Chair: Welcome – Adopting the agenda.
Before we start, let me reiterate a few guidelines: limit intervention to 5 minutes, delegation from the floor please keep it short and feel strongly encouraged to comment and ask questions to the panellists, there will be no list of speakers, the floor will draw the attention of chair and I will select speakers according to the flow of the discussion and availability of the time. Our main objective today is to have an interactive, constructive discussion.
(panel) UNODC: Good morning, today’s segment is about Supply reduction and related measures. Indeed, organised crime effects all states be it transit, destination, etc. It’s a global challenge and it must be met with a global response.Through specialised global programs, the UNODC provides targeted support and mutual legal assistance. The UNODC is strengthening its efforts targeting crypto-currencies, analysing trafficking trends and patterns and enhance cooperation between CSOs and parliamentarians. We developed modern training tools and a global program against money laundering. You will hear more about UNODC programs and projects from my colleagues.
The UNODC is mandated to assist MS in their fight against drugs and terrorism, based 3 pillars: (1) field based technical cooperation to enhance capacity to counter illicit trafficking, (2) research& analytic work to increase knowledge and expand evidence base, (3) normative work to assist states in their implication of treaties, development of domestic legislation based on the treaties. The UNODC’s collective effort is to promote the rule of law and SDGs (and in particular target 16). The Convention against Transnational Organised Crime provides a broad framework to prevent and battle organised crime, this has been reiterated by the General Assembly. To date, there are 189 state parties to the convention. It continues to be an underutilised instrument. UNODC has endeavoured to expand the knowledge based administrative measures e.g. Sherlock, a knowledge management portal. To facilitate MS implementation efforts, we provide training courses, administrative support, we launched teaching modules. UNODC has continued to strengthen its cooperation with international and local partners – Interpol for example has established a liaison office here in Vienna.
We assist governments in cargo controls, promote international cooperation to prevent container facilitated crime. Successful implementation means increased capacities for communication among others. Port control units – we are trying to tackle more than stuff part of port control units.
In the initial phase, we were working with 8 countries, but now we have more than 50 participants + several countries are in the pipeline with whom we are in the negotiations or training phase. We are working inter-agency units to systematically target high risk trafficking and facilitate the free flow of legitimate trade. Our training consists of 36 month basic to advance stages, theoretical and practical trainings and opportunities for professionals to collaborate with colleagues in other parts of the world. Successful continuation requires more human resources, senior commitment, sustainable rotation policy, information sharing, private sector cooperation, UNODC staff on the grounds, full time trainers, anti-corruption measures. Achieving positive change sustainably is not easy, so we evaluate our training events and all other activities, we have regular mentorship visits + biannual assessments by external impartial evaluator. Donor countries: Australia, Canada, Norway, the EU, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland the UK and the US.
As for the statistics of our seizures between January and September in 2018: thousands of cocaine, cannabis, precursors for implosives, counterfeit goods, other infections, cigarettes and some related to fishery crimes.
Pakistan: Good morning, Thanks for this presentation – since we are one of the most affected transit states, the issue of spike in cultivation leads us to stress that supply reduction is extremely important to us. Frankly, we were expecting that the trafficking branch will highlight the UNODC’S efforts and that it should be aligned to specific topics limit of production – these inter-sessionals are important in preparation to the HLMS so when we chose presentations, please closely align these because I don’t think we touched on the most important topics, so we are not sure UNODC are aligned to 2009 targets. I have to react to this as I have before – sometime back Pakistan took up the issue with Mr. Fedotov that in any UN meeting the UNODC staff should be careful in choosing their maps. Why cannot the UNODC ensure that we use the correct UN map?
Egypt: Good morning, while we do thank the secretariat for this presentation, especially when it comes to executed projects, we feel there are points that are missing in the presentations as Pakistan rightly mentioned, we need more figures and trends analysis to feed our discussion leading to 2019, like the re-evaluation of UNODC’s role in achieving the targets of 2009. An other thing we’d like to hear about is effect of UNODC’s interventions on the trade routes of drugs. Also, figures on the links between transnational organised crime and drug trafficking – we are in dire need of figures and trends analyses.
Chair: More presentations are to come.
Brazil: We are one of the countries that participate in the container program and we have good numbers of narcotic seizures. I’d like to ask for some additional info: What happens post seizure? Does the UNODC have any role in the dismantling the organised crime groups? What happens to the date collected by the CCP?
(panel) UNODC: The situation is different country to country. We try not to interfere or create a parallel procedure to the national agencies – they follow their own standards of conduct and report. We try to follow-up and get feedback, but sometimes we speak about long processes that might take a few years. Principally, as I said, we do not intervene in already established processes. As for the data, the results are available in our annual report from our website.
US: We are strong supporters of the program which is a great example for collaboration of national programs and transnational coordination. We’ve seen that we might need new detention techniques? Does the CCP see increase in NPS? Are there new detection modalities that the program is working on?
(panel) UNODC: About the new techniques, I cannot answer, but during mentorship visits, new modalities are being identified and accommodate those based on relevant info on new movement of goods. As for synthetic drugs and herbs: mail post is most prevalent and we are trying to find the most appropriate response – in collaborate with uniform police.
Spain: Impact of the program with regard to evaluation in 2019? We have abundant information that we examined every 2 years maybe that should be included in the presentations. Interesting as well to see links between these intersessional periods. We’ve talked about cooperation with WHO and we defended a balanced approach, CND and UNODC all cover different situations but it would be interesting to invest the links between the topics.
Austria: How, since the installation of Interpol office here, has work improved?
