segunda-feira, 17 de outubro de 2011

Drug trafficking tops agenda in Azerbaijan visit

Drug trafficking tops agenda in Azerbaijan visitShoring up a flood of drugs - Afghan heroin enters Iran’s eastern border World Drug

October 2011 - The Executive Director of UNODC, Yury Fedotov, and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Heydar oglu Aliyev, met this week to discuss several core issues during a visit by the UN's chief anti-drug and crime official to the country's capital, Baku. President Aliyev and Mr. Fedotov covered areas including drug control, demand reduction, organized crime and anti-money laundering, in a visit which coincided with the country's hosting of the International Conference on the Fight against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs.

Speaking on the meeting with President Aliyev, the Executive Director noted Azerbaijan's work in relation to drug control in the country, both from a local and regional perspective: "I welcome the Governments efforts in prioritizing drug control. There is a strong link between organized crime and illicit drugs and the need for regional cooperation is more important than ever. Only by dealing with these issues as a collective and not on their own can we see the difference."

Since establishing a presence in the country in 2007, UNODC has cooperated closely with Azerbaijani officials on a number of fronts.

Countering drug trafficking remains one of the key collaborative efforts. In a transit country such as Azerbaijan, heroin is moved from Afghanistan onwards to Europe necessitating increasingly advanced surveillance. Earlier this year Azerbaijan began participating in the joint UNODC-World Customs Organization Container Control Programme, the aim of which is to develop a network of border control cooperation units at various land and sea ports to stem the flow of drugs, precursors and other illegal goods.

The formation of the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre (CARICC) is an example of the concrete steps being taken to enhance regional efforts to fight drug trafficking. This UNODC-initiated centre brings together law enforcement agencies from Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Russia and facilitates cross-border information sharing and enhanced coordination and implementation of counter-narcotic operational activities.

Often linked with drug trafficking, tackling corruption is an important component of UNODCs work. Discussing this in relation to Azerbaijan, Mr. Fedotov noted the commitment of authorities in combating this crime and the support for the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC). Recent moves such as the establishment of the Anti-Corruption Department within the General Prosecutor's Office are welcome in dealing with this scourge.

While in Baku the Executive Director also made a welcoming address at the International Conference on the Fight against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs in which he spoke of the pain and misery caused by the global trade in illicit drugs. In recognizing the challenges behind tackling the threat causes by this trade, Mr. Fedotov noted three crucial steps that need to be taken: first, further acknowledgment is needed that tackling the drug trade is not the responsibility of only a handful of countries - it is a joint problem requiring the collective action of the international community; second, while drug crimes are often local in nature, the solutions must be global particularly given the nature of drug trafficking which is at the centre of a shifting web of transnational organized crime; and lastly the causal connections between drug trafficking and insecurity must be taken into account, specifically with regard to the production and trafficking of narcotics which inhibits security, and promotes corruption, criminality, terrorism and instability.

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