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UNIS/NAR/739
7 March 2002

Central Asian Countries Meet To Strengthen Legal Cooperation In Fight Against Organized Crime And Illicit Drug Trafficking

Almaty, Kazakhstan, 5-7 March 2002


VIENNA, 7 March (UN Information Service) – Issues related to the strengthening of legal cooperation in the fight against illicit drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime was the focus of a three-day meeting, which ended today in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The Conference was jointly organized by the Government of Kazakhstan and the Regional Office of the United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (ODCCP).

The Conference provided an opportunity to review comprehensively legal issues related to the prevention and control of the illicit drug trade, traffic in firearms and other forms of organized crime. It considered how various forms of mutual legal assistance (such as extradition) work nowadays, and whether more effective approaches can be explored to eliminate “safe havens” in which criminals may hide from justice.

The Meeting discussed ways and means for speeding up the ratification process of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols. It also considered measures for strengthening technical cooperation efforts to improve the criminal justice situation in the heart of Asia.

Immediately following the closure of the Conference, participants attended a ceremony of joint destruction of drugs and firearms. This ceremony is evidence of the commitment of Kazakhstan to deal with the global threats, which affect the stability in the region and the country’s internal security.

In recent years, Central Asia has become a transit region for trafficking drugs, most of which come from Afghanistan. Trafficking in firearms and human beings have also recently become issues of concern to the region. All these developments pose a great security challenge for law and order in Central Asia and the Governments of the region, who, assisted by the international community, try to exert every effort to address these challenges.

Central Asian countries have signed and/or ratified a number of United Nations conventions against illicit drug trafficking and against transnational organized crime, including the 1988 Convention against Illicit Traffic in Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. They also have signed various bilateral instruments on transborder crime and mutual legal cooperation. These countries, which have only a short record of independence, are joining the international legal regime, thus demonstrating their readiness to contribute to its further development.

The Conference was the first event in Central Asia after the terrorist acts of 11 September 2001 that was designed to discuss in detail various aspects of judicial cooperation in the field of combating organized crime, including its links to terrorism.

Among the participants were senior criminal justice officials from Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, as well as representatives of other States (Armenia, Azerbaijan, France, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, People’s Republic of China, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom, and the United States) and international organizations.

For further information on the Conference please contact:
ODCCP Regional Representative
ODCCP Regional Office, Uzbekistan
Tel: (00998-71) 120-80-50 (up to 56) Fax: (00998071) 120-62-90
Internet: odccp.roca@odccp.uz

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