The Hague, Netherlands, 9 June 2023 – UNODC, under the Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GLO.ACT Asia and the Middle East), facilitated from 24 to 26 May a three-day liaison visit of Iraqi criminal justice experts to the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) and the European Union Agency for Criminal Justice Cooperation (Eurojust).
Smuggling of Migrants has emerged over recent months as one of the most prevalent and financially lucrative forms of transnational organized crime, and UNODC through its GLO.ACT project is working closely with the authorities of Iraq to develop laws intended to criminalize such activity and provide technical support to the development of operational capacity. International cooperation in the sharing of intelligence and evidence, and the mutual provision of support to investigations, is an essential component of any successful response to migrant smuggling.
Speaking about the liaison visit, Martin Reeve, UNODC GLO.ACT Regional Adviser said, "Transnational organized crimes, such as migrant smuggling, can only be defeated when criminal justice actors collaborate across borders. This meeting of senior Iraqi officials, and officials of Europol and Eurojust, is an important step in enhancing international cooperation by sharing experiences and establishing reliable channels of communication to eradicate smuggling of migrants from and through Iraqi territory."
Throughout the visit, the Iraqi delegation, comprised of senior civil servants, investigating judges and operational investigators from both Federal Iraq and the Kurdistan Region, exchanged knowledge and experiences with officials of Europol and Eurojust on the current situation pertaining to migrant smuggling from and through Iraqi territory to the European Union and discussed ways to enhance police and judicial cooperation in these matters.
Reflecting on the cooperation visit, Dr Mazin Lilo Radhi, Counsellor to the Iraqi State Council, stated, "International cooperation in combating crimes of an international nature, including migrant smuggling and human trafficking, has become the main mechanism for addressing transnational crime. Our visit to Europol and Eurojust aimed to explore the most effective means of cooperation between judicial agencies and law enforcement authorities and to enhance their capabilities in combatting these specific types of crimes. Considering our work in the State Council of Iraq, we will strive to establish the legal framework to facilitate this cooperation through bilateral agreements, legislation, and memorandums of understanding."
The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year 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) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.
The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.
The project is funded by the European Union
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