Special Newsletter from UNODC South  Asia 

April-May 2021

Building Back from COVID-19:
Strengthening Security, Peace, Justice and Health

In Bhutan, strengthening capacities of stakeholders, fostering multi-stakeholder action and enhancing public awareness are key to countering Trafficking in Persons (TIP). In this context, UNODC has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to facilitate and strengthen multi-sectoral responses to TIP. Through this SOP, engaging local government officials, civil society representatives and district courts has been a key area of focus for UNODC.  On 7-8 April, UNODC, in partnership with Department of Law and Order and Bhutan National Legal Institute, organised a two-day training for over 16 judges on the SOP for TIP. The workshop introduced mandates of UNODC to the participants and focused towards strengthening legal responses to TIP. Another two-day training program on the SOP for over 19 local government counterparts, civil society volunteers from NGO RENEW-CBSS and district courts was held at Gasa on 28-29 April. The issues in focus comprised the TIP Protocol, forms of forced labour, ways to assist and protect victims and responses to counter this crime. Awareness campaigns were also held in schools in Punakha, Gasa, Trongsa and Zhemgang, reaching over 400 students and 21 teachers. During the programs, more than 1,000 facemasks with advocacy messages on TIP were publicly distributed.
(Supported by US Department of State)
Maldives: Engaging Judiciary with Capacity Building on Countering Terrorism
On 06 May, UNODC organized and delivered the second in a series of counter-terrorism training courses for officials of the Prosecutor General’s Office in the Maldives. The event focused on fundamental human rights relevant in the counter-terrorism context and their main features, including the prosecution of terrorism offences. The training was held under the project “Support to Maldives on Counter-Terrorism” carried out with support of the European Union.

(Supported by the European Union) 
Sri Lanka: Enhancing law enforcement responses against Trafficking in Persons
 In April, UNODC convened two capacity building workshops on countering Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in Colombo. The workshops were held in collaboration with the National Police Academy of Sri Lanka and attended by over 85 senior police officers attached to Community Police Units of Sri Lanka Police. The workshops aimed at providing the participants with the necessary skills and knowledge to identify, prevent and counter TIP and protect and assist victims.
(Supported by British High Commission, Sri Lanka)

On 24-25 May, UNODC South Asia supported the Terrorism Prevention Branch in conducting the Second UNODC high-level dialogue on SAN-PVE, the South Asia regional network of practitioners working on prevention of violent extremism. UNODC South Asia mobilised the participation of senior government officials from India, Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka in the event. Discussions focused on the implementation of the network at the national level by Member States of South Asia and the way forward. Participating delegates from the Member States agreed to implement the network in their respective countries. 

(Supported by Government of Japan)
Maldives: Specialized Risk Assessment Tool for Violent Extremist Prisoners
On 04 May, UNODC held a Roundtable with key stakeholders on the Specialized Risk Assessment Tool developed for the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS) to assess the risk of Violent Extremist Prisoners (VEPs). The roundtable aimed to receive substantive feedback on the Dhivehi translation of the tool in order to ensure alignment with local sensitivities. The Prisoner Classification and Specialized Risk Assessment Tool was developed under the project “Support to Counter Terrorism to Maldives”.

(Supported by the European Union)
Maldives: Countering Violent Extremism through Effective Prison Management 
In April, UNODC organized a workshop on ‘Assessment of Risk of Violent Extremist Prisoner (VEP) Misconduct’ in Male, with participation of 14 commissioned officers of the Maldives Correctional Service (MCS). The training was delivered in Dhivehi—the local language of the Maldives—on the specific request of the Commissioner of Prisons. The objective of the workshop was to train senior prison officials on effectively implementing the Specialized Risk Assessment Tool developed by UNODC. 

(Supported by the European Union)
Responding to the second wave of COVID-19 in India, UNODC built and mobilised online youth collectives in May, as part of the ‘Lockdown Learners series’ (in support of the global Education for Justice Initiative) to provide a positive framework of action for young people. Under this initiative, young people—especially from rural areas—used Whatsapp and online platforms to connect with their communities and create information exchange mechanisms. Students and community members are ideating and designing ways to support COVID-19 responses using this network-centred approach, such as: raising awareness on vaccines and COVID-19 prevention, verifying and disseminating credible information, providing knowledge assistance by sharing information on hospitals and essential helplines, and building support groups on SDGs, gender equality and mental health issues. In May, UNODC conducted dialogues with, and reached over 900 young people and community members from across 6 Indian States, with more networks expected to be created over the coming days. Since April 2020, UNODC has directly interacted with over 9000 students, educators and community members across 15 Indian States/UTs through over 300 dialogues as part of the Lockdown Learners series. In addition, E4J material has been shared with over 19,000 students and educators, besides 636 government-run Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas school chain.

(Supported by Government of Qatar)
On 20 May, UNODC South Asia, under the GLO.ACT-Bangladesh project, organized a virtual exchange meeting with the Bangladesh Parliamentarians’ Caucus on Migration and Development. In the discussions, UNODC briefed participants on its mandate, with special focus on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) and Smuggling of Migrants (SOM). Members of the Caucus also shared their mission and vision on migration-related issues. The meeting helped UNODC identify potential activities/interventions for collaboration with the Caucus aimed at addressing TIP and SOM in Bangladesh.
(Supported by the European Union)
Bangladesh: UNODC elected as 'Chair' of Counter Trafficking Technical Working Group
On 02 May, UNODC South Asia was elected as the Chair of the Counter Trafficking Technical Working Group established under the Bangladesh United Nations Network on Migration. The working group consists of 5 UN agencies and 17 international organisations and civil society groups working in the area of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) in Bangladesh. As the Chair, UNODC will coordinate the implementation of the joint action plan of the Working Group, which aims at supporting the efforts of the Government of Bangladesh in providing assistance to TIP victims.

