Valleta/Vienna, 5 October 2017 - Countering maritime crime and ensuring justice on the high seas can safeguard lives and livelihoods, protect human rights, and help realize the Sustainable Development Goals, UNODC Chief Yury Fedotov said today.
"Piracy, drug trafficking, wildlife crime, human trafficking, migrant smuggling: transnational organized crime represents a major threat to security and safety at sea and on land," he said.
UNODC, Mr. Fedotov stated, was helping to disrupt criminal activities in the Indian Ocean and off the Horn of Africa and the coast of West Africa. This included efforts against piracy and armed robbery, heroin trafficking and fisheries crime.
He added UNODC was supporting fair piracy trials, and developing the capacities of maritime law enforcement bodies, including rescues of migrants at sea. Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the fourth high level "Our Ocean Conference" on the threat of security at sea co-hosted by the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and EU Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Karmenu Vella.
The conference calls for participants to announce meaningful actions dedicated to protecting the oceans. On behalf of UNODC, Mr. Fedotov announced two commitments: first, on developing effective sea patrols and responses to counter drug trafficking, piracy and all forms of maritime crime using satellite imagery; and second, he said UNODC would help counter crimes along the fisheries value chain.
Speaking about security at sea, the head of UNODC's Maritime Crime Programme, Alan Cole, said: "We support Member States to confront organized crime across the 70 per cent of the world that is ocean. Efforts tackling illegal fishing, pollution, smuggling, and a host of other crimes occurring out of sight, require a fair and effective rule of law framework and trained maritime law enforcement personnel. This is where UNODC makes a unique difference: by ensuring rules are enforced and justice prevails."
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