PAM at the UNODC meeting on the Smuggling of Migrants

PAM at  the  UNODC meeting on the Smuggling of Migrants
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) participated and actively contributed in the 6th meeting of the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants, held by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, on 11–13 September 2019 in Vienna, Austria.
PAM was represented by Hon. Renato Sampaio, Head of the Portuguese delegation to the Assembly, Hon. Carla Barros, member of the Portuguese delegation to PAM, and Amb. Peter Schatzer, PAM Permanent Observer to the UN and other organizations in Vienna. 
The meeting was attended by 215 participants from different countries and the parties shared information and technical expertise on the smuggling of migrants on topics such as, smuggling routes, crimes committed against migrants and fatalities, as a form of transnational organized crime. In addition, modus operandi and scale of the smuggling of migrants by air, with a particular focus on its facilitation through document fraud, in line with the provisions of the Smuggling of Migrants Protocol, was discussed.
In his speech, Hon. Renato Sampaio highlighted the indispensable legislative role of national and regional parliaments to put an end to the smuggling of migrants as a crime against humanity. He highlighted the strong dedication of PAM to these issues by constantly dealing with the challenges related to migration and human mobility, including mixed movements involving migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees. He also shared with the participants the conclusions of the recent PAM meeting held in Ankara, on the nexus of population movements and security.
He reminded States of their humanitarian obligation to save lives in the Mediterranean whether in their own search and rescue zone, or in the search and rescue zones of countries that do not live up to their obligations, or even in the territorial waters of failed states, and to refrain from punishing as smugglers, those providing humanitarian assistance. 
He also called the European Union to adopt and implement, as a matter of urgency, agreed and compulsory policies based on solidarity and burden sharing, to avoid that EU shoreline states be left alone to deal with the phenomenon. 
He emphasized the need not only to target criminal networks wherever they operate, but to establish and maintain stability, peace and security, protect human rights and identify and eradicate those factors that may feed into radicalization and violent extremism, such as the lack of livelihood, in order to reduce the population’s general vulnerability to trafficking and smuggling. 
Building institutional capacity of States to effectively prevent and respond to the related traditional and emerging crimes and relevant human rights violations was also referred to as key to dismantle this criminal network.
At the international level, Hon. Sampaio stressed the importance of increasing regional partnerships among countries of origin, transit, and destination on both sides of the Mediterranean and enhancing information-sharing on regional and national rapid response mechanisms to address the challenges posed by trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.
In his conclusion, Hon. Sampaio informed the participants of the intention of PAM to convene a meeting dedicated to the harmonization of legislations on smuggling of migrants and the effective implementation of the 3 Smuggling Protocol in the Euro-Mediterranean area, as it is already doing on the issue on counter terrorism. Partner organizations States' law enforcement agencies will be associated to the event.//
issued on 23.09.2019
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