SEYCHELLES-VIENNA, Nov 17 – Visiting the Seychelles as part of a counter-piracy mission to East Africa, UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, stressed the impact of piracy on the economies of frontline East African states.
“When we think about piracy, we often see it in terms of paying ransoms and freeing those kidnapped, but while this is vital, there is much more. Piracy is immensely damaging to local economies and to local livelihoods. In the Seychelles, it has prevented ships from fishing; between Kenya and Uganda it is raising transport costs; and from Somalia, some 1,200 fit and able young men have been detained and imprisoned across the world,” said Fedotov.
On his first day, Fedotov met with the President of the Seychelles, James Michel, to discuss the impact of piracy on the country, as well as the commitment of the government to ensure that those suspected of piracy are given fair and efficient trials in line with international standards. At the meeting, Fedotov welcomed the opportunity to work with the government on anti-piracy measures in the future and encouraged close cooperation among nations across the region.
Continuing the theme of anti-piracy cooperation, Fedotov later met with the Director of the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC), Gary Crone. Established in June 2012, the centre helps facilitate the capture and prosecution of those leading and financing Somali piracy. Fedotov ended the first day of the counter-piracy mission by visiting Montaigne Pose Prison with the Minister of Home Affairs, Joel Morgan.
“Confronting piracy is about preventing the foot soldiers going to sea, but we must also tackle the ringleaders, and investors who never leave dry land. Our own Global Programme against Money Laundering is also engaged in increasing global awareness of illicit money flows linked to piracy in an effort to undermine the growth of money laundering,” noted Fedotov.
Fedotov’s remarks came at the start of an intensive mission to East Africa to see the effect of piracy on East Africa and UNODÇ’s strategic response: a $55 million counter-piracy programme in 5 different locations. The programme is designed to support efforts to detain and prosecute piracy suspects in accordance with human rights and the rule of law.
Since the start of the counter-piracy programme in Seychelles, UNODC has provided support for a number of activities. Most recently, it provided the concept for a piracy court in Seychelles. Work begins in early 2013. UNODC has also promoted a learning exchange for staff processing Somali pirates, while also assisting in the transfer of 17 convicted pirates from Seychelles to Somaliland. There have also been swaps of prison staff between UK and Seychelles’ prisons.
During the 10-day mission, Fedotov will visit a number of countries in the region, meet heads of government and talk to UNODC staff in the field about their work.