Smuggling of migrants, cultural heritage and Mandela Rules in resolution approved at UN

This article first appeared in Onuitalia, independent news site on Italy’s contribution to the life and ideals of the United Nations

by Matteo Meloni

Twitter: @melonimatteo

b-jirhucmaabc9r-jpg-large-e1424729059902-620x261NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 25 – The Third Commitee, the body of the UN that provides decisions on a range of social, humanitarian affairs and human rights issues that affect people all over the world, adopted the resolution “Strengthening The United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program”, of which Italy is co-sponsor with other 123 members.

The resolution deals with the problems of world justice and judiciary police in the penal sector, giving continuity to the Palermo Convention, the main international instrument in the fight against transnational organized crime, voted in 2000 and already ratified by 186 countries. Every year Italy brings the voices of the UN member States, being spokesperson of the resolution.

The document represents a major step forward in the fight against transnational organized crime, participation in organized criminal groups, money laundering, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. This year is a particular one, given the radicalization and escalation of terrorism worldwide, connected with the smuggling of migrants, a field in which Italy is particularly involved, being the country that reacted from the very beginning at the phenomenon of migration: the Italian Navy and Coast Guard have saved over 200,000 people from drowning in the Mediterranean since 2005 and, with “Mare Nostrum” operation, over 130,000 people were saved between October 2013 and October 2014.

The resolution deals also with the protection of cultural heritage, another topic in the center of Italy’s diplomatic efforts: recently UNESCO has approved Italy’s proposal to send UN teams – sort of peacekeepers for culture – to protect heritage sites around the world from various threats, primarily from terrorist attacks or after natural disasters.

Moreover, the document approved by the Third Committee concerns the so-called “Mandela Rules”, standard minimum rules for treatment of prisoners, universally acknowledged benchmark for prison administrations worldwide. On the occasion of the adoption of the resolution, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, affirmed: “The resolution strikes a balance between the need to combat organized crime in all of its forms, and at the same time, protect the human rights of communities and victims of crime, as well as of the perpetrators of criminal acts, in accordance with international standards and the principles of the Rule of Law.”

The fight against terrorism has a big importance in the resolution: “Advanced languages have been introduced with reference to phenomena related to terrorism”, underlined Lambertini, and “While recognizing a growing link between terrorists and organized groups in some cases, the resolution dwells on specific threats posed by terrorism. The importance of strengthening international cooperation – concluded the Ambassador – is clearly highlighted, and we call upon all Member States to contribute actively in this respect.”

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