27 March 2009 - In just over two years, the Dominican Republic has taken huge strides in developing its legal regime against terrorism. In 2006, the State had ratified just 4 of the 16 international instruments aimed at countering terrorism, one of the lowest number of ratifications of any State in the Americas. Today, the Dominican Republic has ratified 12. Furthermore, it has gone from having no national legal provisions for countering terrorism to enacting a comprehensive counter-terrorism act in July last year.
The assistance of the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch has been instrumental to such progress. The Dominican Republic is just one of several States that has taken significant steps in implementing an adequate legal regime against terrorism, in line with the requirements of the 16 international legal instruments and relevant Security Council resolutions. These efforts are being supported through specialized legal assistance.
UNODC started assisting the Dominican Republic at that State's request in July 2006, when the Terrorism Prevention Branch organized a legislative technical assistance mission to the country aimed at increasing awareness of the need for appropriate counter-terrorism legislation. The Branch also provided advice for the draft counter-terrorism bill. Subsequently, a high-level delegation that included representatives of the Government and the National Assembly visited Vienna in November 2006, during which time they received further advice on the ratification and implementation of the universal legal instruments. An important outcome of this visit was the adoption of a national action plan, in which the authorities committed themselves to work on the ratification of the international legal instruments with UNODC assistance.
In September 2007, staff of the Terrorism Prevention Branch returned to the Dominican Republic to provide legal advice on the counter-terrorism bill and specialized training to criminal justice officials.
The Dominican Republic has also hosted two ministerial conferences. The first conference, held in March 2007, brought together 14 Caribbean States and culminated in the adoption of the Declaration of Santo Domingo (A/61/933-S/2007/319, annex), in which the continued commitment of all participating States to the fight against terrorism was reiterated. The second conference, held in February 2009, engaged various entities of UNODC dealing with issues related to illicit drugs, organized crime and terrorism. This conference concluded with the adoption of the Political Declaration on Combating Illicit Drug Trafficking, Organized Crime, Terrorism and Other Serious Crimes in the Caribbean.
Throughout, the Terrorism Prevention Branch of UNODC has worked closely with the Inter-American Committee against Terrorism of the Organization of American States (OAS) to ensure that the efforts of UNODC and OAS are complementary.
The strong commitment demonstrated by the Government of the Dominican Republic, the sustained efforts made and the assistance provided paid off in July last year, when the Dominican Republic adopted a counter-terrorism act covering a wide array of issues, making it one of the most comprehensive texts of its nature in the region.
Intense collaboration with the Terrorism Prevention Branch has heightened awareness and strengthened political commitment in the Dominican Republic. UNODC will continue to work with the Government through its representatives in Vienna. Many States face the challenge of ensuring that newly adopted laws are understood and applied in daily work. A key element in meeting that challenge is the provision of specialized training for criminal justice officials.
Over the last six years, the UNODC Terrorism Prevention Branch has assisted 164 States in improving their legal counter-terrorism regime. Furthermore, the Branch has provided 7,700 criminal justice officials with specialized training and held more than 60 subregional and regional thematic workshops. This work has been made possible through generous voluntary contributions from 21 donor States.
Read more about the counter-terrorism work of UNODC.