(panel) OHCHR: The Office of the High Commissioner for human rights thanks the Commission on Narcotic Drugs and its Secretariat for inviting the Office to participate at today’s intersessional meeting on “preparations for the ministerial segment to be held during the 62nd session of the CND”. At today’s interesessional meeting, we are discussing issues related to supply reduction and related measures. In this context, in my presentations I will focus on two issues related to the supply reduction. They are: Effective Law enforcement and human rights and International cooperation in extradition and mutual legal assistance and human rights. On Effective Law enforcement and human rights. In the outcome document of UNGASS 2016, all States committed themselves to effective drug-related crime prevention and law enforcement measures. It is also firm commitment of Member States “to respect, protect and promote all human rights, fundamental freedoms and the inherent dignity of all individuals and the rule of law in the development and implementation of drug policies”. While fully recognising the importance of addressing the serious challenges posed by drug-related offences, OHCHR strongly believes that the most effective manner of addressing drug-related offences is through strengthening the rule of law, ensuring an effective law enforcement and justice system and reducing drug use by adopting a strong public health approach to prevention, harm reduction and other forms of health care and treatment in accordance with international human rights standards. All these measures, including law enforcement, in addressing the drug problem must be consistence with States’ human rights obligations under international law. The drug problem may challenge the adequacy of traditional law enforcement measures in some contexts, and State may need to apply exceptional law enforcement measures in tackling this problem. However, no measure should violate human rights. Compromising on human rights has proven corrosive to the rule of law and conducive to a climate of impunity, and may undermine the effectiveness of any law enforcement measure, and thereby contribute to greater instability in the society. Such compromise can further foster a regime of impunity infecting the whole justice sector and reaching into whole societies, invigorating the rule of violence rather than of law; eroding public trust in public institutions; breeding fear and leading people to despair. The “war on drugs” approach in many States has cost the lives of thousands of people and caused serious human rights violations. In recent years, there have been some alarming tendencies towards a deeper security responses, including militarisation of drug law enforcement, by States to counter drug-related crimes. In some instances, this is associated with the progressive militarisation of civilian police forces, or allowing specialised police units- mostly composed of the military personnel, to deal with the situation. Excessive use of force is more likely to occur when military or special security forces are involved in drug operations. In fact, such militarisation process in the “war on drugs” had reportedly led to an increase in excessive use of force and in levels of impunity, and a record number of human rights violations. Such heavy-handed-security approaches in the drug law enforcement have also disproportionately affected vulnerable groups. The World Drug Report 2018 reported that globally women who use drugs face significant stigma and discrimination; and also face high levels of violence or harassment from law enforcement officers. In several States, the people of African descent are disproportionately affected by excessively punitive drug policies and law enforcement efforts. Racial profiling in many countries has made people of African descent a targeted group in the so-called “war on drugs”. The United Nations Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent called for an end to racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, Afrophobia and related intolerance, including their manifestations in the adoption and implementation of international and national drug policies. Discriminatory nature of the law enforcement measures discredits the justice system and undermines the Sustainable Development Goals 10 and 16. One of the key human rights concerns with regard to law enforcement measures is that some States have adopted a “shoot-to-kill” policy. This policy led to loss of hundreds to thousands lives in many States. In recent years there have been a number of high-profile pronouncements by officials, sometimes infrequently at the most senior level of Government, that they have given orders for the police or the military to “shoot to kill”, to “shoot on sight”, or to use the “utmost force” in response to the perceived epidemic of drug abuse. But the rhetoric of shoot-to-kill and its equivalents poses a deep and enduring threat to human rights-based law enforcement approaches. The rhetoric of shoot-to-kill serves only to displace clear legal standards with a vaguely defined licence to kill, risking confusion among law enforcement officers, endangering innocent persons, and rationalizing mistakes, while avoiding the genuinely difficult challenges that may have posed by the relevant threat. In accordance the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, for lethal force to be considered lawful it must be used in a situation in which it is necessary for self-defence or the defence of another’s life. The State’s legal framework must thus “strictly control and limit the circumstances” in which law enforcement officers may resort to lethal force.. Non-lethal tactics for capture or prevention must always be attempted if feasible. No derogation is permitted from the right to life and none is needed. In addition to the legal arguments, it should also be noted that the consequences of mistakenly killing innocent persons on the basis of shoot-to-kill policies are potentially highly counter-productive. They include a loss of public confidence in the law enforcement officials, damage to community relations where a particular community has been effected by the drug problem and an undermining of the willingness of members of the relevant community to cooperate with the law enforcement services in the future. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary execution recommended that the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers must be regulated within the framework of human rights law. The rhetoric of shoot-to-kill should never be used. It risks conveying the message that clear legal standards have been replaced with a vaguely defined licence to kill. On International Cooperation: extradition and mutual legal assistance. Now I will turn to the second issue i.e. international Cooperation, in particular extradition and mutual legal assistance. UNGASS Outcome Documents recommended States to strengthen regional, subregional and international cooperation in criminal matters, as appropriate, including judicial cooperation in the areas of, inter alia, extradition, mutual legal assistance and transfer of proceedings, in accordance with the international drug control conventions and other international legal instruments and national legislation. In this regard, it is also important to mention that the 2009 Political Declaration and the Plan of Action also mentioned this and recommended to “advance cooperation in the areas of extradition, mutual legal assistance and law enforcement, consistent with relevant and applicable international human rights obligations.”. The international human rights law prohibits return or transfer of an individual to a jurisdiction where he or she faces a real risk of being subjected to a violation of the right to life or torture, inhuman and degrading treatment. These prohibitions are absolute and cannot be derogated from in any circumstances. Moreover, the protection against expulsion in international human rights law, In accordance with article 3 of the Convention against Torture, “[n]o State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”) or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be in danger of being subjected to torture”. It adds that “[f]or the purpose of determining whether there are such grounds, the competent authorities shall take into account all relevant considerations including, where applicable, the existence in the State concerned of a consistent pattern of gross, flagrant or mass violations of human rights”. In accordance with Article 16 (1) of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, “[n]o State Party shall expel, return (“refouler”), surrender or extradite a person to another State where there are substantial grounds for believing that he or she would be in danger of being subjected to enforced disappearance”. Other human rights treaties do not explicitly enshrine the non-refoulement principle, but it has been derived from the prohibition of torture, for instance in article 7 of ICCPR and article 3 of ECHR. In General Comment No. 20, addressing the prohibition on torture, cruel treatment or punishment under article 7 of ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee observed that “states parties must not expose individuals to the danger of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment upon return to another country by way of their extradition, expulsion or refoulement”. The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has issued a legal opinion on “Preventing Arbitrary Detention in the Context of International Transfer of Detainees, in particular in counter terrorsim”. The Working Group states that Governments should (in addition to the risk of torture) “include the risk of arbitrary detention in the receiving State per se among the elements to be taken into consideration when asked to extradite, deport, expel or otherwise hand a person over to the authorities of another State, particularly in the context of efforts to counter terrorism. To remove a person to a State where there is a genuine risk that the person will be detained without legal basis, or without charges over a prolonged time, or tried before a court that manifestly follows orders from the executive branch” would be incompatible with international human rights obligations. International legal instruments also enshrine the principle of non-discrimination in the context of extradition and mutual legal assistance. They provide that where a State receiving an extradition or mutual legal assistance request has “substantial grounds” to believe that this request is made for discriminatory reasons, it shall not be obliged to comply with the request. On Extradition and mutual legal assistance in the death penalty cases. A wide range of drug-related offences are punishable by death, in over 30 countries. Drug-related executions accounted for approximately 30 per cent of all executions recorded in 2017. In accordance with article 6 (2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, States that have not abolished the death penalty may only impose it for the “most serious crimes”, i.e. intentional killing. The Human Rights Committee has consistently stated that drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes”. In accordance with international human rights law, countries that have abolished the death penalty may not remove, either by deportation or extradition, individuals from their jurisdiction if it may be reasonably anticipated that they will be sentenced to death, without ensuring that the death sentence would not be carried out. Drawing from international human rights law and jurisprudence, in his report to the General Assembly on “moratorium on the death penalty”, the United Nations Secretary-General recommended that the “States that have received an extradition request on a capital charge should reserve explicitly the right to refuse extradition in the absence of effective and credible assurances from relevant authorities of the requesting State that the death penalty will not be carried out. The requesting States should provide and respect such effective and credible assurances, if requested to do so”. Abolitionist countries should also refuse mutual legal assistance where the proceedings in the requesting country could result in the imposition of capital punishment. There are several ways whereby the provision of assistance by a State might contribute to the use of the death penalty in the receiving State. Examples include, but are not limited to: (a) the provision of, inter alia, intelligence and evidence in a specific case; (b) the ongoing provision of resources to tackle transnational crimes such as drug-trafficking; (c) the provision of financial and technical support for strengthening rule of law institutions; and (d) the provision of chemical and other materials, which could be used for executions. It is unquestionable that States have to cooperate with each other in various criminal matters. However, moral, political and legal dilemma merge when abolitionist States provide assistance to retentionist States, and that such assistance leads to the use of the death penalty. Even though the individual facing the death penalty in such cases may not be in the jurisdiction of the abolitionist State, such assistance may amount to complicity in the imposition of the death penalty, and will engage the responsibility of the abolitionist State under Article 16 of the International Law Commission’s Articles on State Responsibility. The joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem is a call for action, but not to any action: according to the world’s leaders there are other ways, better ways; evidence-based, scientific ways, of combating drug abuse and trafficking – ways that do not make matters worse. In a few weeks’ time, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70. This anniversary provide a unique opportunity to reflect on and strengthen the relationship between drug control efforts and human rights. Thank you.
(panel) UNODC regarding earlier questions: We’re trying to demonstrate how we are reducing the supply, but I’m going to see how we can supplement this information to address more the illicit cultivation. Regarding statistics, I will check with my colleagues and will come back and report later. Regarding the use of UN maps, I have taken note and we apologize for the use of the incorrect map, but my colleague did indicate on his slides that this is not a UN map. We will reinforce the message to our colleagues to use appropriate maps. About collaboration with Interpol, I will try to get the liaison office to come and talk about it.
