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06. Oktober 2014

STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR TEBOGO SEOKOLO, PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF SOUTH AFRICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE SEVENTH SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME, GENERAL DISCUSSION, 06 OCTOBER 2014, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

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Mr President,

I join other delegations in congratulating you on your election as President of the Seventh Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime. My delegation would like to assure you of its full cooperation during the deliberations of this Conference. Equally, we extend our support to the Bureau as well as our appreciation to the Secretariat for all the hard work in preparing for this Conference.

South Africa aligns itself with the statements delivered by Ambassador Simon  Maruta, Permanent Representative of Namibia on behalf of the African Group, and Ambassador Lourdes O. Yparraguirre, Permanent Representative of the Philippines on behalf of the Group of 77 + China.

Mr President,

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols remains an important instrument and one that fosters cooperation in the global fight against transnational organized crime.

The growing threat posed organized criminal activities across borders remains a challenge we continue to face.  Transnational organized crime does not only undermine sustainable development, but also has a negative impact on the attainment of durable peace, security and stability– the necessary conditions for the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The upward trend in the number of ratification of the UN Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols by Member States, in particular from the African Continent is a testament to the commitment of the international community to collectively address this challenge.

Mr. President,

In an increasingly globalised world, perpetrators of crime are finding new and innovative ways to organize criminal activities across the boundaries. In South Africa, the illicit mining and trafficking of precious metals continues to undermine the attainment of sustainable development and economic growth. The global demand for these illicitly mined natural resources and the utilization of existing smuggling routes and networks compounds the situation even further.

Equally, South Africa strongly believes that the continued poaching of endangered species such as the issue of Rhino poaching is yet another emerging crime that requires a global and coordinated response. While the issue of Rhino poaching has been listed as one of the priority crimes in South Africa, we believe that this issue is not a challenge for South Africa or our region alone to bear. It also has international dimension which requires a global synergy and cooperation.

Similarly, the growing threat posed by cybercrime remains one of the global threats that also require collective action by the international community. In this regard, South Africa believes that all States Parties should work to fulfill the commitments adopted in the Salvador Declaration, in particular the need to elaborate a legally binding instrument that would address the issue of cybercrime.

Mr. President,

The year 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the new dispensation in South Africa which gives full expression to our democratic ideals. The South African Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, is rooted in the values of equality, freedom, human dignity and the rule of law. These constitutional values remain central in South Africa’s crime prevention strategies and the administration of criminal justice. It is in this context that South Africa has and continues to implement the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols through various legislation, including the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, the Financial Intelligence Centre Act, the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act, the Criminal Procedure Act, the Firearms Control Act and Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act. We are also prioritizing legislation on the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air.

Our experiences of the past have taught us the value of having strong and independent institutions which support our constitutional democracy as well as combating national and transnational organised crime. Over and above a comprehensive legal framework to push back the scourge of transnational organised crime, we have,within the South African Police Service established a specialized and dedicated unit, known as the HAWKS aimed at preventing, combating and investigating national priority offences. The HAWKS have adopted a collaborative investigative methodology and work in an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach with all relevant stakeholders in law enforcement and the private sector to address organised crime.

Mr President,

As we reflect on the progress we have made in fulfilment of the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols, we remain mindful of the importance of a review mechanism. South Africa believes that the mechanism to be adopted must be transparent, efficient, non-intrusive, inclusive and impartial. Equally, the review mechanism must be aimed at assisting State Parties in the effective implementation of the Convention and related Protocols. Furthermore, South Africa strongly underlines that such a mechanism should be intergovernmental in character and funded from the regular budget in order to ensure predictability of its resources and its independence.

My delegation further expresses its appreciation to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for its efforts in promoting the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols as well as providing technical assistance to States Parties upon request. In Southern Africa, such efforts have led to the finalization of the Joint SADC-UNODC Regional Programme aimedat making the SADC region Safer from Drugs and Crime. However, its operationalization is still to be realised. We are looking forward to the strengthening of the UNODC Regional Office in South Africa.  

My delegation acknowledges the work done by the African Union Commission in response to emerging challenges relating to drugs and crime. In this regard, South Africa calls upon State Parties, UNODC and development partners to work collaboratively with the African Union to support the endorsement and implementation of the 2012-2018 AU Plan of Action.

Mr. President,

Given the inherent linkages between different forms of transnational crimes, the exchange of information and best practices in the field of crime prevention becomes essential especially in new and emerging crimes.

We, therefore stress the importance of strengthened international cooperation, based on the principles of shared responsibility and in accordance with international law, in order to dismantle illicit networks and counter the world drug problem and transnational organized crime, including money-laundering, trafficking in persons, trafficking in arms and other forms of organized crime, all of which threaten national security and undermine sustainable development and the rule of law.

In conclusion, South Africa remains committed to fulfil its obligations under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols and encourages all States who have not ratified these instruments, to do so expeditiously.

I thank you

 

 

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