Sommaire: 31 August 2010, New York - Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ambassador Jan Grauls, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the United Nations, at the United Nations General Assembly High Level Meeting to Launch the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons
Thank you for giving the floor to the European Union.
The Candidate Countries Croatia*, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* and the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, Azerbaijan, and Georgia align themselves with this declaration.
The effort to eliminate human trafficking is a major political priority for the EU, which remains strongly determined to the fight against this serious crime. Human trafficking is an affront to human dignity. It constitutes a gross violation of human rights of victims, particularly women and children and it is increasingly a major feature of transnational organised crime. The EU is therefore pleased for the attention given by the General Assembly to this subject with the launching today of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons which was adopted on the 30th July. We would like to seize this opportunity to express once again our gratitude to the two co-facilitators for their unwavering commitment in leading the discussion on the Global Plan of Action.
The EU hopes that this document will also contribute to strengthen the political determination to implement existing instruments in the common fight against human trafficking. The EU would like to reiterate its firm conviction that the fundamental and legally binding instruments at the disposal of the international community to effectively fight human trafficking are 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. Therefore the EU would like to take the opportunity of the launch of the Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons today to reiterate once again the importance it attaches to the universal ratification and full and effective implementation of these instruments.
The EU believes that these instruments should be supported by an effective review mechanism to monitor their implementation and by tools to adequately address problems that have been identified. The EU hopes that the Conference of the Parties to the Convention will be able to establish such a review mechanism for the Convention when it meets in October in Vienna. In addition, the EU notes that UNODC plays a valuable role in the fight against human trafficking. The EU attaches great importance to the vital work against human trafficking carried out in Vienna and would like to reiterate the importance that no new structure should duplicate the ongoing processes in Vienna.
In 2002, the EU adopted anti-trafficking legislation and we are now in the process of updating it to take into account the changing realities and circumstances, including an increase in the number of people trafficked and new forms of exploitation, as well as the need to strengthen the protection of victims. Our objective is to address not only the prosecution of the offenders and criminal law aspects of the fight against trafficking in human beings, but also to include effective provisions to foster prevention of the crime and to increase protection of and support to victims. Indeed, the EU considers that the human rights dimension is crucial in the fight against trafficking. Given this priority, the EU welcomes the many references in this Plan of Action to the rights of victims and victims' assistance and protection, including the provision of a wide range service for victims. The EU wants to emphasize the importance of combating demand and addressing other root causes that make people vulnerable to trafficking as well as the crucial role of the civil society in providing information and services to victims. We also accord great importance to the role and mandates of the relevant Special Rapporteurs and other mandate holders.
The fight against trafficking in human beings also remains a priority in terms of our development cooperation with third countries which includes financial assistance for capacity building, training, as well as educational activities, awareness raising campaigns and victims' assistance and reintegration. During the Swedish EU Presidency in 2009, an Action Oriented Paper on the need of cooperation with third countries in the fight against trafficking in human beings was adopted by the Council and the Present Trio Presidency of the EU, i.e., Spain, Belgium and Hungary, attaches great importance to the implementation of the proposed actions.
Human trafficking comes in many shapes and forms, and occurs within and between countries and regions. It must be tackled forcefully wherever it occurs. The EU hopes that, following the launch of this Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons, all UN Member States will renew their efforts to prevent and combat human trafficking and take steps to advance the ratification and implementation of the existing instruments. The EU also hopes that awareness of this serious crime will be raised within the whole UN system, the business sector, civil society and the media.
I would like to conclude thanking you for organizing this event today and reaffirming the unwavering commitment of the European Union to contribute to put an end to the heinous trafficking of women, men and children across the globe.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.