20 June 2022, Naples – The first day of the High-Level Conference “The Palermo Convention: the future of the fight against transnational organized crime” highlighted concrete proposals put forth by parliamentary delegations and international experts. The event is organized by PAM in partnership with Regione Campania, the United Nation Office on Drugs and Crime and Vittorio Occorsio Foundation.
At the Opening Ceremony, Italian President, H.E. Sergio Mattarella, addressed a message outlining his confidence that the PAM Conference will strengthen the collaboration outlined in the Palermo Convention.
PAM President, Hon. Gennaro Migliore, underlined that Transnational Organized Crime has taken the lives of many, and indicated that the Palermo Convention needed updating. He further indicated that the event shall contribute to the revision mechanism to reinforce the Convention.
Mrs. Ghada Wali, UNODC Executive Director, from Vienna recalled the need to take the Palermo Convention forward to address the challenges of our time. She expressed positivity on the fact that the PAM conference will serve to address new emerging priorities and supported a more robust criminal justice response. UNODC will keep working with PAM parliamentarians to identify and develop new strategic responses in that regard.
Naples’ Mayor Gaetano Manfredi, Mohamed Lemine Guig, Deputy Secretary General of the Arab League and H.E. Luciana Lamorgese, Italian Minister of the Interior, delivered key speeches. They insisted on the impact that organized crime has on societies, as well as new challenges that have emerged, such as cybersecurity and for which a timely adjustment of legislations and new tools are needed to prosecute criminal actions.
A presentation of the Palermo Convention and its Protocol analyzed the current status of organized crime, with all its facets and lessons learned in regard to crimes against the environment, cultural property as well as money laundering. Dimosthenis Chrysikos of UNODC moderated the first panel, to which participated Hon. Mohammed Abu El Enein, Egypt, world famous archaeologist Zahi Hawass, Pasquale Fimiani, Deputy Attorney General at the Italian Court of Cassation, Marcus Pleyer, President of the Financial Action Task Force, and Roberto Tartaglia of the Italian Presidency of the Council of Ministers.
During the debate, issues pertaining to the protection of the most vulnerable, forced labour, slavery, sexual exploitation and traffic of vital organs were discussed. The session, moderated by Hon. Piero de Luca, was addressed by Hon. Dherar Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE, PAM special representative on Children and Armed Conflict, Andrea Salvoni of OSCE (virtually), and Hon. Sabah Giuma Abdelwahed Allafi, Libya.
Hon. Dherar Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi explained how organ trafficking serves the financial interests of ISIL in the region and Syria, in particular. Mr. Salvoni stated that there is a significant gap between the number criminal offences and the actual prosecution of the traffickers. He addressed challenges related to impunity, protection of victims, prevention and need for political will. Lastly, Mrs Sabah Giuma Abdelwahed Allafi presented Libya’s legislative efforts against human trafficking.
In conclusion, President Migliore stressed the essential role of parliamentarians in prioritizing the fight against human trafficking and exploitation.
Lastly, the need for an update of the Palermo Convention emerged. Twenty years after its launch, organized crime has changed the way it operates, and there is an urgent need for an update of legislative systems, and for a cross-national dialogue on the major problems and best practices to address these new challenges. //