Russia: My delegation has questions to Mr. Mahmood (OHCHR). How many times and under what topics has the UNODC spoken at the Human Rights Council? How is it shared with them – all of the issues related to the rule of law linked to drugs, given the global opioid crisis the victims of which are in the thousands … this undermines basic human rights and is one of the biggest challenge of human rights at this point in time?
Egypt: We already spent almost one third of the discussion today without even tackling any of the points we have in the agenda on the thematic focus for today. We kindly request to make better use of our day.
Chair: There are more presentations to come.
China: I share the views of Egypt. As far as I can see, the OHCHR could proceed with his professional opinion on how do we reduce the production of drugs, as is the topic of today. How do we protect the farmers, law enforcement officers? Instead of all these telling countries not to give death penalties to offenders – I believe such discussion has nothing to do with what we aspire to be doing here. Presenters should concentrate more on the topic of discussion.
OHCHR: With regard to reduction of supply – our response is outlined in my presentation. I’d like to read it out again. Our office strongly believes the most effective manner in addressing the issue is through strengthening the rule of law, having effective justice systems in place and reduce demand by increasing health care and treatment in line with international standard. How many times has UNODC participated in the forum in Geneva: 2 years back a high level panel was convened on drug related issues. Recently, the UNODC has opened up presence in Geneva. Few months back, Madame Chair participated in a Vienna-Geneva high level dialogue with senior colleagues. Death penalty for drug offences in prohibited under international law.
Russia: We have a certain disproportion since we hear a presentation of OHCHR in every session
Singapore: In response to OHCHR regarding capital punishment – We’ve already had an extensive discussion and I support the comment from China on the disproportionalities. A key thing is that today’s topic is supply reduction. It’s like encouraging countries to not work together because of one facet. Our opinion that it’s a criminal justice system question and there is no international consensus.
China: We have 3 conventions that outline how we should deal with drugs. We are here to listen to how we can do it better and not to be told what to do.
Iran: OHCHR suggested not to cooperate. We are in the Balkan route and in many cases we go into a row so governments have to work together. We should stop many operations based on that? Interpol knows what I’m talking about. What about the victims? What do we do with the victims? Most of the suggestion is about the traffickers, that they need justice. It took up 2 hours of our discussion. We respect your mandate, but it’s like when you get a drivers license and police drives with you every time to check what you are doing. We respect the presentation, but it’s been too much and in every session. I came here for new data. All we talk about is a side effect – the route cut is something else.
Belgium: I just want to point out that we believe this is an important topic and are interested in the panellists presentation and if OHCHR can give us an insight on the importance they think are priorities, we welcome that and thank him for his work and presentation.
Malaysia: We have to make it clear we are not against human rights but those who involved in drugs are killers. We agree with Singapore and China that we should concentrate on the discussion about what we are supposed to do together.
OHCHR: I remind you of the human rights commitments that are mentioned both in the documents of 2009 and 2016. It’s a firm commitment of MS to address and counter drug problems and conduct such activities in line with international treaties. I am putting forth what it means in practice. With regard to the death penalty, we welcome the recent decision of the Malaysian government to abolish capital punishment. With regard to farmers’ issues, we will have a discussion on Wednesday and I will reflect on that then. As for victims, I recall last month during the discussion on demand reduction, we had an intervention that is available on the CND website as how to deal with victims and I call your attention to the human rights report that details victim’s aspect from the health angle on the commissions website
Russia: We were somewhat surprised to hear about the UNODC office in Geneva: what decision was this opening based on? What’s happening there? I also want to say again that I think we should focus on things directly linked to our mandate.
Spain: The United Nations is a right place to undertake balanced and comprehensive approaches. The situation with regards to human rights is relevant to supply and demand reduction. We support addressing these topics. We ratify international agreements and we make these national – that is the great potential of human rights, through a global level it goes down to national level…they view it in different ways but this debate is interesting therefore. We hope this interest sustains.
Malaysia: The announcement of abolishing the death penalty is still being reviewed, we are still doing internal studies whether we implement it or not, therefore we don’t wish this to be addressed in this manner.
Brazil: Although we agree that there are a lot of aspects to cover today, we believe this was an interesting and important presentation. We are committed to a comprehensive and balanced approach that includes respecting fundamental freedoms and human rights – this perspective is essential for national responses.
Portugal: We think human rights is totally part of the topic today’s issues. It is about the way we enforce law. We hope to have the OHCHR’s presence continued in these meetings.
Chair: I understand what ou are saying, we are going to address all items. just please bear wit us.
(panel) Interpol: Criminals operate across borders, physical and electronical. The threat today is global and it requires a global solution. Interpol has 192 members who support in different forms. I-247 system law enforcement agencies have access to international database, and other technical tools. The crime program is comprised of 3 areas with the same objectives: to identify and disrupt the criminal groups. The world supply of drugs is more abundant and sophisticated than ever and the criminals operating are as organized as international corporations – which means if a leader falls down, the operation can continue on, this is why it’s crucial to address the financial aspect. NPS is posing new challenges to health and criminal agencies. We shouldn’t be blindsided by the increased numbers of seizures, it just means more drugs are out there. We apply a holistic approach: identify criminals, track mobility, precursor chemicals tracking.
We operate various regional projects to combine efforts and avoid duplication: FORTALEZA – Latin American Organized Crime, CRIMJUST – Cocaine Route Programme. AIRCOP (Airport Communication Project), AMEAP.
We help them develop their capabilities; we issue notices; support drugs analysis file; we produce operational analytical reports and uphold a data; we run the RELIEF database that cross-matches seized drugs across the world.
The LIONFISH operation targeted all points of entry of the participating countries: land, sea, air agencies in cooperation. We recently concluded it on a global level with 93 participating countries. Preliminary results: 3 weeks, 55 tons of drugs, 8 million tablets, 450 thousand capsules. We also organize events and seminars on topical issues. Interpol stands ready to support your national efforts.
Pakistan: We understand that we have plant based drugs and synthetic drugs. What is Interpol’s perspective: do they see fundamental differences in dealing with these two issues?
Egypt: Do you have date on the amount of seizures, do you see trends? Do you have any information on trade routes? Are there any changes in this regard?
US: Congrats on the linked databases – is there any interaction with UNODC’s databases? Regarding anti-money laundering efforts: dramatic rise in the use of virtual currencies, is there anything Interpol is doing to tackle that?
Interpol: Not that there is no difference between plant based and synthetic drugs, but as for plant base, the mechanism is already in place, so there is better understanding of the origin and production, this is one of the principle differences. Our approach to synthetics is building on experiences on plant based, but it is not following these patters. In terms of addressing, no priority is given to either, we prioritize the emerging issues.
Amounts of seizures and trends: the market is completely saturated, but we establish trends based on seizures – these are however based merely on reports. This is just indication for us that there are more drugs on the market, we like to think it’s the increase in our efficiency and the quality of our work, but while it might be true, it also mostly sigs the increased amounts being trafficked.
In terms of route trends: we see parallel routes but it’s difficult to crack down on them.
Regarding the databases, our 18 datasets are only Interpol database and we cooperate hand-in-hand with the UNODC but we have different processing mechanisms and police reporting. As for online currencies, we are working with the cybercrime directorate and the financial crimes unit is working alongside. During our global operation, we have individuals monitoring dark-net transactions
Netherlands: I would like to highlight the comparison that drug organisations can be compared to legal enterprises so I take it we should hit them where they ae most vulnerable: money-laundering and facilitators of their actions. Lionfish is impressive: is there effects on the retail prices?
