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Summit calls for ratification of UN convention

By William Madouk


Inter-ministerial summit on migration governance has wrapped up with a call for South Sudan to ratify the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC).

At least ten ministries signed a communiqué on Thursday to enhance proper migration governance in the country.

“We urge concerned institutions to pursue efforts aimed at implementing measures to speed up ratification of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes (UNTOC) and its supplementary protocols,” the communiqué reads in part.

According to them, assenting UNTOC is a crucial step towards addressing the tier 3 designation as a trafficking country under the duo ministry of interior and justice.

The international community has been urged to offer necessary support, including technical resources to equip relevant institutions to address transnational organized crimes, trafficking in person, and the smuggling of migrants.

“We urge the line institutions to expedite the process of submitting the UNTOC and its supplementary protocol, the convention against illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, to the council of ministers for approval,” they urged.

Members also tasked the national taskforce on migration to support the process of domestication of the UNTOC convention and its auxiliary protocols—protocols to prevent, suppress, and punish trafficking in persons.

The summit was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with the Ministry of Interior. It drew together technocrats’ experts, academia, and policy from line ministries with migrations.

Transnational organized crimes are coordinated crimes across national borders by groups or individuals who plan and execute illegal business ventures such as carrying drugs and arms, trafficking for sex, material theft, and poaching.

There is a global panic over such criminalities due to the advanced ways lawbreakers commit crimes. For instance, it could be due to gaps and challenges affecting each country, ranging from sanctions, conflict, and a lack of infrastructure.

A new trafficking in persons A report shows that the government of South Sudan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of “trafficking in persons” and is not making significant efforts to do so.

The report published on July 19, 2022, by the US Department of State maintained the country’s position in the Tier 3 category with other countries.

Those in Tier 3 include Russia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Belarus, among other countries.

Tier 3 categories are countries considered to have failed to comply with minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking or made significant efforts to bring themselves into compliance with such standards.

The report also stated that the government has failed to hold responsible security and law enforcement agent officers at the National Police Service (SSNPS) and the South Sudan People’s Defense Forces (SSPDF) who are forcefully recruiting children.

The US Department of State further cited that South Sudan authorities did not report investigating or prosecuting any forced labor or sex trafficking crimes for 10 consecutive years.

Countries placed in Tier 3 can be penalized with sanctions and limited access to the United States and international foreign assistance.

In April 2022, national legal experts called for an immediate agreement on the UNTOC and Palermo protocols to prevent and strengthen the fight against human trafficking and organized crimes in the country.

This was during a public consultation meeting organized by the Taskforce for Combating Human Trafficking and a legal advisory working group.

Facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union, and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

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