Illicit Cross-Border Trafficking and Movement
Tomorrow afternoon (8 November), Council members will be briefed by the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, on the Secretary-General’s 19 October report on illicit cross-border trafficking and movement (S/2012/777). No outcome is expected at present.
The consultations and report are a follow-up to the Council’s 25 April open debate on “Threats to international peace and security: Securing borders against illicit flows” (S/PV.6760). After lengthy and difficult negotiations before the debate, the Council adopted a presidential statement (S/PRST/2012/16), highlighting the challenges and threats caused by illicit cross-border trafficking and movement. It also requested the Secretary-General to submit in six months a report providing a “comprehensive survey and assessment of the UN’s work” to assist states in countering illicit cross-border trafficking and movement.
The report draws on the input of 20 UN entities as well as three international non-UN agencies that cooperate closely with the UN (the International Organization for Migration, the World Customs Organization and INTERPOL). It sets out the broad range of activities, projects and programmes in which the UN is engaged in support of member states’ efforts to confront this challenge.
Among the report’s observations is that efforts to meet the threat of illicit cross-border trafficking and movement cannot be limited to the strengthening of the borders themselves. Instead, the threat requires multidisciplinary responses that integrate rule of law, development and security approaches, while ensuring the respect for human rights and the protection of and assistance to victims.
It seems the US initiated the consultations on the report this month, although – following the difficult negotiations on the 25 April presidential statement- it had appeared reluctant to follow up on the report. Several Council members see this issue as encroaching on the competency of the General Assembly on border management issues while others are sensitive about discussing their border security in the Council. It seems these states are not in favour of further Council consideration of this issue and are not advocating an outcome. Other members see a more direct link between illicit cross-border trafficking and movements and international peace and security and would have liked to have seen some concrete proposals in the report on how the UN could enhance its response to this issue. It is possible that those in support of having illicit trafficking discussed further may try to bring this topic back into the Council at a later date.
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