UNCTOC Conference Statement 2014 Order of Malta - Permanent Observer Mission


UNCTOC Conference Statement 2014

Statement by H. E. Ambassador Günther A. Granser

Permanent Observer to the United Nations and other International Organizations
Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention

Vienna, 6 – 10 October 2014

Mr. Chairman,

At the outset, let me congratulate you on your election as the President of the seventh session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. I would also like to extend congratulations to the other members of the Bureau. We would like to assure you of the full cooperation of the Sovereign Order of Malta in the endeavor to achieve a successful conclusion to this session.

Transnational organized crime continues to pose a grave threat to all our societies.  The Order affirms its beliefs that the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the protocols thereto, constitutes the main tool available to the international community to fight against the serious and growing problem of transnational organized crime. No country is immune, and no country can stand alone in defiance of this transnational threat. While the problems are often local, there is a need to build a global response. Transnational organized crime is a global problem that must be addressed in a global manner, dealing with its causes as well as its effects. The United Nations Convention against Transnational organized Crime and the Protocols thereto have provided the appropriate legal instruments to tackle organized crime.

Regarding the smuggling of migrants it is believed that State Parties should continue to review and, as appropriate, strengthen their relevant legislation to combat smuggling of migrants. The Order sees the need for such efforts to be pursued alongside the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants, regardless of their immigration status, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age or religion.
In fact, trafficking in human beings is a dreadful offence against human dignity, which the Order regards as the foundation of human rights. It is well known that poverty, as well as the lack of opportunities and of social cohesion, push people to look for a better future despite the related risks, making them extremely vulnerable to trafficking.

Among other things, a coherent and integral approach should also promote the integration of victims into society that receives them, especially those who cooperate with the Authorities against traffickers, which include medical care and psycho-social counselling, accommodation, residence permits and access to employment.

The Sovereign Order of Malta is active in this efforts to help these people in need and recent initiatives have included the opening of a clinic to treat thousands of migrants arriving by boat from North Africa and Central Asia in Sicily and other places of Italy.

A special focus is the work with the Italian Coast Guard to provide a rescue service at sea for migrants coming to the southern coast of Italy 365 days a year. Ten thousands of boat people arrived, including minors who landed, almost without an accompanying adult, alone and abandoned.

UNODC’s premier project to support implementation of the Convention has made tangible progress. UNODC has the global reach and expertise to effectively promote international cooperation in criminal matters, and we should continue to encourage its engagement on this front. International cooperation is the answer to combat the threat of organized crime.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, let me conclude by reiterating our commitment to the goals and objectives of this seventh session of the Conference of parties. It is our sincere hope that this session will produce clear and focused outcomes that will ensure the successful implementation of the Convention and its Protocols.