PAM at UNODC meetings: harmonization of legislation is key for international cooperation

PAM at UNODC meetings: harmonization of legislation is key for international cooperation

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean (PAM) participated and actively contributed in the 7th Session of the Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants and the 10th session of the Working group of trafficking in persons, held by the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, on 8–9 and 10-11 September 2019 respectively in Vienna, Austria. The meetings were held in a hybrid format, with participants in person and joining virtually.

PAM was represented by Hon. Ammar Moussi, Member of the Algerian Parliament, Hon. Gennaro Migliore, Member of the Italian Parliament, Hon. Joana Lima, Head of the Portuguese delegation to the Assembly, Hon. Maria Emília e Sousa Cerqueira, member of the Portuguese delegation to PAM, Hon. Kenza Ajala, Member of the Tunisian Parliament, Hon. Celadet Gaydali, Member of the Turkish Parliament, and Amb. Peter Schatzer, PAM Permanent Observer to the UN and other organizations in Vienna. 

The Working Group on the Smuggling of Migrants was attended by 450 international crime prevention and criminal justice experts and focuses on current issues related to Smuggling of Migrants and challenges in the implementation of the UN Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants — adopted 20 years ago. 

Participants discussed ways to improve cooperation to detect, investigate and prosecute cases of migrant smuggling, while protecting the vulnerable people who turn to smugglers in times of declining social and economic conditions in their home countries.  In particular, it was highlighted that COVID-19-related travel restrictions have not stopped this criminal activity and that the economic consequences of the pandemic are likely to lead to an increase in the smuggling of migrants.

At the end of the two-day meeting, the participants analysed a series of recommendations for tackling the crime of migrant smuggling during the pandemic and caring for the migrants. These include providing protection measures for smuggled migrants throughout the COVID crisis, such as access to health care, regardless of status, and the support of the wider use of technology within the criminal justice system to facilitate access to judicial processes.

The 10th session of the Working group of trafficking in persons participants reviewed  the issue of appropriate criminal justice responses to victims who have been compelled to commit offences as a result of their being trafficked, and practices in joint investigations and specialized prosecutions.

During this session, Hon. Joana Lima, Head of the Portuguese Delegation to PAM, took the floor on behalf of the Assembly. In her statement she stressed that some of the key obstacles to international cooperation in dealing with trafficking in persons are legislative in nature and that harmonized legislation is the absolute key to facilitate joint investigations, admissibility of evidence, ensuring adequate safeguards, etc. In this regard, she called for more engagement with parliaments and interparliamentary Assemblies such as PAM to promote international instruments between parliaments, facilitate fruitful dialogue on legislative best practices and lessons learned and promote harmonious adaptation of international instruments into national laws. 

PAM has established an excellent cooperation with the UNOCT and UNCTED as well as the Council of Europe on the issue of counterterrorism and electronic evidence, and is ready to explore joint projects with the UNODC to address legislative gaps and promote harmonization of legislation to facilitate international parliamentary cooperation in the fight against human trafficking and specifically on the issue of joint investigations.//


issued on 16/09/2020


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