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Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire call for sustainable,
inclusive political solutions for conflicts in Africa

RABAT Morocco (Xinhua) -- Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire have called for sustainable and inclusive political solutions for crises facing Africa, a final statement issued following Morocco’s King Mohammed visit to Cote d’Ivoire said.

The King and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara reiterated their will to see a more united and solidarity-based Africa, capable of fighting efficiently and victoriously against the new forms of criminality, namely terrorism, cybercrimes, sea piracy and drug trafficking, according to the statement carried by the official MAP news agency on Wednesday.

The two leaders also urged the international community to join hands in order to eradicate these scourges for good.

Ivorian president welcomed the return of Morocco to the African Union (AU) and underlined the Kingdom’s decisive role in consolidating peace and security in the continent.

Late in January, Morocco rejoined AU after a 33-year absence from the pan-African organization.

They also welcomed the excellent cooperation between Morocco and Cote d’Ivoire, which have already signed 143 agreements, stressing the need for implementing these agreements to achieve the development of their countries and the well-being of their people.

Cote d’Ivoire was the final step in an African tour that led the Moroccan king to South Sudan, Zambia, Ghana and Guinea. The tour resulted in the signing of nearly 80 agreements between Morocco and the five countries.



Sudan says EU fails commitments to support
Sudan combats against illegal immigration

KHARTOUM Sudan (Xinhua) -- Sudan on Wednesday said the European Union (EU) has not fulfilled its commitments to supporting Sudan’s efforts to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Sudan’s Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour has informed a visiting EU delegation of the failure.

“The foreign minister reiterated that the EU has not fulfilled its commitments made in Valletta Conference in Malta to support Sudan to combat illegal immigration and human trafficking via controlling its borders with neighboring countries,” said Sudan’s Foreign Ministry in a statement.

On Tuesday, a joint work session was held at the premises of Sudan’s foreign ministry between Sudan and Africa’s working group at the EU Commission which brings together representatives of member states, where the session was attended by EU Special Envoy for Religious Freedom, the EU Ambassador to Sudan, some ambassadors and representatives of the European embassies in Sudan.

According to the statement, the session reviewed issues of peace, dialogue in Sudan, refugees, combating human trafficking and illegal immigration and religious freedoms.

European countries had previously vowed to support Sudan in combating human trafficking after Khartoum asked for logistical air and maritime support to pursue the multi-national human smugglers.

Sudan has witnessed an increase in organized activities in the human trafficking and illegal immigration fields.

In October 2014, Sudan hosted an international conference on combating human trafficking and illegal immigration which included the participation of African and European countries.

Khartoum said it is maintaining high-level coordination with Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya and Tunisia from Africa as well as Italy, Spain, France and Britain to face the phenomenon.

Sudan is considered one of the thoroughfares for human trafficking and illegal immigration.


UN member states urged to strictly implement rules on prosecuting traffickers

UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) -- Senior UN officials said here Wednesday that human trafficking thrives in countries where the rule of law is weak or non-existent, calling on governments to make better use of the tools created under the UN flag to stop the victimization of men, women and children.

Their statements came as they were speaking at an open debate of the UN Security Council on trafficking in persons in conflict situations, forced labour, slavery and other similar practices.

“At a time of divisions in so many areas, this should be an issue that can unite us,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, stressing that “slavery is not a thing of the past.”

“Let us come together around the key issues of prosecution, protection and prevention, and thereby build a future without human trafficking,” Guterres said.

The secretary-general outlined a number of UN tools that exist which can be used to punish human trafficking, and to prevent it in the first place.

Among them is the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocol, which includes the first internationally agreed definition of the crime of trafficking in persons and provides a framework to effectively prevent and combat it.

Meanwhile, the UN chief also noted the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions and the complementary Global Plan of Action on Human Trafficking. Approved in 2010, the Plan aims to better coordinate national responses to this scourge, and includes a UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.

Guterres called on UN member states to strengthen intelligence-sharing and other law enforcement while addressing the underlying vulnerabilities of victims, such as educating girls, respecting the rights of minorities and creating safe paths for migration.

He called for engagement with the private sector, and cautioned that any support needs to incorporate the voices and views of the people effected.

According to 2016 Global Report on Trafficking in Persons, issued in late December by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), victims of trafficking are found in 106 of 193 countries. Many of these are in conflict areas, where the crimes are not prosecuted.

“For organized crime networks, human trafficking is a low-risk, high-reward criminal business, a perception reinforced by the inexcusably low conviction rates still reported around the world,” Yury Fedotov, executive director of UNODC, told the 15-nation council via videoconference from Vienna.

In addition to an estimated 21 million people around the world who are victims of forced labour and extreme exploitation, Fedotov discussed the threats facing refugees and displaced persons.

“As conflict displaces countless people, as the rule of law breaks down, as cooperation between countries falter, criminals see a clear business opportunity,” he said.

The best way to counter trafficking and protect the most vulnerable is to fully implement and make sure of the frameworks already in place, said Fedotov.

He noted that the Global Plan of Action will be reviewed this October, and will focus on trafficking in conflict situations.

“I hope you will take advantage of this opportunity,” Fedotov said at the council meeting. 

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime and a grave violation of human rights. Every year, thousands of men, women and children fall into the hands of traffickers, in their own countries and abroad.

Almost every country in the world is affected by trafficking, whether as a country of origin, transit or destination for victims.

UNODC, as guardian of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) and the Protocols thereto, assists States in their efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, also known as the Trafficking in Persons Protocol.



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