(Supported by the European Union)
Bangladesh/Sri Lanka: UNODC Strengthens Law Enforcement Capacities to counter New Psychoactive Substances
UNODC convened two national consultations on new psychoactive substances for forensic and law enforcement officials of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh on 11 May and 19 May respectively. Building on the first regional consultation for South Asia held in July 2020, the national consultations featured intensive dialogues on the rising trends in trafficking of synthetic opioids and new psychoactive substances in the region, with implications for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. UNODC experts briefed participants on the Early Warning Advisory system, UN Toolkit, and global and regional trends vis-à-vis illicit trafficking. Discussions focused on recommendations to foster regional cooperation and coordination among stakeholders. 

(Supported by GLO.SMART Global Project)
Bangladesh: Participation in CCPCJ side-event on technical cooperation to counter Smuggling of Migrants
On 17 May, UNODC South Asia, under the GLO.ACT-Bangladesh project, facilitated the participation of Mr Md. Jahangir Alam, Additional Secretary (Political and ICT), Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of Bangladesh as one of the key speakers in the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) side-event on “New rights-based technical cooperation tools to support implementation of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol”. In his remarks, Mr. Alam reflected on the UNODC Toolkit for mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality into criminal justice interventions to address Smuggling of Migrants, and early findings of the Bangladesh National Study on Trafficking in Persons. 
Sri Lanka: Expert consultations on international legal framework and responses to counter terrorism

On 11 May, UNODC organized the second in a series of two national workshops focused on the International Legal Framework on Counter-Terrorism and Special Investigative Techniques (SITs) in Terrorism-Related Cases. Discussions focused on open source intelligence, biometric technology for identity management, challenges in forensic science and ethical considerations, and international human rights standards. The event was attended by Sri Lankan government officials, law enforcement agencies and international experts. On 20 May, UNODC delivered the fourth in a series of training courses aimed at enhancing the capacity, skills and knowledge of officials from the Attorney General’s Department in Sri Lanka. 
(Supported by the European Union)
Sri Lanka: UNODC Promotes Non-Custodial Measures through Capacity Building and Research 

To assist Member States in fostering criminal justice reform, UNODC focuses on promoting the practical application of the Nelson Mandela Rules, the UN Standard Minimum Rules for Non-Custodial Measures, as well as the implementation of the relevant targets of Agenda 2030. In this context, a range of targeted interventions have been spearheaded, aimed at promoting alternatives to imprisonment and building capacities of governments on effective prison management and security. In this direction, UNODC convened two workshops in April in collaboration with the Community Based Corrections Department, Sri Lanka and with the support of the Government of Germany. Over 65 officers, working in the North Western and Western Province of Sri Lanka, participated in the trainings. The workshops aimed at providing officials with knowledge and skills to effectively implement community correction orders, promote non-custodial measures and address the issue of overcrowding in prisons. The discussions focused on the international framework governing alternatives to imprisonment, the importance of establishing and implementing the Community Based Corrections Program at various levels, and referring drug dependents for rehabilitation, using community orders, among others.

(Supported by Government of Germany)
UNODC Global Strategy (2021-2025)
UNODC’s mission is to contribute to global peace and security, human rights and development by making the world safer from drugs, crime, corruption and terrorism. Our new Global Strategy (2021-2025) will equip UNODC to deliver effectively, efficiently and with accountability, elevating our support to Member States to build just, inclusive and resilient societies that leave no one behind.  Our interventions will pay special attention to human rights, protection of children, gender equality, empowerment of women and youth.
Join the UNODC Network in South Asia
Our Partners
Our activities in South Asia are possible
due to the generous support of:

  • British High Commission, Sri Lanka
  • European Union
  • Germany
  • India
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • Qatar
  • United Kingdom
  • United States of America
Government Partners:
  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka
Call for Partnerships:
Impacting Lives with Innovation
Building Back Better from COVID-19: Leaving No One Behind
In response to COVID-19, and its impact on vulnerable groups and emerging risks to security and peace, UNODC Regional Office for South Asia has developed a wide range of projects and initiatives on the following thematic areas:

-- Addressing Gender-based Violence
-- Strengthening Law Enforcement Responses
-- Countering Corruption
-- Youth Engagement through Education
-- Promoting Family Skills
-- Addressing the Needs of Drug Users, those with HIV/AIDS and Hep-C and those in prison settings
-- Strengthening Responses to COVID-19 in Prisons
-- Countering Cybercrime and Promoting Online Safety
-- Responding to the Needs of Human Trafficking Survivors, Refugees, Migrants and the Homeless 

Active support from partners is requested to enable the implementation of these programs and to scale-up efforts to promote security, justice and health among vulnerable groups in South Asia. Our partnerships aim at building national and regional alliances on our mandates, which are closely linked to national, regional and global priorities as well as the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Let's join hands to enable and aid large-scale and impactful initiatives that help people lead safer and healthier lives .  Your support can make all the difference!

To know more, please contact:

Mr. Samarth Pathak
Communications Officer
UNODC Regional Office for South Asia
Cellphone: +91-9811347927
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) assists Member States in their efforts to combat illicit drugs and international crime. Over the past two decades, the UNODC Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) has been working with governments and civil society in Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, providing specialized assistance to address challenges pertaining to drugs, organised crime, security, justice and health. The commitment to Sustainable Development Goals, human rights and the rule of law is at the core of our mandate.
Contact Us

C-97 (Ground Floor), Defence Colony, New Delhi-110024, India
Email: samarth.pathak@un.org

Website: www.unodc.org/southasia/
Facebook: @unodc.rosa
Twitter: @unodc_rosa

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