Protect and Assist Victims of Human Trafficking and Smuggled Migrants

With operational support of the Legal Advisory Programme, UNODC ROCA project portfolio has been enlarged with two new projects in 2011. Both projects has a regional remit and both apply a human rights-based approach while addressing such threats as human trafficking, migrant smuggling and terrorism respectively.

The one "Strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian Republics to protect and assist victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants, especially women and children, in partnership with NGO and civil society actors", supports the states of the region in tackling the problem of human trafficking and migrant smuggling with particular focus on the rights of victims. Human trafficking and migrant smuggling are serious and growing problems in Central Asia. IOM estimates that the total number of victims of human trafficking in Central Asia (including people in risk of being trafficked) reaches 806,702.

The two-year project has been launched in November 2011. It aims at strengthening the capacity of the Central Asian countries to identify, protect and assist victims of human trafficking and smuggled migrants especially women and children, in partnership with NGO and other civil society actors. The project will be implemented in close cooperation with the relevant state agencies and in partnership with the UNFPA.

The other project "Strengthening criminal justice capacities of Central Asian Countries to counter terrorism in compliance with principles of rule of law will seek to promote a regional approach to counter terrorism in Central Asia and, at the same time, strengthen capacities of the Central Asian states to address the terrorism-related issues at the national levels while respecting rule of law. The cases of dismantling regional terror groups are increasingly being reported in Central Asian countries. At the same time, the project is expected to contribute to enhancing national counter-terrorism laws/regulations and procedural laws pertaining to defendants' rights, as well as strengthen capacities of prosecutors and judges of Central Asian states to prosecute and adjudicate terrorism-related cases while respecting rule of law.  The project will be launched in early 2012.

Apart from this, Legal Advisory Programme also developed project sub-component proposal on strengthening capacities of Uzbek judges and defense lawyers to uphold international human rights and criminal justice standards. The proposal has been awarded the funding from the UK. The sub-component is an operational response to the Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation signed between UNODC Regional Office for Central Asia  and the Supreme Court of the Republic of Uzbekistan in 2009. Among the activities planned to be conducted within seven months of the project sub-component are training courses for judges and lawyers on habeas corpus and torture and ill-treatment at pretrial stage, development of handbook on pretrial detention standards and implementing practices as well as awareness raising materials about the rights of detained suspects or accused and victims of torture.