Bangladesh: UNODC organizes its first-ever national workshop on international cooperation ahead of its bilateral meetings with Libya and Malaysia

Dhaka, Bangladesh, 27 April 2023: A first-of-its kind specialized two-day workshop on international cooperation, including mutual legal assistance (MLA) was held in Dhaka for 24 government officials in Bangladesh, ahead of upcoming bilateral meetings with the authorities of Libya and with Malaysia.  Organized by UNODC under the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Bangladesh (GLO.ACT Bangladesh), the workshop was attended by officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bangladesh Police, the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment.

The workshop enhanced the knowledge of national stakeholders on the national and international legal instruments for international cooperation as well as tools developed by UNODC to facilitate efforts of Members States in drafting successful mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests. Participants also gained a comprehensive understanding of how the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC) and its Protocols can be used as a legal basis for fostering international cooperation, including MLA.

Zubaida Mannan, Joint Secretary, Public Security Division, Ministry of Home Affairs and Deputy Project Director of GLO.ACT-Bangladesh said, “This event reflects the strong solidarity between all relevant agencies in Bangladesh in our steadfast commitment to prevent and suppress human trafficking.”

“The European Union remains at the forefront of the counter-trafficking. Even though we have provided support to many countries in drafting relevant legislation and enhancing capacities of national actors, we recognize that no country alone can tackle the challenges posed by trafficking in persons and the smuggling of migrants,” underscored Maurizio Cian, Head of Cooperation Unit (Minister Counsellor), the Delegation of the European Union to Bangladesh. “As such, to stop these hideous crimes, the international community must work together, and this is where skills and confidence in implementing MLA can play a pivotal role in advancing our joint efforts,” he concluded.

Mahdy Hassan, National Program Coordinator, GLO.ACT-Bangladesh, presented an overview of project, its guiding pillars, and achievements to date. The participants then discussed in detail the definitions of organized criminal group, serious crimes, human trafficking, and the smuggling of migrants as provided for in UNTOC and its protocols as well as in the national laws of Bangladesh.

The first day of the workshop culminated with the analysis of case studies and a presentation from Isaac Espinosa Delgado, Coordinator pro tempore, Human Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants Unit, INTERPOL. The concluding day of the workshop placed a strong focus on scrutinizing UNTOC provisions relevant to international cooperation and MLA, such as Article 16 on Extradition, Article 18 on MLA, Article 19 on Joint Investigations and articles pertinent to identification, seizure and confiscation of proceeds of crimes. A wide range of tools developed by UNODC to facilitate international cooperation and knowledge management, including the SHERLOC database, were also shared with the participants.

The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants - Bangladesh (GLO.ACT Bangladesh) is a joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), led by the Government of Bangladesh. GLO.ACT Bangladesh builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 in 13 partner countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America. 

This activity contributed to SDG 5 and SDG 16:

(Supported by the European Union)