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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
UN Police warn of organized crime threat to peacekeeping
09 September 2008 / 10:17

[Dateline: New York | Author: DPKO]

International policing and law enforcement experts met in Stockholm from 27 to 28 August to forge closer cooperation in the global fight against organized crime in post-conflict settings, including peacekeeping operations.

Experts from UN agencies, the World Bank, the European Union, INTERPOL and academia were brought together by the Police Division of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations for the fourth International Policing Advisory Council (IPAC) meeting.

The IPAC meeting emphasized the importance of forming partnerships across the UN system and beyond in addressing organized crime, in particular with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the UN Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP). Close relationships with non-UN actors including INTERPOL, EUROPOL and other regional partners are also crucial.

United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions, Dmitry Titov, opened the event and highlighted the results that can be achieved when law enforcement players work together.

"International policing is playing an increasingly central role in any effective peacekeeping response to organized crime in post-conflict situations. This activity includes information gathering in cooperation with international law enforcement partners, sophisticated analysis of clandestine groups and mechanisms for building up the rule of law in local communities," Mr. Titov said.

UN peacekeeping operations and presences have been tasked to combat illicit operations including: gang and drug crime in Haiti; human trafficking and financial crime in Kosovo; drug trafficking in Guinea Bissau; arms trafficking in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo; illicit timber trading in Liberia; and the illegal economy in Timor-Leste.

UN Member States have committed themselves to combating organized crime through the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which opened for signature in Palermo in 2000.

UN Police Adviser Andrew Hughes, who chaired the IPAC meeting, emphasized that preventing, disrupting and dismantling organized crime was a legitimate part of police activities in many peacekeeping operations.

"Organized crime should be on the programme of UN Police activities as it is on the programme of policing throughout the world," Mr. Hughes said.

IPAC was launched two years ago to support the strategic mission of the UN Police to promote the long-term reform, restructuring and rebuilding of national police forces in post-conflict countries.

Police operations are the fastest growing component of UN peacekeeping. The number of authorized police officers in UN missions has doubled from 8,315 in January 2006 to 16,900 in January 2008. As of today, almost 13,000 UN police officers, drawn from 98 countries, are deployed in 19 UN peace operations.

The Police Division is an integral component of the Office of Rule of Law and Security Institutions (OROLSI). UN Police work with OROLSI colleagues, including experts in the areas of justice and corrections, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, security sector reform and mine action to provide an integrated approach to UN assistance in rule of law and security.