4 November 2003

United Nations Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants Enters into Force

VIENNA 4 November (UN Information Service) -- The Government of Azerbaijan has deposited the fortieth instrument of ratification of the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. In accordance with Article 38 of the Convention, the treaty will enter into force on 28 January 2004. Forty ratifications were needed for the treaty to enter into force. The Protocol requires Member States to cooperate with each other to address the various issues surrounding smuggling migrants such as activities of organized crime groups, production of fraudulent travel or identity documents and life threatening or degrading treatment of migrants and their exploitation.

The Protocol has been designed as the international community's response to the development of highly sophisticated networks to smuggle migrants, exploiting human misery and making sizeable criminal profits, by transnational organized crime groups.

The Protocol defines the term "smuggling of migrants" as the procurement, in order to obtain, directly or indirectly, a financial or other material benefit, of the illegal entry of a person into a State Party of which the person is not a national or a permanent resident. States ratifying the Protocol have to incorporate the Protocol provisions into their domestic laws and therefore agree that migrant smuggling is a criminal offence under their national law. They also agree to adopt measures to crack down on migrant smuggling by sea, to boost international cooperation to prevent migrant smuggling and to seek out and prosecuteoffenders.                                                                                                                                            

The 40 countries that have ratified the convention  are : Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Gambia, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco,  Namibia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Spain, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey.

* *** *