Afghanistan: Interpol and UNODC is slightly different but is there a mechanism for sharing information? Does UNODC use this for producing reports?
Italy: Financial investigation: how does Interpol support MS on this re drug trafficking?
Interpol: We could make a direct link but this is not information that we gather from our operation so it would be inappropriate. We like to think we have a lot of influence on the wold with our works, but I can’t say that Lionfish has directly affected prices.
We have different mandates than the UNODC, we don’t have the same structures or reporting mechanism and we interact differently with our stakeholders. As far as I know, the World Drug Report is created based on information that is not as police/law enforcement based data as we use. We collaborate on several initiatives, but in terms of data and reporting, we cannot share this directly, it would be against our policies. When it comes to not specific police information, but important intelligence, there is sharing and some of the data you see in the WDR does indeed come from us, but it would corrupt the system if we shared data openly and closely.
We work with the financial units of countries, so when we do operations, we always bring someone from financial crimes with us.
Iran: I’d like to get some confirmation from Interpol. In our new cases, we see opium goes through Iran and, on the Balkan route, precursors. Before that, we had a lot of heroin from Afghanistan. In the new cases, only opium. When it enters Europe, the cargo is heroin. So where does it get made?
About money laundering: we are waiting to have information on the result of laundering on the routes. We have no news about what’s going on! The Balkan route is the main route, but we’ve heard many cargos changed from Turkey to the north. Do you have a program to address route changes?
Brazil: You mentioned increased seizures and finding leaders doesn’t necessarily result in long term reduction effects. You also mentioned tracing money. These processes are very complex. What actions can MS and Interpol take? If you do already collect data on the linkages on money investigations and drug related crime – have you measured this? Regarding connections to other forms of organised crime – how does Interpol see it? Especially in the case of firearms?
Czech Republic: We are a leading methamphetamine producer country, even though this is highly prohibited. The global methamphetamine situation is worsening, so we appreciate the monitoring precursors. Do we have any more data? Have there been changes? How would you support legislative measures in regulating trade?
Morocco: Last year, we’ve stopped international cocaine plans by seizing huge amounts. The Moroccan authorities provided all operational information related to these cases, we provided identities, itineraries, transport – have you used and analysed this data?
Regarding the measurable impact of money laundering is rather finance related that is not my area of expertise, but I will come back to you on that. I commend the Czech Republic for their efforts, cooperation and support. The Moroccan investigation is an important but country-specific information and I will gladly follow-up with you directly.
Afghanistan: I just want to provide a brief explanation regarding heroin in the region. 9 thousand tons of opium is produced in our country in territories influenced or ruled by the Taliban. We have no reports that tells us where the other half of heroin ingredient is being converted. There are complacent countries on the Balkan route. Afghanistan is very open with the UNODC regarding data but the same efforts are not visible in the world, not even in our problematic region. The whole thing about drugs is based on the services we provide the UNODC. Conversion of opium to heroin needs another substance. So if you ban this, then you would not have heroin in Europe but still we don’t have information about the precursors. We need to know where the production is happening.
Afghanistan is a country at war, even with that we are very much engaged with the war against drugs.
(panel) Algeria: Algeria is one of the largest countries in Africa and because of its geographical location, it is destined to be a transit country. It is called a hell area and there are proven links between organized crime groups and illegal immigrants recruited into trafficking. The quantities of seized drugs: cannabis seizures are reduced, others are inconsistent. Psychotropic substances have increased. We saw appearance of other drugs recently. Drug trafficking on land has fallen in comparison to other transport routes. In judiciary in the last few years, cases and convictions increased, but people receiving treatment increased as well. Regarding our efforts to combat the prevention and suppression of the use and supply, we have a new criminal procedure code that introduced new techniques. In the operational sphere: security and control forces have been enhanced, we work with k9 units and stepped up information exchange. We made progress in disrupting trafficking, especially in the case of cannabis. The national office for combatting drugs’ main mission is defining national policy and follow-up implementation with the various sectors and offices involved. An evaluation and follow-up committee is also in place. National strategy has been developed: 5 years period, based on balanced approach and defines activities for the pillars of action and outlines precise activities, it develops instruments, etc. The upcoming strategy is based on a national survey on the prevalence of drugs. We involve committee members from the evaluation office in our work to develop the strategy of response. To conclude, we are committed to participate in the global efforts and work w international community to work along 2009 and 2016.
(panel) EUROPOL: As the EU’s law enforcement agency, our role is to support MS on addressing organized crime. We support them via databases and facilitate exchange of intelligence & set up coordination from The Hague. We have had a lot of focus on terrorism, the migration crisis, on cybercrime, but 40% of our business is drug related and nothing suggests it to change in the future. Our work forms a basis on which minsters base priorities to work together on the European level. Drugs in all its forms remains our key priorities. I will leave my speech as that. Now, addressing the themes that came up this morning. We’ve published a document on our work and it is available on our website. The drug market is huge in the EU – it produces about EUR 24billion in revenue per year. The most difficult part of our job is to get MS involved. Merely 1% of that 24 billion is seized which is not a success story. 35% of our organized crime groups are involved on the international level, we are exporters of synthetic drugs. To address Iran’s earlier question: precursors are going out from the EU but where are the heroin labs? The Balkan route is the main route, but we see activities on the northern sphere and we see increased activities on the black sea ports and had massive seizures in Netherlands and Belgium. We derived precious intelligence from this, eg. we were able to take advantage of CCP. As for indicators, the market is healthy: lowest street prices ever, drug overdose deaths have risen by 6% over the last year. The future is the internet, dark-web was mentioned a few times, and it is increasingly used to organize major shipments. Our cybercrime center set up a specific-to-drugs segment. Drugs remain our political priority
Pakistan: Can you share good practices re countering production of synthetic drugs?
Egypt: how do you evaluate the work that has been done in the past 10 years when it comes to eliminating illicit trafficking? How do you see the way forward?
China: How do you asses the achievements since 2009?
EUROPOL: On illicit production, particularly the export of synthetics: we are fortunate that we have the countries responsible for production, we also have forensic intelligence thanks to that. We are well advanced – a big seizure of precursors has an impact but the financial gains are huge and so the incentive for people is massive. In terms of improvements, drugs investigations are seen as security and counter-terrorism, it’s sensitive and secretive, but we see us going toward more collaboration, inter agency, inter government, etc. I agree with Interpol, the networks are really strong and the real impact will come from addressing the financial aspects.
Algeria: We are not a drug producing country so reduction, if you like, is linked to our borders. We take special measures to make the borders as sealed as possible. The seizure indicator for cannabis has gone down and so have supply on the market, but the measures have disrupted the trafficking networks. Securing borders need to continue.
Chair: Morning meeting adjourned.
Chair: Welcome back. We closed with a few pending questions, so let’s hear it from the floor
Iran: UNODC’s report once said cheaper and pure heroin can be produced. My region is not ready to talk about legalisation. It poses a huge danger not just to the country. What does EUROPOL think about the legalisation trend?
USA: Europol: NPS – which substances have you identified? Are there any law enforcement interventions that you developed specifically to this challenge?
Interpol: we appreciate any best practices re cybercrime.
We want to underline the data collection and sharing it across agencies + national revision process is of huge importance to us. We welcome ideas how to better our endeavors.
Brazil: Europol, during the presentation, mentioned that an extremely low rate of criminal assets have been confiscated. Do you have an explanation of the limitation and ideas on improving it?
Europol: We don’t see an increase of heroin consumption in the EU, in fact it is decreasing. Production is moving away from the EU as well. The purity of heroin is increasing the street price is decreasing. I can’t talk about legalisation as it is not our topic today. For the volumes of heroin coming from Afghanistan and its neighbourhood, we see an intelligence gap.
