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Crime Poses Serious Threat to Peacekeeping

Organized Crime Poses Serious Threat to Peacekeeping Operations – UN

United Nations peacekeeping forces need to take a more coordinated approach to prevent, disrupt and dismantle organized crime in the countries where they operate, a top UN policing official said today.

Andrew Hughes, the UN Police Adviser, warned that such crime could be a “major spoiler” of UN efforts to restore peace and security to countries that are gradually emerging from conflict.

“Dealing with organized crime is incredibly complex, but one of the advantages we have in post-conflict societies is that because state infrastructures have often broken down, organized crime is more visible,” he said.

“However, because these countries often do not have fully functioning legal systems, dealing with organized crime is a particular challenge.”

Policing and law enforcement experts gathered in Stockholm last month for a two-day meeting of the International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC), organized by the Police Division of the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO).

Briefing journalists today on the Stockholm meeting, Mr. Hughes said participants noted that “organized crime is comprised of networks and the best way to tackle networks is through networks” between all the major actors in international policing and law enforcement.

Many UN peace operations have already been mandated to tackle organized crime, with blue helmets taking part in “gang-clearing” activities in Haiti, fighting drug trafficking in Afghanistan and Guinea-Bissau, tackling the black market in Timor-Leste and combating illicit arms trafficking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Policing has become the fastest growing component of UN peacekeeping, Mr. Hughes said, with the number of authorized police officers doubling between January 2006 and January this year. There are now nearly 12,000 UN Police in the field. The percentage of women officers has also doubled, rising over the past four years from 4 per cent to 8 per cent.


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