This June, the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants will meet in Vienna and virtually. Participants from around the world will discuss national practices on current issues related to this crime and gaps and challenges in the implementation of the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants in their respective countries.
They will also make recommendations on how States that have ratified the Protocol can better implement the provisions of this international treaty.
Chairing the Working Group is a great responsibility. I will lead the discussion, interact with delegations and ensure equal opportunities for all. I will also facilitate the dialogue and make the negotiation process as smooth as possible. These are sometimes very challenging tasks.
Every year, the Working Group brings together experts and practitioners from around the world. They have a unique opportunity to share with each other their experience, challenges and ideas on how to better combat the smuggling of migrants and ensure the protection of the human rights of smuggled migrants.
This year the Working Group will discuss best practices in cooperating with the private sector and national procedures for investigating the smuggling of migrants, with a view to enhancing international cooperation. In the experience of experts from all regions, these two aspects represent key points in addressing the challenges of migrant smuggling, and I am confident that the sharing of experiences and best practices on these issues will lead the Working Group to adopt solid and focused recommendations. This will help Member States, globally, to increase their capacity to dismantle criminal organizations involved in migrant smuggling.
When the Mechanism for the Review of the Implementation of UNTOC and its Protocols was adopted, all State Parties agreed that the magnitude and complexity of threats posed by the smuggling of migrants require a strong engagement of all relevant stakeholders in the review process, including non-governmental organizations. The dialogue with civil society is a great opportunity for States to hear what citizens believe is necessary to do to better address all the multifaceted aspects of migrant smuggling, and I will spare no effort to make this dialogue effective and truly “constructive”.
Of course, it is. The Protocol embodies the most advanced cooperation tools available globally. Given the transnational nature of this particular form of crime, it is essential that States and their national authorities count on a global instrument as a legal basis for judicial and law enforcement cooperation. In fact, most of the successful investigations and prosecutions of criminal organizations involved in migrant smuggling have been grounded on the exchange of information, legal assistance tools and extradition procedures based on UNTOC and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants.