Dhaka, Bangladesh, 27 April 2023 – A specialized two-day workshop on international cooperation, including mutual legal assistance (MLA), took place in Dhaka on 26 to 27 April 2023 – the first of its kind. 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 24 (5 female/19 male) participants 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, which focused on enhancing the national stakeholders’ knowledge about the national and international legal instruments on international cooperation; its forms, principles as well as tools developed by UNODC to facilitate efforts of Members States in drafting successful mutual legal assistance (MLA) requests, served as a timely opportunity for the nominated participants of the upcoming bilateral meetings with the authorities of Libya and with Malaysia. By providing an opportunity to enhance their knowledge in MLA matters as well as to exchange with those from other agencies, the participants were able to gain 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 says “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” underlined 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.
The workshop kicked off with a presentation by Mahdy Hassan, National Program Coordinator, GLO.ACT-Bangladesh, who gave an overview of GLO.ACT Bangladesh 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.
Day two 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.
Then, a wide range of tools developed by UNODC to facilitate international cooperation and knowledge management, including SHERLOC database, Digest of Cases on International Cooperation involving UNTOC as a legal bases were also shared with the audience.
The workshop concluded with the demonstration of the UNODC MLA Requests Writer Tool and a practical work on drafting an MLA request based on the TIP case study tailored to the context of the training.
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.
Through targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions, the GLO.ACT aims to support the Government of Bangladesh and civil society organizations to more effectively fight the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling across the country. The project works on developing evidence-based information on trafficking and smuggling patterns and trends, legislative review and harmonization, capability development of criminal justice actors, and international cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and migrants in vulnerable situations 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.
For more information, please contact:
Mahdy Hassan, GLO.ACT National Programme Coordinator