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NZ Signs Treaty To Combat Transnational Crime

NZ Signs Treaty To Combat Transnational Organised Crime


New Zealand today signed the new United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its two Protocols on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.

This week’s UN conference in Palermo, Italy is the culmination of two years of intense negotiations and provides the first opportunity for states to sign the three instruments that the UN General Assembly approved only last month.

The Convention and Protocols are intended to close the major loopholes blocking international efforts to crackdown on groups engaged in a wide range of highly profitable illegal enterprises, including money laundering, and trafficking and smuggling people.

Mr Goff said the Government supported international initiatives to combat organised crime. “Transnational organised crime is a growing problem for all states, including New Zealand. The activities of organised criminal groups are increasingly diverse and often have an international dimension. Many groups are very sophisticated in their operations, taking full advantage of the latest technology.”

“States cannot combat this sort of crime on their own. A concerted and coordinated international effort is needed, on a number of different fronts. However, international initiatives can be effective only if they have widespread support. That is one reason why the conclusion of these instruments is a significant step forward”, Mr Goff said.

A feature of all three instruments is their emphasis on prevention measures, including obligations for every state to develop national strategies to tackle organised crime and to build capacity by providing relevant training for law enforcement personnel. “These, combined with the obligations to share information and provide technical assistance, mean that there will be a much greater pool of information and experience available for states, including New Zealand, to draw on in the future” Mr Goff added.

“A third instrument that targets illicit trafficking in firearms is still under negotiation. I hope that the outstanding issues can be resolved in the new year. New Zealand regards the completion of this instrument as particularly important because of the impact that the illicit trade in firearms has on the lives of innocent people in so many parts of the world,” Mr Goff said.

The Convention and Protocols will come into force when 40 states have ratified them. Mr Goff said New Zealand would begin its domestic ratification process next year. This would involve getting Cabinet approval for the implementation measures required, select committee consideration of the three instruments, and, finally, passage of legislation.

“I would hope that New Zealand will ratify the three instruments at an early date as it is in the interests of all states that the instruments come into force as soon as possible. Ultimately it is international cooperation that provides the key to combating this sort of crime,” Mr Goff said.

Ends


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