New UN drugs and crime chief to focus on public health and rights-based approach

September, 13 2010 - Yury Fedotov of the Russian Federation today took office as the new Director-General of the United Nations Office at Vienna (UNOV) and Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).  
Appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Mr. Fedotov will forge UNODC's drugs and crime policy, placing a strong emphasis on safeguarding health, human rights and justice.
"UNODC works to improve the lives of people and communities worldwide," said Mr. Fedotov, a former Deputy Foreign Minister.  "Public health and human rights must therefore be central to that work."   
"I want this Office to make a significant contribution to economic and social progress," said Mr. Fedotov. "Illicit drugs, crime and corruption cut lives short and retard prosperity, whereas justice and health spur development. We can play our part in the global fight against poverty and to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals."
"As ever, the poor and vulnerable suffer most. Whether we talk of the victims of human trafficking, communities oppressed by corrupt leaders, unfair criminal justice systems or drug users marginalized by society, we are committed to making a positive difference."
"Drug dependence is a health disorder, and drug users need humane and effective treatment - not punishment," he added. "Drug treatment should also promote the prevention of HIV."
Taking charge of the UN's drugs and crime arm, Mr. Fedotov said, "UNODC has extended its activities and impact significantly over the years. I am looking forward to a period of consolidation, as we reinforce the Office's governance and financial mechanisms in order to keep up with the world's growing drugs and crime challenges."
A seasoned diplomat, Mr. Fedotov has represented his country at the United Nations' main deliberative organs in New York. He has also been posted to Algeria and India and served as a member of the College of Commissioners of the former United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission in Iraq.  His awards include the Order of Friendship, several medals and the Certificate of Appreciation from the President of the Russian Federation.
"I have chosen him because of his strong commitment to the United Nations cause, his credentials, expertise and experience," said Mr. Ban.  Mr. Fedotov succeeds Antonio Maria Costa, who headed UNODC and UNOV since 2002.

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