In response to the USA: we have a slow-down in the identification of new substances, the peak was 3 years back and last year the EMCDDA reported 50 new substances. When it comes to drugs on the internet, we have cyber patrol initiatives and we have good experience about collaborating with the US. One of the intentions on our side is increasing the law enforcement capacity of the EU in the cybercrime realm. More than 60% of listings on the dark net are drug related but, for the overall market of drugs, still a very small proportion is conducted online.
In response to Brazil: Confiscation rates – it is 2.2%. In our view, the investigation units were too much focused on the substances and not so much on the financial part. How do we improve that? New legislations that is fully embraced by law enforcement agencies.
(panel) Algeria: I would like to respond to the USA – our evaluator observed a deficit in the data collection system and we tried to address the gaps by meeting with partners and adjust our processes. We deal with this on a case by case basis.
Russia: There is an increase in the purity in heroin. Is this connected with the fact that it is now traded on the internet and there is feedback from the clients to the provider?
Europol: If we look at the listings on the dark net, we see heroin is not dominating the sales and the ratings in the marketplaces do not reflect the purity of the sold substances. So we don’t see a link there. We see the opposite actually, heroin sales are losing volume online and are overtaken by NPS, mainly by fentanyls.
(panel) Russia: Detecting financial component of drug business. I would like to respond to the questions raised on the floor. This is a global business with a turnover of thousands of dollars a year. In 1988, the parties of the conventions recognised that illicit drugs are very profitable and enables criminalised organisations to infiltrate government agencies thus undermining stability and security. Back then, there was no Afghan drug trade problem, there was no other plant based drug – what changed since then? Drug revenue goes towards financing terrorism. Confiscation doesn’t affect the business that much. Drug revenue is almost entirely entering the world’s financial system – Afghanistan asked where the other half is? Many countries can be involved in a single operation.
On the issue of legalization, free market in one country affects other countries, it’s important to work together internationally.
We managed to achieve some results since 2009. We have 3 projects FATF typology: financial flows linked to the illicit production and trafficking of afghan opiates and associated ML activities, UNODC project: detecting and blocking financial flows linked to the illicit trafficking of opiates, EAG: detecting financial components of drug business. We’ve listened in on phone conversations to see organisational links.
Drugs transactions use modern technologies, cutting edge encryption and administrations. The criminals in fact can be on opposite sides of the world. Financial instruments are channel to launder money and they conceal identities. Foreign credit, electronic payment systems, crypto currencies are all a layer of shield. The contactless means of selling drugs is becoming ever more common. Trading platforms are actively used for openly advertising drugs, encryption allows this trade without any contact between parties. Anonymity and convenience is the reason. New clients are attracted by special marketing efforts and they are registered under foreign names so we can’t address them. Development of technology has given rise to a whole new number of schemes using e-payments and more prohibited drugs are circulated thanks to these systems. People who sell drugs actively use crypto currencies – in the Russian speaking domain over 300 fora exists for this. Decentralised virtual currencies are so wide spread and are facilitated by advantages that are not available through traditional means of trade. For 6 months in 2018 we saw 80127 crimes were carried out with ICT. Drugs sellers do anything possible to make the chain of transaction more complicated and various stages are utilising various solutions. Crime tactics have changed. We’ve heard today we have a lack of understanding. We can’t ask Western Union, we can only interact with national agencies. Trans border flows need to be understood. We work based on the persons involved if something suspicious arises, but the operation itself is often unreachable. The overall market for opium is some 70 billion but we’ve only seized 5… so what happens to the rest of the money? When it comes to e-wallets, it can come in through various nations and can be integrated into the legitimate financial flow. We need to integrate law enforcement’s and financial units’ work. I support the statements made before me. Please consider the part of the problem that is connected to finances and join efforts. We need to look at how the drugs business are financing other criminal activities.
Egypt: We’re glad we are getting to the point. In relation to this presentation, I am more addressing the UNODC – we understand the use of cryptocurrencies is an emerging issue regarding drug trafficking. Are there any plans to help MS to build capacity to tackle this? How do you, the speaker from Russian Federation, see international cooperation in tracing illicit financial flows?
Afghanistan: Since we were mentioned a few times in the presentation and billions were sent in Afghanistan that, instead of decrease, resulted in a spike of heroin production. We are a poor society and the root causes of the heroin problems are (1) the Taliban and insecurity. The previous leader of Taliban was a well-known drug lord who was killed by American drones. We have been facing this problem for 17 years. In the beginning, no one was interested in fighting against narcotics, but now that we are facing all this trends, we are trying. We are always behind the Taliban. Every week hundreds die. (2) Demand and transit routes. We have to tackle this on the global level. An easy transit route is a problem. There is a market for illicit substances, people come to the producer and help the trade. Farmers are underpaid by the criminal organizations, but it still worth for them to raise these crops more than say tomatoes. (3) Precursors. How do they get to the country? (4) Poverty. 56% of our population lives under the poverty line, 3-4% of the population have nothing to eat on any given day (5) Corruption and lack of good governance. We are all here stating we are victims, we are suffering – the producing countries, transits, target. This is not going to solve anything. We need a comprehensive approach, we cannot close our eyes to terrorism. Where is heroin really produced – nobody really knows, so we don’t have a clear picture. Why are these produced, what is the ideology behind that? It contradicts Islam. We always ignore these aspects, we only ever talk about the symptoms. All of us should try to create a real picture – we have reports that we are grateful for but it is not enough data, we need more reports by independent, more neutral bodies and then we can plan solving a problem.
(panel) Russia: Firstly, in order to exchange experience and knowledge, we need an international platform on which expert meetings could be organized. The Eurasian group has a forum, EAG. At the last plenary meeting, the issue of looking into cryptos was brought up. So EAG MS studied research into it. We always need to catch up with the criminals, once we already have our material, they are already ahead of us, using new means to settle accounts for example. I would like to remind you that there exists a Paris pact. As for Afghanistan’s statement, I can only talk within my own competency, but I agree. Any transit country can become a consumer country, it creates new markets and it is a very profitable business. You’ve talked about the Taliban, we have contradicting information on security, but the southern route does exist. The maritime communications systems agreement between Afghanistan and Pakistan resulted in drugs organizations using Indian lines, so they know what we are doing. We have to find out where the money comes from, all the subsequent measures should be coming from following the flow. […] If we compare official reports and other sources of information about Taliban rule and operation, we see increase in production in areas where they have been expelled from. We have to work on this on an expert level.
USA: We appreciate the complexity of tackling money laundering. What are ways for CND to enhance international cooperation in this area?
Afghanistan: I need to explain some issues addressed by Russia. Without money laundering, it would be impossible for the cartels to operate, so I agree on that. The chief of police of one of our provinces was killed and many more were injured – so the point about the security in Afghanistan, most of the villages are ruled or influenced by Taliban. In another province, the main producer region, while we expelled the Taliban, the government rule is loose, Taliban have control. It is not a safe area. There is a direct link between the Taliban and drug production. The price of precursors are extremely high within the country. Why 9 thousand tons of opium is are able to be trafficked through borders when they are really controlled? ISIS have committed many terrorist attacks but they can’t even smuggle explosives. There is something that we really don’t see, the dark side of the world drug problem. Most people use it because of their misery, not for fun. More than 70% of Afghan suffer from mental disorders as a result of war and civil chaos. Saying that these provinces are safe, will do nothing in solving the problem.
(panel) Russia: In response to the USA, we have to think about the resolution adapted in 2015 while we were preparing for 2016. Maybe some countries might take on this as an obligation to come up with a suggestion for CND.
