Vienna, 7 November 2016 - Links between terrorists and criminal networks are a clear danger to peacekeeping operations, the Executive Director of the UNODC, Yury Fedotov, told the Security Council today.
Mr. Fedotov was speaking at a Security Council open debate on peacekeeping operations facing asymmetrical threats that was also addressed by the UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson. The debate was chaired by the Foreign Minister of Senegal, Mankeur Ndiaye and other speakers included Jean-Paul Laborde, the Executive Director of the Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate.
"In Afghanistan, the Taliban levies payments from drug traffickers in exchange for protecting them. ISIL in the Middle East is profiting from the illicit trafficking in cultural property, oil and kidnapping for ransom," said Mr. Fedotov.
He went on to say that West African criminals paid terrorists for safe passage as they trafficked people, weapons, drugs and tobacco across the Sahel and Sahara and onwards to Europe. In Nigeria, the Executive Director pointed to Boko Haram's involvement in criminal activities and said in Somalia, al-Shabaab received income from illicit charcoal exports and piracy.
Mr. Fedotov identified violent extremism as another challenge to peacekeeping missions. He welcomed the UN Secretary-General's formation of a high-level action group on the subject and said: "UNODC seeks to implement a number of capacity building projects to improve criminal justice systems and promote the rule of law."
UNODC's projects, undertaken with its partners, cover prevention of radicalization and violence in prisons; preventing the recruitment of terrorists, and foreign terrorist fighters, including through the Internet; supporting terrorism victims; and developing regional and national action plans to prevent violent extremism, among others.
Mr. Fedotov said many of these projects focused on the Sahel, as well as West, North and East African countries and were delivered through UNODC's offices on the ground. He stressed that UNODC's work in Africa was also enhanced by its partnerships especially with the Department of Peackeeping Operations (DPKO), but also with the G5 Sahel, Department of Political Affairs (DPA)/the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWAS) and INTERPOL.
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