Sommaire: 30 July 2010, New York - Explanation of Position on behalf of the European Union by Ellen De Geest, Permanent Mission of Belgium to the United Nations, on occasion of the adoption by the General Assembly of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Human Beings
The EU would like to thank the Co-facilitators for presenting the text of the GPA. The EU acknowledges the Co-facilitators' hard and careful work on this issue over the past months and is very appreciative of all of their efforts.
Human trafficking is a topic which is a major political priority for the EU and the EU remains strongly committed to the fight against this hideous crime which is an affront to human dignity and which constitutes a gross violation of the human rights of victims, particularly women and children. The EU is strongly convinced that, in this fight, the primacy of the existing legal instruments, namely the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Protocols thereto, in particular the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, is beyond doubt as they form the pillar for international cooperation in this domain. The fear of the EU along this process was that the adoption of this non-binding document could serve as a disincentive for Member States to ratify and implement the existing instruments which are legally binding. It is clear that this Plan of Action can not replace the UNTOC and the Trafficking Protocol. This is a standing position of the EU. Therefore, the EU urges Member States that have not yet done so to ratify or accede to these instruments and to implement them fully and effectively. Unfortunately, this call could not be expressed as strongly as we had wished.
The EU negotiated in good faith and with a constructive and principled approach throughout the consultation process and today we join the consensus on this Plan of Action. However, we want to emphasise once more that the implementation of this Plan should not lead, now or in the future, to a parallel process that would undermine the process currently ongoing in Vienna. The EU insists that any risk of duplicative reporting obligations or, all the more so, of double legal standards, should be very carefully avoided. To this end, we reaffirm and fully support the primary institutional and legal role played by the Conference of the Parties of the UNTOC. Other partners found it difficult to understand and accommodate these fundamental concerns, which we regret.
The EU sees the merit of a global report on trafficking in persons patterns and flows. At the same time the EU understands that resources for this report should be found from reallocation.
The EU considers that the human rights dimension is crucial in the fight against trafficking. Given this priority, the EU welcomes references in the text to the rights of victims and victim assistance and protection, including the provision of a wide range of services for victims. The EU thinks that civil society plays a crucial role in providing services to victims and therefore appreciates that this is recognised in the text. The EU also welcomes the support for the role and mandates of the relevant Special Rapporteurs. In this field, the EU also recognizes the important role and the work done by UNODC.
In conclusion, the EU hopes that all UN Member States will renew their efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking and that they will tackle it forcefully wherever it occurs.