In response to Afghanistan: I didn’t mean to talk about the safety of provinces, I wanted to point out that we receive contradictory reports, but I fully agree with you on the importance of international collaboration. I don’t have the right to talk about political will and so on, but as a professional, I see what we need is coordination of efforts, MS to assist one another. Next steps might be thinking about a resolution…
Egypt: My question to the secretariat was not yet answered. I would like to add a question regarding an international experts’ meeting. How can UNODC help in creating such a platform?
UNODC: The initial question, the way I understand, regarding capacity building. We have a colleague with a presentation that will address your query. As for an international experts’ platform, through various networks, we get experts together to exchange on various aspects. We do this through a global program in coordination with regional programs run by our national offices. Egypt and others requested to hear more about reducing the production of psychotropic and synthetic drugs and illicit cultivation of opiates. We will have a presentation about this tomorrow.
Iran: I fully agree with the Afghan delegate that their problem cannot be solved. Each country has their own issues, but the average volume of production has increased. We are on the Balkan route and we have a lot of addicts who smoke opium. We seized a thousand ton of opium last year, near 1300 tons go through the Balkan route and nobody knows where it goes. Regarding precursors, the price has gone up because Afghanistan is fighting it. We identified the source of precursors from UAE, South-East Asia, Germany, and China. We have triangular initiatives with Pakistan, but it is indeed an issue that we need international help with. Why is there insecurity in Afghanistan? Because of drugs. We have to cut the connection of the two in order to have either of these at least – security or reduced drugs. We need to help Afghanistan.
Austria: The EU and all the MS stand firmly behind the 2016 agreements, we spend 5billion EUR on cooperation packages in the area and we fully are committed to work along this.
Pakistan: There are transit agreements mentioned between the two countries that I would like to clarify.
(panel) Russia: Since Pakistan has no access to maritime communications, there was an agreement that was extended in 2012 for them to use the port’s communication of Afghanistan.
Afghanistan: Commenting on Iran, all of us should take responsibility, yes. We are not just posing as a victim, we accept our shortcomings. As you see insecurity increasing in a country, drugs indicators increase as well. Symbiotic relationship between drugs and insecurity.
(panel) UNODC / Mr. Van Dyk: Global Program Against Money Laundering – GPML: This is the oldest global program of the UNODC. Our flagship program is the mentorship program. It is comprised of 6 field-based advisors in various regions. We focus on: normative assistance, capacity building (train the trainer), and prevention assistance. Our partners are FATF, OSCE, Interpol, Europol, FSRBs, IMF and the World Bank. The dark net and new ways of trafficking has been mentioned today already and the involvement of cryptocurrencies is a growing challenge. Today bitcoin prevails but the use of other currencies is rising. So, what is UNODC doing? In 2017 the global program on cybercrime and GPML was launched: it is a 3 days course with an optional additional two days to build comprehensive skills to investigate dark net illicit markets: practical computer-based training, e-learning modules in 7 languages, specialized software’s and access to software licenses. We researched financial flows of trafficking of Afghan opiates as a joint project with the Russian Federation. The trafficking of opiates is estimated to generate 70 billion USD and only a fraction of this is confiscated and almost al of it is integrated into the legitimate financial system. Without national cooperation and coordination, without having joint task forces and investigations, we won’t achieve much. Lack of specialized training is also an issue. Countries are good in investigating money laundering, though they see it as long and complicated before a successful prosecution. The international standards call on parallel financial investigation and that is what we teach our partners.
Turkey: Since we are talking about anti-laundering capacities. Although it is not in your program, there are other contributions from other MS : countries in South-Eastern Europe especially addressing financing of terrorism and other cross cutting issues.
Netherlands: A very effective tool we use is that we made a bridge between the predicate offence to convict someone of money laundering If a suspect has unexplained wealth, we can try that person.
Egypt: Do the UNODC and INCB collaborate? Please clarify the challenge of lacking specialized trainings and how can work on this?
(panel) UNODC / Mr. Van Dyk: We haven’t been in touch with each other, but this is certainly something I can talk about with our colleagues. Specialized trainings… traditional law enforcement are good in going after criminals but when looking at the finances and tracing the money, the layers of integration, they need assistance for the specialized skills. That is what we do.
(panel) UNODC: When INCB was creating its program, independently form UNODC, a cybercrime specialist from our team was there in an advisory quality.
(panel/video message) Colombia: We reiterate our commitment to the common and shared responsibilities with respect to conventions and human rights. We have a comprehensive drug countering policy taken into account the changing reality and the principals agreed by the international community. The goal of reducing the supply of drugs is not limited to cultivation but also dismantling production facilities, strengthening efforts to prevention and control, precursors, etc. To reduce levels of vulnerability, we need to promote a culture of lawfulness based on human rights as a fundamental pillar and protecting the rule of law as well as institutions. Regarding illicit cultivation, we are designing specific intervention that acknowledges regional specifics and particular characteristics of areas. For this, we require all MS collaboration. As expressed on various occasions, we are committed to defeat drug cartels and eradicate crops working closely with communities to break the supply logistic chains and to create a legal framework that will guarantee balance – liberty and order. Columbia must acknowledge there remains areas that are still problematic. The WDR 2018 states that despite our efforts, global production of opium has skyrocketed in addiction global cocaine production increased by some 56%. The production and consumption and NPS has increased. The world drug problem remains an issue that results in violence, illegal wealth, influences economies, corrupts young people, public education and public order. Drugs result in general deterioration of the social fabric, governance and make some sectors of society dependent on illegal economies. In 2017 the highest ever territories were covered by cocaine cultivating. President Ivan Duque said “…if we wish to have a Columbia that shines in peace, we must defeat drug trafficking. It is a destroyer of institutions, a social corruptor, the same time a society that rejects drugs is our moral duty.” Against this backdrop, from the outset, the new government has stepped up dismantling supply operations. The fundamental pillars: reduce crime, control and prevention, citizen participation. We are making headway and focus efforts of competent institutions. We will never waiver in our fight against transnational organised crime in the area of drug trafficking. There is need to combat these structures using a legal framework that builds on justice and security.
