27 November 2010 - Kabul/Vienna (UNODC) - In a meeting today with Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), reaffirmed his Office's commitment to supporting national efforts in counter-narcotics and crime prevention.
"Building the capacity of national institutions and developing effective measures to address drugs and crime issues are of the utmost importance, and this is the core of the Afghanization process. We always have to keep in mind how we impact the lives of the people in Afghanistan", Mr. Fedotov stressed.
He reiterated the principle of 'shared responsibility' and the need to build national, regional and international efforts in a comprehensive action-oriented strategy to address the cultivation, production and trafficking of the drugs. "This global threat requires coordinated regional and international action", Mr. Fedotov said.
Mr. Fedotov also cautioned against finger-pointing between drug-consumer and drug-producing countries. Consumer countries have long produced synthetic and other drugs and producer countries have witnessed dramatic levels of addiction. "As much as demand creates supply, supply creates demand", he underlined.
"Drugs are ruining lives in Afghanistan itself. Prisons are overcrowded because of this, HIV is spreading among injecting drug users, and today, the everyday human drama can be witnessed in too many homes here", he said.
The Executive Director of UNODC visited Janagalak Drug Treatment Centre and expressed his deep concern over the very high number of drug users who still do not have access to comprehensive treatment services. He called upon the international community to support the national efforts to improve coverage of drug treatment and HIV prevention services.
With prisoner numbers spiralling out of control due to annual increases of some 5,000 inmates, alternate sentencing and treatment services are needed. "I have seen in Kabul Women Prison - Badam Bagh, the efforts of the national government, in particular the Central Prison Department. The Badam Bagh is a model in Afghanistan for improving the quality of the life of prisoners. We have to ensure that additional resources and facilities are available for the incarcerated population, in particular women and children in institutional closed settings", he said.
When discussing drug profits, one also automatically has to face the challenge of corruption, which impedes the efforts of the national government in reconstruction and stabilization. In supporting anti-corruption measures, UNODC is assisting the High Office of Oversight, Attorney General's Office and Ministry of Justice.
At the meeting with the Director General of High Office of Oversight, Mr. Fedotov assured him that UNODC stood committed to assisting the Government in its anti-corruption efforts. "Afghanistan has made an important commitment by ratifying the UN Convention against Corruption, and UNODC will support Afghanistan in its implementation", he added.
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