UNODC to increase technical cooperation with Cabo Verde to counter organized crime
Cabo Verde is an island country off the coast of Senegal, with a strategic geographical location halfway between Latin America and Europe. With the multiplication of drug routes between the two continents through West Africa, this archipelago is increasingly becoming an ideal transit and storage point for cocaine trafficking. The challenges faced by the country are furthermore complicated by the increasing presence of organized and interconnected criminal groups.
The efforts from the government of Cabo Verde and its criminal justice system institutions have produced concrete results over the last years, with over two tons of cocaine seizures made from 2011 to 2014. The authorities have also convicted some dozens of people for drug trafficking, money-laundering and criminal association.
To contribute to the government's action plan to counter organized crime, UNODC Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, Mr. Pierre Lapaque, lead an official mission to Praia, from 4 to 8 February 2015. The aim was to strengthen UNODC's technical cooperation with the government, and consult with national and international partners on the most effective way to address national priorities.
UNODC delegation meeting with Cabo Verde Prime Minister José Maria Neves
During its visit, the UNODC delegation met with the Prime Minister José Maria Neves and other government officials, including the Ministers of Justice, Defence and Foreign Affairs, as well as heads of law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. At the end of the mission, Mr. Lapaque reported on the outcome of his mission in a press conference stating that, while Cabo Verde has been providing a positive response to organized crime, there is a need to strengthen the response in domains such as border control, intelligence gathering and sharing, efficiency of the criminal justice response, and prison reform.
This mission follows last year's events when the country was awaken by a murder and an attempted murder indirectly targeting a law enforcement official and a senior government member. Acknowledging these events as a serious threat to the rule of law and legitimacy of democratic institutions, the Government of Cabo Verde publicly declared an adequate and proportional response to organized crime and its perpetuators, while requesting technical assistance to the international community and partners, including UNODC.
UNODC will work, jointly with national authorities such as the Minister of Justice, on a comprehensive short and midterm response to mitigate the risks and threats Cabo Verde has identified in the fight against organized crime.