NGO: Amnesty International: In 2016, after the UN General Assembly Special Session on drugs, Member States reiterated their commitment to respect, protect and promote all human rights. In particular, States pledged to promote and implement “effective criminal justice responses to drug-related crimes”, including by ensuring legal guarantees and due process safeguards in the criminal justice system as well as practical measures to uphold the prohibition of arbitrary detention and of torture and other ill-treatment and punishment. These are important commitments that, if implemented adequately, can contribute to ensure supply reduction efforts that respect human rights. Two years after the Joint Commitment was adopted, Amnesty International has seen positive developments with regards to the abolition of the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences but the organisation remains concerned about a small number of countries that continue to impose it. In line with the global trend towards the full abolition of this practice, significant steps to reduce its use for drug-related offences have been taken even in countries that have been staunch supporters of it, which Amnesty International believes are resulting in a reduction in the number of executions carried out and death sentences imposed for these types of offences. Iran and Malaysia have recently taken important steps to restrict the application of the death penalty for drug-related offences. Earlier this month, Malaysia’s new administration announced that legislation to fully abolish the death penalty will be soon tabled at the forthcoming session of Parliament. In November last year, the Parliament of Iran amended the country’s Anti-Narcotics Law, increasing the threshold of drugs for the imposition of a mandatory death sentence with potential retroactive effect. Government officials have indicated that up to 15,000 people on death row would have their death sentences for drug-related offences reviewed with a view to commutation under the amended law. Amnesty International also noted that in Indonesia, where four people convicted of drug crimes were executed in 2016, there were no executions in 2017 and there was a slight decrease in the number of death sentences imposed. These positive developments follow previous legislative amendments to the mandatory death penalty in Singapore and Thailand in 2013 and 2016, respectively. Amnesty International has found that Singapore’s reform resulted in a significant decrease in the amount of death sentences imposed for drug trafficking.The amendment in Thailand related to the offence of selling drugs came into force in January 2017, although its impact has not yet been assessed. However, in violation of international law and standards, the use of the death penalty for drug-related offences continues to be a reality. In 2017, half of the 30 UN Member States in which drug-related offences are still punishable by death were known to have imposed death sentences. The Middle East and North Africa region recorded the highest number of drug-related executions, while 10 countries in the Asia-Pacific region resorted to the death penalty for this type of offence.Overall, drug-related executions accounted for approximately 30% of all executions recorded by Amnesty International in 2017, down from 40% in 2015. Such executions occurred in only four countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Singapore.Two of these countries significantly increased the number of executions for such offences: in Saudi Arabia, executions for drug-related offences went from representing 16% of all executions in 2016 to 40% in 2017; while in Singapore all executions in 2017 were for drug-related offences, when in 2016 they represented 50%. The organization believes that it was highly possible that Malaysia and Viet Nam also carried out executions for these offences last year, but was unable to verify this. In cases where defendants have faced the death penalty for drug-related offences, in addition to the violation of the right to life, Amnesty International has documented violations of the right to a fair trial, including the right to access legal counsel and interpreters from the time of arrest and their right to be free from torture. Of particular concern remains the retention of legal “presumptions” whereby defendants found with specified amounts of certain drugs, or even simply in possession of keys to a building or vehicle in which drugs are found, are presumed guilty of drug trafficking. In those circumstances, the burden of proof is shifted onto the defendant, in violation of the right to be presumed innocent and other fair trial guarantees. Amnesty International has also documented the reliance on statements taken without a lawyer present, even when defendants have raised that these were made under coercion. Moreover, certain countries still allow for caning and other forms of corporal punishment for drug-related offences, which constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and often torture, and are absolutely prohibited under international law. The death penalty has long been recognised as a human rights issue and it is well established that drug-related offences do not meet the threshold of the “most serious crimes” to which the use of this punishment must be restricted under international law and standards.
The use of the death penalty for drug-related offences continues to be a human rights violation that some States still justify in the name of drug control, despite the lack of evidence to support the perception that the death penalty has a unique deterrent effect. This cruel punishment must be abandoned, once and for all, as a response to attempt to reduce the supply of illicit drugs. Several UN bodies, including the INCB and UNODC, have identified circumstances where the imposition of the death penalty violates human rights and have called for an end of the death penalty for drug-related offences with the ultimate goal of its full abolition. But, despite the wide opposition from several Member States during the UNGASS 2016, the silence of the CND in this regard continues to be deafening. Next year’s Ministerial Segment presents an important opportunity for all Member States to speak up against this injustice and take decisive steps to put an end to this violation of human rights. The UN drug control bodies, including the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, have an important responsibility to ensure that the protection of human rights remains at the core of drug policy and should ensure that appropriate mechanisms are in place to monitor and provide remedies when drug laws and policies are found to be inconsistent with international human rights law and standards.
China (interrupting): how does [abolishing death penalty] lead to reduction of supply?
China: How does this content contribute to supply reduction?
Amnesty International: It has been clear from even UNODC data. There is no clear evidence that it has an effective deterring effect. Countries that have abolished the death penalty did not see an increase in demand or supply. Protection of life is a core human right.
China: I don’t think it answers my question. How does this content contribute to supply reduction? By the way there is no data on the abolishment of death penalty contributing to policies.
Egypt: I will not get into the death penalty discussion, it is not the place to have this, at least not today. China’s question is indeed valid – what does this have to do with supply reduction? Effective measures are supposed to be the focus today, with all due respect to this and OHCHR presentation, these are completely different issues.
Iran: We are also concerned about the relevance of this presentation.
Singapore: Also just reinforcing the lack of focus on supply reduction and the manner of the presentation was unfortunate.
Malaysia: I’m compelled to speak on the death penalty. We are under the impression that today was going to focus on supply reduction and are concerned how this discussion will enhance reaching consensus. The death penalty remains in place in Malaysia until our internal process is completed – we don’t think this is the right forum to discuss and announce such processes.
EU: Just to recall that we have called for the death penalty to be included in the UNGASS outcome document, we regret the concept was not explicitly mentioned and we would like to see it in the ministerial document next March. There are alternative methods that MS in the EU have successfully implemented to suppress supply and we hope to see the trend further progress.
Canada: I wanted to provide a little balance – from our point of view, there is no reason to agree that the application of death penalty is not relevant. We are talking about effective drug control measures, it would be great to share our best practices but it is also useful to share which are not effective. It is our national positon is that there is no evidence that death penalty is an effective deterrent, but it is a violation of human rights and the fact that it is applied to drug crimes represents a perfectly legitimate reason for this to be discussed today.
China: For this discussion, I really think we should conduct this in a harmonious way and focus on common understandings. We are named and shamed by the panellist, and this I don’t like. He pointed out Asian countries and, as chair of the Asia Pacific group, I would like to call the speakers to be more prepared and the Secretariat to balance the topics.
Netherlands: I am looking at the document that was handed out for today: effective law enforcement and responses for drug related crime. The last presentation was perfectly matching this topic. We are a mid-sized country with mid-sized problems. As is well-known, the Netherlands always advocates in this forum a pragmatic and balanced approach with regard to the illicit drug problem. For us health is at the center of such an approach. At the same time we invest in law enforcement. In the Netherlands we take strong action against criminal groups, in order to reduce the supply of illicit drugs. For instance by dismantling illegal cannabis plantations and production sites for synthetic drugs. Also, we face a serious problem in the harbour of Rotterdam where shiploads of cocaine enter the European Union. The Belgian harbour of Antwerp faces the same problem. So that is why our police forces work closely together and with Europol to dismantle this form of organised crime. It is an uphill battle because demand for cocaine in the EU is growing and prices are low as we have seen in the World Drug Report 2018. For us, an integral approach is crucial in combating organised crime. This means that police, prosecution, tax services and local governments work closely together, share information and use all available measures in order to disrupt the criminal industry as effectively as possible. In recent years, strides have been made in combating new trends in the illicit drug trade, such as illegal marketplaces on the so-called dark web and the use of post and parcel services. In this last respect, our police and customs services are closely cooperating with their partner organisations across the world. Our current government is strengthening this integral approach in combating organised crime by further investing in both regional and national capacity, and by improving legislation pertaining to both drug precursors and new psychoactive substances. Another part of our approach is related to our so called coffeeshops, where since the 1970’s cannabis is being sold under strict conditions, with the aim of separating the cannabis market from the markets of more harmful drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Let me be clear: cannabis for recreational use is illegal in the Netherlands under our Opium Act. However, the sale and purchase of small amounts of cannabis in coffeeshops for personal use is tolerated. This pragmatic policy of separating markets has brought us positive health and public order results. The problematic use of highly addictive drugs (such as crack, heroin,crystal meth) for example is very low in our country. In recent years however, local governments signaled that the current policy, where the small sale at the so called “front door” of the coffeeshop is tolerated, and the supply at the back door is prohibited, caused problems in their municipalities related to public safety, public order and law enforcement. Therefore, the government decided to initiate a small scale experiment with a controlled cannabis supply chain to coffeeshops. The aim of this experiment is to examine whether it is possible to achieve a quality-controlled, decriminalised supply of cannabis to coffee shops and to monitor what the effects of this would be on public health and safety, crime and antisocial behaviour. Please allow me to explain this experiment in some more detail: The experiment is designed with the assistance of an independent advisory committee of scientists and experts in the field of law enforcement and public health. It will last for 4 years and will take place in 6 to 10 large and medium-sized municipalities. The government has made a draft bill as a first step for the experiment which describes the purpose and duration of the experiment. The bill is necessary to allow an exemption from the Dutch Opium law for the participating municipalities. The government has sent this draft bill to parliament earlier this year. The experiment will be closely monitored and after four years will result in an independent scientific evaluation. It is important to state that the extent and duration of the experiment will have a legal base in the mentioned bill. The experiment will not lead to a point of no return. It is reversible. The results of this evaluation will be the basis for the government to decide on the follow up of the experiment. It is important to note that both in extent and duration the deviation of international regulations will be small: the experiment has a small scale of six to ten large and medium-sized municipalities and the duration is limited to four years. And as said there will be a scientific based evaluation. We expect that with this experiment we will gain valuable new scientific insights. In this light, given the serious problems that local authorities are facing with public safety and order at this moment and given the purpose to find solutions for these problems, the Dutch government considers the experiment to be justifiable. It is an adequate and proportionate way to gain new insights. The Dutch government will be transparent about the progress and results of the experiment. We therefore already informed INCB of this policy approach at an early time and we take this opportunity to inform the CND members. Therefore, all relevant documents will be translated into English and we will share relevant documentation during the experiment. From this short oversight you can see that the Netherlands is looking for both innovative and effective ways to fight organised drug crime. It is our hope that we can share such experience with other countries and thus find evidence based solutions that arguably diminish harm caused by drug trafficking.
