High-Level Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on "The Role of Regional Organizations in Strengthening and Implementing Crime Prevention Initiatives and Criminal Justice Responses

Published Date: 
Friday, June 7, 2019
Kieran Gorman-Best, Senior Policy and Liaison Officer

High -level Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on "The Role of Regional

Organizations in Strengthening and Implementing Crime Prevention Initiatives and

Criminal Justice Responses

Statement by the

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

06 June, 2019, Trusteeship Council, UNHQ New York

11:15 am – 1:00 pm

Interactive Panel Discussion: Enhancing the strategic relationship between the UN and regional organizations in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Challenges facing the international community


Excellencies, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen,

The International Organization for Migration, IOM welcomes this high-level debate and appreciates the initiative of the Member States, President of the General Assembly and the UNODC. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate IOM’s unwavering commitment to cooperate with and to support regional organizations in matters related to crime prevention and criminal justice.

IOM advocates and actively supports a holistic migration policy approach and has a long history of working with regional organizations, such as EU, CARICOM, OSCE and ASEAN, to ensure that IOM’s activities are aligned with, build on and directly complement other national, regional and international initiatives.

Based on these experiences, I would like to mention a few areas that IOM can contribute to enhanced strategic relationship based on the principles of shared responsibility, in strong collaboration with UNODC and other partners:

First, the nature of criminal enterprises, especially human trafficking and migrant smuggling require more concerted efforts at the regional level if we are to prevent and suppress these crimes. As criminal groups have appropriated new technologies, adapted horizontal network structures that are difficult to trace, diversified their activities, and developed tactics that are more sophisticated than ever, comprehensive policies, concerted action and enhanced cooperation with regional organizations are key to effectively counter these crimes. Cooperation with regional organizations will also build effective national, regional capacities to prevent, combat and eradicate migrant smuggling and human trafficking.

Second, comprehensive efforts to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime must include significant components within the border management sphere, where they intersect most closely with. Expanding information sharing and the use of border security tools to disrupt terrorist travel are critical elements of an effective strategy to reduce regional security threats and combat crimes at a global level. IOM aims to bring in meaningful contributions to the coordinated efforts towards combatting terrorism and trans-national organized crime, based on our longstanding policy and programmatic accomplishments on promoting migration management capacity, including the improving of border management and its existing expertise on API/PNR.

Third, it is a sensible and necessary commitment to assist all countries in building capacities in international migration law, with full respect to human rights obligations, and this again will require well-articulated partnerships among concerned countries, organizations and agencies. It is important to work towards a situation where migration systems do not exacerbate vulnerabilities but rather guarantees protection of the human rights of migrants irrespective of their status. Efforts are needed to make sure that the victims of transnational organized crimes have cross-border remedies of justice. This should be done in accordance with promoting the rule of law and appropriate state responses to migratory movements, which need to be designed to improve access to justice for migrants, which are ideally encoded in regional agreements.

In conclusion, we in IOM strongly believe that regional organizations have unique advantages in preventing conflict, leveraging local knowledge, and enhancing regional coordination both in humanitarian and development context. With a large presence in the form of regional, country and sub-offices and strong capacity of technical assistance programs, IOM stands ready to further unite with regional organizations, including other UN entities especially UNODC, to promote more effective crime prevention policies and criminal justice measures all over the world.

I thank you.