Statement by His Excellency Mr. Ahmed Sareer, Permanent Representative of Maldives to the UN

UNSC Open Arria-Formula Meeting

International Cooperation in Criminal Matters within the Peace and Security Pillars: the Role of Central Authorities

United Nations, New York, 8 May 2017

Thank you,

At the outset, my delegation wishes to thank the delegation of Italy and the United Nations Office on Drugs and crime for convening this meeting on such an important and ever pressing topic on international cooperation in criminal matters within the peace and security pillar: the role of central authorities.

Distinguished delegates

In our interconnected world, organized crime groups pose a serious threat to peace and security, both in our own countries, and for the international community. These networks increasingly do not recognize any border, or any person, that might stand in their way as any hindrance. These groups engage in trafficking—whether in drugs, firearms, or even persons—on an unprecedented scale. Utilizing the most sophisticated technologies and employing complex digital strategies, their activities have proven increasingly difficult to detect.

The activities of these networks do not just threaten international peace and security; they represent serious violations of human rights and undermine social and economic development. It yields high profits for those involved in exchange for a heavy cost exacted upon the countless men, women, and children who find themselves caught up in their machinations.

Mr. Chair,

In the recent past, the Maldives has strengthened its legal framework to establish a coordinated response mechanism to fight that scourge. The Maldives recently ratified the Optional Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.

In 2014, the Maldives enacted the Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorist Activities Act, which prohibits and criminalizes any acts of money laundering or financing of terrorism, along with safeguards to prevent such activities. Also enacted were the Extradition, Mutual Legal Assistance, and Transfer of Prisoners Acts, which further strengthened the legal frameworks to establish better coordination between national agencies to better investigate and bring those responsible to justice. The Maldives is also a signatory of the SAARC Mutual Legal Assistance Convention, which works to foster regional cooperation and coordination among central and competent authorities to address related challenges and assist member countries on legal matters.

The Maldives launched its anti-human trafficking campaign in 2013 to combat all forms of human trafficking in the Maldives, the three main components of which comprise criminalization, prevention, and rehabilitation of victims. This campaign builds upon and operationalizes the provisions of the Anti-Human Trafficking Act of 2013, which criminalizes forced labor and fraudulent recruitment as acts of human trafficking

Mr. Chair,

In considering the heinous activities carried out by transnational networks, creating vectors of violence, we would be remiss to neglect the fact that it is often those regions already vulnerable to external threats which are most exposed to the trail of death and destruction these networks leave in their wake. Nor can we overlook the growing connection of these networks to terrorism and terrorist groups, which makes their countering only more essential. In this respect, the United Nations, and in particular the Security Council, has an important role to play.

The Maldives believes that international cooperation, particularly for the improvement of institutional and technical capacities of individual states, is necessary to strengthen the fight against organized crimes. In this regard, Maldives calls upon the international community to redouble its efforts and to explore innovative ways to combat these groups, enhance cooperation and coordination, and to stand ready to provide support to the most vulnerable through capacity building and technical assistance.

The strengthening of international legal mechanisms is also an important component. Member states should also, to the fullest extent possible, strive to deepen their participation in regional and sub-regional initiatives and organizations, and, in a spirit of cooperation and determination, work towards improving the comprehensiveness of these regional frameworks whenever and wherever possible.

The Maldives welcomes the efforts of UNODC for its technical assistance since 2011 to strengthen the national response on drug use prevention and treatment through a series of capacity-building measures both with the Maldivian Government and civil society. Particularly helpful have been the regional workshops convened for legal and judicial officials. Such programmes can and should serve as a model for further cooperation both in the region and around the world, in line with the provisions of Security Council Resolution 2322. The Maldives is also working closely with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to combat human trafficking and smuggling crimes in the Maldives and increasing technical capacity of law enforcement agencies working in the sector. In collaboration with INTERPOL we are also able to tap into the high tech infrastructure of technical and operational support to meet the growing challenges of fighting transnational crime around the world.

As we discuss the good practices in international legal cooperation, the Maldives remains strongly committed to enhance and strengthen our efforts to work with the international partners to break down barriers to cross-border investigations and prosecutions and take international cooperation to a higher level.

I thank you.