Austria on behalf of the EU: The European Union and its Member States wish to thank you for organising this intersessional meeting in which we can exchange on drug supply reduction and related measures. The EU strives to achieve a multidisciplinary, multi-agency, integrated approach to effectively tackling drug supply and drug-related crime. In this respect we would like to highlight the role of EUROPOL – the European Union’s agency for law enforcement cooperation which supports its Member States in preventing and combating all forms of serious international and organised crime and terrorism. We would also like to emphasise the important role played by EUROJUST which contributes to improving judicial cooperation in the fight against serious crime. In order to reinforce the efforts, we aim to have a balance between preventing and tackling the consequences of crime. Our tool for the co-operation and co-ordination of actions on all dimensions and between all stakeholders on the national and EU level is the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime. This intelligence-led methodology is used to identify and prioritise the most pressing threats associated with organised and serious international crimes for the period 2018-2021. The operational actions to be implemented in the specific anti-drug priorities of the current EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime aim:
• to disrupt the activities of Organised Crime Groups involved in the wholesale trafficking of cannabis, cocaine and heroin to the EU;
• to tackle the criminal networks involved in the trafficking and distribution of multiple types of drugs on EU markets;
• to reduce the production of synthetic drugs and new psychoactive substances in the EU and to dismantle Organised Crime Groups involved in their production, trafficking and distribution.
The illicit online trade in goods and services has been recognised as a key threat to the safety of EU citizens in the Serious and Organised Crime Threat Assessment (SOCTA) 2017 and is also being tackled as part of the EU‘s coordinated response to serious and organised crime – the EU Policy Cycle for organised and serious international crime from 2018 to 2021. We have well developed tools for data collection, research, analysis and reporting on drug- related matters. The collection of policy relevant, reliable and objective data is essential in order for the EU and its Member States to be effective in the decision making process. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) has developed and published guidelines for a number of drug supply indicators on markets, crime and supply reduction, which streamline and improve understanding and monitoring of the drugs phenomenon in the EU. The further development of these indicators is addressed annually under the coordination of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. While heroin is still responsible for the bulk of drug-related harms in the EU, emerging concerns for the EU are the cocain and synthetic drugs markets. Europe is being targeted as a lucrative market for cocain traffickers and serveral indicators suggest its availability is rising, leading to increased harms. Amphetamine, methamphetamine and MDMA consumed in the EU are manufactured in the EU, but they are also being exported to other countries and producers are quick to react to (or anticipate) controls making this the most dynamic of the drug markets in the EU. Potent synthetic opioids, the likes of which have caused mass casualties in the US, although present at relatively low levels in the EU remain a key challenge and there is no room for complacency. An effective drug precursor control and monitoring system is a cornerstone of the EU’s drug supply reduction strategy. In 2013 we revised the EU drug precursor legislation in order to better address the problem of non-scheduled substances via a ‘catch-all-provison’ and a ‘fast- track’ procedure to schedule new substances. And the EU has just started with a new evaluation of our drug precursor policy which may lead to further changes. The EU continues to work closely with key third countries and regions. The EU and its Member States are also active and committed members of the Precursor Task Force of the INCB, which provides a unique forum for multilateral and operational cooperation. We commend the INCB for coordinating this important work. The cooperation with industry is another pillar of the EU’s drug precursor policy. In 2017, we have finalised new ‘Guidelines for Operators’ and these have been actively promoted to our economic operators. Moreover, the EU is not only studying but takes action to address this threat. EU Member State law enforcement agencies, as well as EUROPOL, have been involved into the 2017 takedown of Hansa and Alphabay – two of the largest darknet markets: a coordinated law enforcement action which ranks as one of the most sophisticated takedown operations ever seen in the fight against criminal activities online. Moreover, at the end of 2017, EUROPOL adopted the “Drugs in Europe: Bold law enforcement response” initiative which aims, notably, at increasing the operational impact of multilateral law enforcement cooperation through the adoption of a new methodology focusing on high value targets of interest in multiple jurisdictions and the creation of a highly specialised darknet team. The EU Action Plan on Drugs for 2017 to 2020 provides also a strengthened response to the newly-emerging health and security challenges in the area of illicit drug use and trafficking. While maintaining and updating the core policy areas and cross-cutting themes of the overall EU Drugs Strategy 2013-2020, the new Action Plan 2017-2020 identifies new priority areas for action, including the monitoring of new psychoactive substances as well as the use of new communication technologies for prevention of drug abuse and evidence gathering on the potential connection between drug trafficking and financing of terrorist groups, organised crime, migrant smuggling or trafficking in human beings. More significantly, the EU commits to tackling drug-related financial flows as the EU Member States have agreed to increase the number of financial investigations and encourage its relevant authorities to focus on confiscation and recovery of proceeds of crime, including on money laundering, corruption and other criminal activities in all investigations of organised crime. Finally, the European Union will continue to fund several cooperation programmes working on drug supply reduction worlwide (e.g. EL PAcCTO working against Transnational organised crime, the Cocaine Route programme with SEACOP, AIRCOP and CRIMJUST working in Latin America, in the Caribbean and in West Africa, EU-Action against Drugs and Organised crime (EU-ACT), working along the Heroin route, – to name a few) and the European Union will also renew its financial support to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre – Narcotics (MAOC (N)), platform which works to fight illicit drug trafficking by sea and air, in particular in the Atlantic which has an outstanding record of operations. The EU and its Member States remain committed to taking actions in the area of drug supply reduction.
Pakistan: This topic is of critical importance, and a pillar of an integrated approach. It is not just trafficking but a whole chain of drug related crime that needs to tackle. Without eliminating illicit cultivation, trafficking cannot be tackled. To achieve specific targets set in 2009, we are a poppy-free state but we are one of the most effected transit state. There is an increase of multiple challenges, inflow of drugs and domestic drug production, inflow of cocaine is an emerging issue, and similarly the dark net is an additional challenge. Interagency task forces are in place to coordinate efforts, Pakistan is a part of international frameworks. Our successful law enforcement efforts resulted in record seizures. According to WDR, Pakistan made the largest heroin seizure globally. Precursor control regime is also in place. Pakistan swiftly responds to investigative requests of the international community – with our help a number of cases has been resolved. Capacity building is an important priority for us. This year, 208 law enforcement agents were trained. We remain fully committed to work with international partners to reduce supply of illicit drugs.
Chair: We haven’t exhausted this discussion, but it is past 6 o’clock so we will resume this tomorrow afternoon after we are done discussion the agenda points. Thank you panelists and member states. Good evening.