.
- · In Kenya: 168 pirates are being, or have been, prosecuted; 50 have been convicted (10 have completed their sentence), 17 have been acquitted and the remainder are awaiting trial.
- · In the Seychelles: 88 pirates are being, or have been, prosecuted; 63 have been convicted and the remainder are awaiting trial;
Mauritius has signed a transfer agreement with the EU and will accept the transfer of piracy suspects for prosecution.
A joint EU/UNODC programme is now being implemented which will support the Government of Mauritius in prosecuting pirates.
UNODC's Counter-Piracy Programme is contributing to criminal justice systems in the region.
However, the existence of child pirates within these systems represents a complex issue.
In the absence of birth certificates or any other IDs, the courts of Kenya and Seychelles take medical advice before determining the age of pirate suspects; as a result, they have determined 7 of the 252 pirate suspects to be under 18; one in Seychelles and 6 in Kenya.
The C ounter-Piracy Programme is currently developing an Advocacy Programme to reach out to Somali youth.
It will liaise with key stakeholders including community leaders, politicians and religious leaders. TV, radio and print media will be used in the programme.
Our advocacy programme complements a UNDP activity on alternative livelihoods that will use micro-finance projects, among others, to show Somali youth there are sustainable choices other than piracy.
Overall, the issue of piracy requires a strong inter-agency approach that addresses not only law enforcement and judiciary aspects of the problem, but its root causes, in Somalia itself, as well as in the world's financial centres.