I thank M. Fedotov for the very comprehensive briefing. Portugal fully supports UNODC and its work.
Transnational organized crime, no one disputes it, has an increasing impact in international peace and security. This is the reason why we are discussing this issue here today.
The dimension of this phenomenon, with its political and security repercussions, requires an enhanced effort of coordination by the international community. We welcome the action taken by the Council to acknowledge the serious implications and global nature of this threat. They point to the right direction, stressing the need to mainstream the issue of organized crime into conflict-prevention strategies, conflict analysis and integrated-missions assessment, as well as peacebuilding support.
The Council has now to move a step forward, by solidifying this approach, aiming at an early detection of conditions conducive or favoring organized crime which could trigger severe implications for regional and international security. And also, by ensuring that missions in the field are prepared to tackle these challenges as potential threats to peace and security and that the institutions and the legal framework they are helping to build are robust enough to resist and counter organized crime.
Fighting international organized crime is also preventing conflicts to occur or spread out. And conflict prevention is, today, more than ever, central in the SC concerns.
The nature of the threats posed by transnational crime at the national, regional and international levels - by exploiting structural state weaknesses, conditions of poverty and porous borders - seriously undermines development, democratic governance, rule of law and stability in a growing number of states and regions. The complexity of the challenge we have before us requires resolute and effective international and regional action to be developed under the United Nations’ coordination.
And this is more imperative now when we face the evidence of increased synergies between transnational crime networks.
Transnational crime networks will not be easily deterred. They will persist in diversifying further and becoming more and more global, developing close links with non-state armed groups. No part of the world is immune to this threat, which often affects countries in post-conflict transition, struggling to build their own fragile institutions and sustain their development process.
Assisting these countries in countering these threats, in close coordination with the respective regional and sub-regional organizations, is thus essential, as their own success impacts directly on the stability and security at the regional and international levels. We fully support the important role of UNODC and ECOWAS in helping build the capacity needed to counter organized crime and in strengthening rule of law and we commend your efforts, Mr. Fedotov, to increase awareness of the international community to the crucial importance of these activities.
Allow me two last comments.
The first related to the particular situation of children caught in the net of organized crime activities.
As in conflict situations, manipulation of children in organized crime and armed violence disproportionately affect young people. This is, however, still largely unrecognized as a priority, thus failing to lead to strategic action.
However, reasons for young people to join organized armed violence and to fall victims of armed gangs crime are, indeed, very similar to those leading to joining armed groups.
My second and last remark relates to the issue of trafficking in persons. Trafficking in persons which is a growing phenomenon threats the very foundation of our societies. The international community and every single Member State has the fundamental responsibility to prevent and combat this practice, to alleviate the suffering of trafficked victims and punish the traffickers. Portugal is fully committed to an effective international cooperation to combat trafficking in persons that integrates a victim approach and a human rights dimension with the Law enforcement perspective.
As a co-facilitator in the process of the drafting of a Global Plan of Action on Trafficking in persons, it was for me extremely significant and gratifying to be able to integrate that dimension in the text that was adopted by the General Assembly, almost one year ago.
At national and international levels, Portugal has been actively contributing to the efforts developed to counter international crime and its perverse effects and links with illicit trafficking and terrorism. At this regard I also would like to highlight the actions and initiatives taken by Portugal in order to contribute to the fight against drug-trafficking and related criminal activities in the West Africa region.
We will continue our engagement aiming at a more active role of the Council in addressing international organized crime, in its different components, and in its relation with peace and security. With this in mind, reports and briefings by UNODC, such as this, are particularly useful and we would expect the Council to be regularly updated on the activities undertaken by the office in this important area of work.
I thank you, Mr. President.