Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries

Promotion of cooperation among the countries in West and Central Asia to better address the issue of the International Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners  

Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic, 4 August 2016

Bishkek, 3-4 August 2016. A regional workshop on "Promotion of cooperation among the countries in West and Central Asia to better address the issue of the International Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners" was organized under Sub-Programme 2 of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighboring Countries.

The objective of the event was twofold: discussing and identifying elements for a common regional practice for the transfer of foreign sentenced prisoners, and increasing the common understanding among participants on the purposes and scope of application of international transfer of sentenced prisoners (ITSP) and the various options available, with a view to identifying a regionally adapted practice among relevant officials from Afghanistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

In total, twenty eight (28) participants from different organizations and governmental agencies of Afghanistan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan participated to this this 2 day event, exchanging best practices at regional and bilateral level. During the event participants were provided with the relevant information and available international legal instruments enabling the transfer of sentenced persons, as well as a practical perspectives on how sentenced prisoners are transferred within different frameworks, including the Council of Europe Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners and the UNODC Global Maritime Crime Programme. Additionally the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Kyrgyzstan presented the role of the ICRC vis a vis foreigners detained in Kyrgyzstan.

The interactive nature of this event triggered lively and intense discussions on the challenges that the participating countries are facing both at regional and international level, including those posed by the variety of legal systems at regional level as well as the lack of necessary legal instruments. Therefore, all participants agreed on the importance and need for regional coordination and assistance mechanisms in addition to those already in place at bilateral level.

In particular, the idea of negotiating a regional convention under the auspices of a regional organization was considered worthy to explore. 

Sub-Programme 2 of the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, in cooperation with the Justice section, through this workshop, provided impetus for increased attention to this important area for regional cooperation, and given the positive outcome more workshops will be organized on this subject matter in the near future.

UNODC thanked Finland and the European Union for funding the workshop.