Vienna / Nairobi. 28 March 2011. The Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, today met with several key Kenyan public officials to discuss ongoing and future work in the country and the region. "Kenya's role is pivotal in East Africa and the country is a vital partner in tackling emerging threats to regional and international security in areas such as piracy and illicit drugs", said Mr. Fedotov.
The meetings form part of a wider visit which will include discussing drug dependency issues with NGOs and state partners, and visiting the Shimo Le Tewa prison and court house in Mombasa as part of UNODC's counter-piracy work in the region.
Mr. Fedotov's meetings with the Minister of Justice Mr. Mutula Kilonzo, the Minister for Medical Services Prof. Anyang Nyong'o, and Kenya's Attorney General, Mr. S. Amos Wako, reflect the diverse yet interrelated work of UNODC in East Africa. Through the Office's programmes, UNODC is working on issues related to police reform, criminal justice, counter-terrorism, piracy and the trafficking of illicit drugs.
UNODC have been working extensively with Kenyan authorities through the National Task Force on Police Reforms and the Police Reforms Implementation Committee which aim to develop legislation and a police reform implementation programme. UNODC have also been working alongside Kenya's Directorate of Public Prosecutions in streamlining the country's prosecution services - a critical move as a prosecuting country to counter-piracy efforts which has seen Kenya step-up the transfer of convicted pirates back to Somalia.
During his visit Mr. Fedotov reiterated his Office's commitment to furthering assistance in drug dependence treatment. This follows a sudden surge for demand of drug dependence treatment services in January 2011 and UNODC played a pivotal role in assisting the Government in its response. "UNODC recognizes that drug dependence is a disease and not a crime. Treatment is a critical component when we talk about countering the use of illicit drugs and it has been proven that this offers a far more effective cure than punishment", said Mr. Fedotov.
UNODC's work in Kenya forms part of the wider Eastern Africa regional approach designed to take into account overlapping geographic and thematic issues. Started in late-2009, the regional approach focuses on priority areas such as capacity building of international cooperation on law enforcement, strengthening of border control, anti-corruption and prison reform.
One such example of the necessity to adopt an integrated, cross-country strategy is in piracy. UNODC's counter-piracy activities are aimed at building the capacity of the country's law enforcement and criminal justice systems, prosecuting suspected pirates in Somaliland and Puntland, as well as improving prison conditions to meet minimum international standards.
In Kenya specifically, UNODC's work has centred on reviewing the country's legal frameworks, supporting and training prosecutors and police, and improving court and prison facilities. UNDOC have been particularly active in Shimo La Tewa, where the newly built court room and refurbished prison ensures sufficient levels of security for on trial prisoners, officials and witnesses alike, while maintaining a humane approach towards imprisonment.
In Nairobi, Kenya:
Wayne Miller, Counter-Piracy Programme: UNODC
T: (+254) 20-762-1819 | M: (+254) 701-749-934 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Vienna, Austria:
Kevin Town, Associate Public Information Officer: UNODC
T: (+43-1) 26060-5575 | M: (+43-699) 1459-5575 | E: email@example.com