15 March 2005

United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime Receives 100th Instrument of Ratification

VIENNA, 15 March (UN Information Service) -- Uruguay became the 100th Party to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime by depositing its instrument of ratification with the Secretary-General on 4 March 2005.

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, the first legally binding treaty to fight organized crime, entered into force on 29 September 2003. The Convention has been designed as the international community’s response to the increasing globalization of organized crime. Organized criminal groups have used progress in transportation and communication technologies to develop new opportunities for an array of criminal activities and to reap enormous profits, including from the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings.

By ratifying the Convention, States make a commitment to adopt a series of crime-control measures, including the criminalization of participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption and obstruction of justice. They also commit to making full use of extradition; mutual legal assistance; administrative and regulatory controls, law-enforcement cooperation; victim protection and crime-prevention measures.

At a High-level Political Signing Conference, held from 12 to 16 December 2000 in Palermo, Italy, the Convention received an unprecedented number of signatures by 123 Member States; 24 more countries signed soon after. As of today, the Convention, signed by 147 Member States, has received the following 100 ratifications in alphabetical order: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, European Community, Finland, France, Gabon,   Gambia, Grenada,  Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana,  Honduras,  Jamaica, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic,   Latvia, Lesotho, Liberia,  Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Morocco, Myanmar,  Namibia,  Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Slovakia, Slovenia,  South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela. 

In addition to the Convention, three related Protocols were agreed to in 2000 and 2001. The Protocol on Trafficking in Persons has been signed by 117 and ratified by 80 States. The Protocol on Smuggling of Migrants has been signed by 112 and ratified by 69 States. The Firearms Protocol has been signed by 52 and ratified by 35 States. It is anticipated that the Firearms Protocol might receive the 40th instrument of ratification, needed for its entry into force, within the next few months.

The Conference of the Parties to the Convention convened its first inaugural session in Vienna, from 28 June to 9 July 2004, to review the implementation of the Convention and the two Protocols in force. In order to promote the ratification process, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is providing technical assistance to Member States. UNODC has organized a number of regional seminars and has assisted individual countries in incorporating the new instruments into their legal system. It has just completed the preparation of legislative guides for the implementation of the Convention and its Protocols. The guides will serve as technical tools to help in legislative reforms that might be required in the process of implementation.

In an effort to encourage the ratification of United Nations instruments in the field of transnational organized crime, corruption and the four international instruments in terrorism deposited with the Secretary-General, a special treaty event will be held during the High-level segment of the 11th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 18-25 April 2005.  The Special Treaty Event will provide States the opportunity to deposit instruments of ratification to these treaties.

* *** *