World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 

Drug-Related Crime Imperils Safety In The Americas

Drug-Related Crime Biggest Threat To Public Safety In The Americas, Warns UN

New York, Oct 9 2008 1:10PM

Drug trafficking and the violence committed by its associated organized crime is the biggest threat to public safety in the Americas, according to the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). “As a hemisphere, the Americas face the world’s biggest drug problem,” Antonio Maria Costa told the first-ever gathering of the Ministers Responsible for Public Safety of the Americas, during their meeting yesterday in Mexico City.

Mr. Costa added that “whether we measure it in hectares of cultivation, tons of production, its market value or even by the gruesome number of people killed in the dirty trade,” the drug crisis affecting the security of the ordinary people in the area is huge.

“Your citizens indeed say that what they fear the most is not terrorism, not climate change, not a financial crisis. It is public safety. And in the Americas, the biggest threat to public safety comes from drug trafficking and the violence perpetrated by organized crime,” he stated.

Mr. Costa pointed out that urban violence in the United States, biker gangs in Canada, the brutality and kidnapping in Mexico, the insurgency in Colombia and gangs in Brazilian shantytowns, Central America and the Caribbean are all connected to drug crime.

Drug-related crime has turned some neighbourhoods into combat zones, observed Mr. Costa, as he urged municipal authorities to play a greater role in enhancing security for their citizens.

“Experience shows that pro-poor housing reform, youth programmes, rejuvenation of public spaces, widening access to public services and introducing public surveillance technology can create safer cities,” he said.

Citing a UNODC report on the threat of narco-trafficking in the Americas, Mr. Costa explained that the continent differs from other drug-infested regions because drug demand is largely satisfied with supply, as South America produces almost all of the world’s cocaine and North America consumes half of it while most of the rest goes to Europe.

Although some progress had been made in reducing the supply of narcotics, with cocaine production in Andean countries well below the levels of a decade ago, Mr. Costa noted that the demand for drugs remains constant.

“Until the number of cocaine users falls worldwide, the problems caused by narco-trafficking with be displaced (as we are now seeing in West Africa) rather than solved,” he said.

“Until more resources are put into drug treatment and prevention as well as viable alternatives for illicit crops, narco-traffickers will continue to ply their lucrative and deadly trade across the Western hemisphere,” Mr. Costa warned.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

C40: UN Secretary-General's Remarks To Meeting With Leading Mayors Supported By Cities

UN Secretary-General's remarks to Meeting with Leading Mayors Supported by C40 Cities: “Advancing a Carbon-Neutral, Resilient Recovery for Cities and Nations” 16 April 2021 Thank you for joining me today, and for your commitment and leadership. Cities ... More>>

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>