Bangkok/Vienna, 29 November 2012 (UNODC) - The Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov began his first official mission to South-East Asia with a visit to Thailand during which he met with the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Surapong Tovichakchaikul.
After noting that Bangkok has been home to the UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific since 1971, Mr. Fedotov re-affirmed UNODC's close partnerships with Thai Government institutions and thanked the Thai Deputy Prime Minister for the country's hospitality and support for UNODC. Mr. Fedotov offered UNODC's assistance to the country's efforts to counter the region's transnational organized crime and illicit drug trafficking.
"The illicit manufacture, trafficking and use of opiates and amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) are the two most significant illicit drug threats in the ASEAN region today. East and South-East Asia account for almost half of the world's methamphetamine seizures. The region is the world's second largest producer of opium, after Afghanistan," said Mr. Fedotov.
In his meetings with Government officials, the Executive Director emphasized the importance of promoting evidence and human rights-based drug treatment approaches rather than compulsory treatment for illicit drug users.
"In Thailand and throughout East Asia, transnational organized criminal syndicates trade in illicit drugs, human beings, counterfeit products, fraudulent medicines, protected natural resources like timber, fish and wildlife, and goods that harm the environment. They are a threat to public health and society's well-being. We need to put them out of business," said Mr. Fedotov.
"UNODC will continue to assist the Government and people of Thailand to fight illicit drugs, organized crime, corruption and terrorism - and to overcome other, emerging obstacles to human security, dignity and development," he said.
As part of his visit to Thailand, Mr. Fedotov met the Commissioner General of the Royal Thai Police, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Justice and other officials from the ministry, including the Secretary-General of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
Mr. Fedotov will visit Thailand's neighbour Myanmar on Friday before visiting UNODC field operations in Shan State over the weekend. Afterwards, he will go on to Viet Nam and Lao People's Democratic Republic before concluding his five-country mission in Indonesia, where he will engage with Government counterparts and the ASEAN leadership.
During his mission, Mr. Fedotov plans to discuss and engage with stakeholders on a broad range of threats including illicit drugs, transnational organized crime, anti-corruption, environmental crimes, including the illegal trade in timber and protected wildlife, and human trafficking and migrant smuggling.
For further information, please contact:
John Bleho Media and Communications Consultant, UNODC Regional Centre for East Asia and the Pacific
Telephone: (+66) 2288 2091 | Mobile: (+66) 81 750 0539 | Email: john.bleho[at]unodc.org
David Dadge: Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43- 1) 26060-5629 | Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org