Statement of UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, on International Migrants Day

18 December 2017

Vienna, 18 December 2017 - Migrants and refugees face appalling exploitation and abuse as they flee conflicts and economic crises. Many are so desperate they are risking their lives by crossing savage seas and blazing deserts.

Thousands of women, children and men are dying in these frantic attempts. Along these wretched routes, the criminals are waiting. Torture, violence, extortion and kidnapping are just some of the crimes faced by these vulnerable mass movements as they seek sanctuary. 

We must protect and uphold the rights of all migrants and refugees, break up the criminal gangs and provide safe channels for migration. Last year's New York Declaration provides a powerful platform for the assistance of migrants, and it will be strengthened by the global compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.

UNODC encourages every country to adopt and fully implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols on migrant smuggling and human trafficking. These protocols offer unparalleled provisions for international cooperation against those who prey on migrants and refugees.    

On International Migrants Day, I call on every nation to join the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and to pursue justice by undertaking the necessary action to end the violence and abuse of migrants and refugees.

For further information, please contact:

David Dadge
Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org