26 April 2006

UNODC Launches Manual of Best Practices to Counter Kidnapping

VIENNA, 26 April (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) today launched a Counter-Kidnapping Manual to help Member States in dealing with kidnapping.

With the financial support of the Government of Colombia and the contribution of experts from 16 countries, UNODC developed the Manual to give police officers and policy-makers concrete guidelines on how to respond to kidnappings effectively.

It is estimated that more than 10,000 people are kidnapped throughout the world every year. Many are killed. Kidnappings often go unreported for fear of retaliation.

The Manual was formally presented to Colombian Attorney General Mario German Iguaran Arana by UNODC Executive Director Antonio Maria Costa during the 15th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, currently being held in Vienna, Austria.

It identifies different types of kidnapping - including kidnapping for extortion, political or ideological purposes - and advises governments on devising effective legislation, preventive measures and contingency plans.

Accompanying the Manual is a separate checklist which provides practical guidance for senior police investigators dealing with kidnapping, covering subjects such as negotiation, surveillance and intervention options.  

"The purpose of this Manual is to save lives," Mr. Costa said. "Kidnapping can have local, national and international dimensions. All countries need coherent national strategies to combat this crime. This Manual is based on good practice identified by experienced practitioners and I am confident it will help to make the global law enforcement response more effective."

UNODC has already piloted a "train the trainers" course based upon the Manual for countries of the Caribbean and more training is planned in Latin America this year.

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For more information, contact:

Brian Taylor
Chief, Anti-Trafficking Section UNODC
Tel: +43 1 26060 4131
Email: brian.taylor@unodc.org