Posted by: africanpressorganization | 28 April 2009

African Union enhances links with INTERPOL to combat transnational crime



African Union enhances links with INTERPOL to combat transnational crime


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, April 28, 2009/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Identifying methods to better fight international crimes such as human trafficking, drug

smuggling, trafficking in small arms and light weapons, maritime piracy, terrorism and corruption were key issues during a two-day meeting between the African Union (AU) Commission and senior INTERPOL officials.

The memorandum of understanding signed by both organizations in 2001 was also reviewed in order to further strengthen co-operation in tackling transnational crime.

The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, Adv Bience Gawanas, emphasised that co-operation with INTERPOL would provide strong support for the implementation of the AU’s Strategic Plan with regard to Peace and Security, Social Development and Governance for 2009-2012.

“By addressing the challenges of drugs and crime, the economic, political and social space will be galvanised for sustainable development. In order for that to be realised, INTERPOL’s commitment at this stage to the upcoming process is of utmost importance,” she said.

Commissioner Gawanas said the four major challenges related to cross-border smuggling that threaten security and public health on the continent are small arms, illicit drugs, counterfeit medicines and human trafficking. She also reiterated the intensified political support by the African Union Heads of State and Government in the fight against drugs and crime during the past two years.

Heading the INTERPOL delegation, Executive Director of Police Services, Jean-Michel Louboutin said the African Union represents a key partner for the organization’s current and future efforts.

“INTERPOL has undergone many changes since we first began our co-operation with the African Union eight years ago, but one thing has remained constant and that is the need for continued partnership to address regional law enforcement and security needs,” said Mr Louboutin.

“While there is the will and the commitment from law enforcement throughout Africa to be fully engaged in combating regional and international crime, we must ensure that the resources, training and support are available to police officers on the ground so that they can do their jobs more effectively.”

The need for African countries to extend their connections to INTERPOL’s I-24/7 global police communications network beyond the National Central Bureaus and particularly to border control points, giving officers direct access to INTERPOL’s global policing tools, was also highlighted as vital in enhancing security.

Key among these tools is INTERPOL’s Stolen and Lost Travel Documents database, a critical element in national and international security to prevent criminals from illegally entering a country using fake travel documents to avoid detection or escape justice.

“Making sure that police across Africa have access to INTERPOL’s tools is only part of the solution. It is also essential that they are supported by sufficient equipment such as national databases so that law enforcement authorities can operate at their fullest capabilities,” Mr Louboutin told the meeting.

“This is why in 2008, supported by Germany, INTERPOL launched its Operational Assistance Services and Infrastructure Support (OASIS) programme in Africa to strengthen the ability of police forces to combat transnational crime and terrorism through enhancing capacity-building, infrastructure and operations, and we look forward to continued cooperation with the African Union in implementing this important project throughout the region.”





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