74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)
Agenda Item 106: Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice; Agenda Item 107: Countering the Use of Information and Communications technologies for criminal purposes and Agenda Item 108: International Drug Control
Statement by the Sri Lanka Delegation
Thank you for giving me the floor. My delegation appreciates the Secretary-General’s comprehensive reports under Agenda Items 106, 107 and 108, which will certainly enrich our deliberations today.
Sri Lanka remains deeply concerned about the impact of transnational organized crime, terrorism and emerging other forms of crime such as cybercrime on development, peace, stability and security of States, and therefore the growing vulnerability of States. The rule of law and development are interrelated and crime prevention and criminal justice are essential for sustained and inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.
In this context, we are committed to continued upholding of the rule of law in order to prevent and counter crime in all its forms and manifestations at the national level. Internationally, Sri Lanka has enhanced bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation to prevent and combat these crimes, and reiterate the need to recognize the importance of international cooperation in criminal matters, including mutual legal assistance and extradition.
The threat to domestic systems through cybercrime is constantly increasing and changing, thereby necessitating a holistic approach in its deterrence through cooperation in prevention, investigation, prosecution and enhancing national capacity-building mechanisms and institutions.
In Sri Lanka, the Computer Crime Act is the primary legislative tool in our fight against cybercrime. In 2015, becoming a State Party to the Budapest Cyber Crime Convention, reinvigorated our strong commitment to harmonize and improve national legislation in accordance with international standards governing cybercrime. Most recently, in October last year, the Government of Sri Lanka adopted a comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy and legislation been drafted on Cyber Security and Data Protection. In addition, to addressing evolving cybercrime challenges, Sri Lanka has embarked on a review of the criminal justice measures in the area of child safety online, and recently approved an Amendment to the Obscene Publications Ordinance to comprehensively deal with Child Pornography related offences.
The Secretary-General in his Report A/74/125 has expressed concern about “reports of an increase in hate-motivated crimes and hate speech globally, and has called on Member States to enhance their efforts to prevent such crimes, including by addressing their roots causes and strengthening State institutions in line with the United Nations Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech”. This phenomenon came to pass, with the terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka that took the lives of over 250 people with many more injured. It is a glaring reminder to all of us that no country is immune to radicalization, extremism and terrorism. Sri Lanka while condemning all forms of racism, hatred and violent extremism, calls for all States to firmly resolve to fight these global menaces and to work in collaboration to address the root causes. Sri Lanka is fully supportive of the UN Strategy on Hate Speech initiated by the Secretary-General and welcomes the UN initiatives on combating this scourge.
The world drug problem continues to present challenges to the health, safety and well-being of all people. It remains a common and shared responsibility of all States and in order to effectively counter the multi-faceted challenges posed by it, a comprehensive and integrated approach that focuses on individuals, families and society as a whole is required.
The Report of the Secretary General on “International cooperation against the world drug problem” notes that the prevalence of drug abuse globally is 5.6 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years and that the highest prevalence rates of drug use are found among the youth population. In addition, the Report notes that an estimated 31 million people who use drugs suffer from drug use disorders. As we endeavor to leave no one behind and achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, it is essential to recognize that efforts to achieve the SDGs and action taken to counter the world drug problem are complementary and mutually reinforcing. We must ensure that no one of the global population is left behind.
Sri Lanka has long advocated the prevention of drug use and abuse and our approach towards this issue has been integrated and balanced. Acknowledging that tackling this issue in the country requires equal attention to reduction in supply and demand and combating trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as well as treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) which was established by an Act in 1984, is the principal national institution charged with the formulation and review of a National policy relating to the prevention, control, treatment and rehabilitation of drug abuse. Strengthening of customs and law enforcement capabilities, the study and development of a harmonized legislative approach to drug related offences, the improvement of treatment and rehabilitation services for drug users and the launching of a wide variety of education campaigns in schools and communities, are among some of the approaches taken by the NDDCB towards curbing drug use in Sri Lanka.
The strategic location of Sri Lanka straddling the East and West hemispheres, has made Sri Lanka increasingly vulnerable to drug trafficking, with international drug smugglers using Sri Lanka as a transshipment hub in Asia. Sri Lanka is fully engaged in strengthening responses, working closely with UNODC and other Member States to combat the emerging threats related to transnational organized crime and in line with the international drug control conventions. My delegation wishes to take this opportunity to thank the UNODC, as the leading entity in the United Nations system for addressing the world drug problem, and its Regional Office for South Asia that has provided technical assistance towards the country’s efforts to combat the problem of illicit drugs and international crime.
Sri Lanka pledges to address collectively and effectively the various aspects of transnational organized crime, terrorism, cybercrime and the drug problem as the country endeavors to achieve the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.