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UN crime prevention chief pledges to strengthen cooperation in Somalia

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During a mission to this country in the Horn of Africa, Executive Director Waly stressed on Friday that “Somalia faces daunting challenges ranging from terrorism to the resurgence of piracy, poverty and the consequences of climate change..”

A complicated crisis

Talk to UN News In Mogadishu, Ms. Waly said interrelated threats included piracy, illegal fishing, different types of trafficking and smuggling as well as terrorism, all supported by money laundering and corruption.

These threats also have an impact well beyond Somalia. Gun trafficking across the Gulf of Aden supplies Al-Shabaab and other terrorist groups, while migrant smugglers operating along Somalia’s northern coast transfer people to the Arabian Peninsula.

At the same time, unregulated foreign fishing fleets exploit Somalia’s marine resources, threatening biodiversity and livelihoods in the Indian Ocean.

Coast of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Coast of Mogadishu, Somalia.

Drug trafficking could also pose a growing threat, Waly added, due to the difficulty of controlling Somalia’s long coastline and the country’s air transport connectivity.

Resilience and rule of law

A grim example of these challenges was the 2013 attack on the Banadir court complex in Mogadishu by the militant group Al-Shabaab. The 30 deaths, multiple casualties and damage to facilities were a “heavy blow to Somalia’s justice sector,” Ms. Waly noted.

Meanwhile, judges and prosecutors have been victims of terrorist attacks.

Improving the rule of law – important for any government – ​​becomes even more crucial in a country facing terrorism, organized crime and corruption. This is why Somalia and UNODC worked together to create the Mogadishu Prison Judicial Complex (MPCC).

Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex.

Mogadishu Prison and Court Complex.

Conceived, designed and implemented by UNODC, the creation of the MPCC was a direct response to the attack on the Banadir justice complex and is an example of the strong and enduring partnership between the UN and the Somali government.

In Mogadishu, to inaugurate the MPCC, Ms. Waly noted that the complex is now “a center for the administration of justice”, with two courtrooms, three prison blocks with a capacity of 700 beds and accommodation for prisoners. judges in order to reduce road travel. during a trial.

It provides a safe environment for the judiciary and a humane framework for prisoners, promoting rehabilitation and long-term security..”

This is the latest in a series of construction and renovation projects supported by UNODC to help strengthen Somalia’s justice and corrections infrastructure.

Since 2010, UNODC has built new prisons, renovated existing detention centers and erected Ministry of Justice buildings and other security sector facilities in Mogadishu, Bosasso, Garowe and Hargeisa.

Preventing piracy

However, promoting the rule of law does not stop at Somalia’s land borders. Piracy off the coast of Somalia has been a threat with global consequences for years, Waly said. UN Newsuntil a recent decline.

But geopolitical tensions in the Red Sea have intensified insecurity and affected shipping routes, with an estimated 50% decrease in the number of commercial ships transiting the Gulf of Aden due to attacks by Houthi rebels from Yemen , which the rebel movement says stands in solidarity with Gaza. .

Pirates, sensing the attention diverted from the international community, have increased their operations with complete impunity along the Somali coast.

A Somali Coast Guard crew member launches a patrol boat near Mogadishu.

A Somali Coast Guard crew member launches a patrol boat near Mogadishu.

Since November 2023, pirates have hijacked dhows (a traditional sailing vessel used in the region) and used them to carry out command and control attacks against larger vessels.

“These challenges pose a direct risk to international peace and security, endanger the lives of seafarers and disrupt the trade routes on which many countries depend for their economic stability, food security and sustainable development,” warned Ms. Waly.

To increase maritime security in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean, UNODC trains law enforcement officials on how to detect, interdict and prosecute illicit trafficking and maritime crimes .

UNODC also provides essential maritime communications and maritime equipment to support law enforcement. In Mogadishu, for example, Ms. Waly officially handed over a refurbished patrol boat and communications equipment to the Somali Coast Guard Police.

A coast guard patrol boat is launched near Mogadishu in Somalia.

A coast guard patrol boat is launched near Mogadishu in Somalia.

Through these and other efforts, Ms. Waly said, UNODC is helping Somalia improve its operational capabilities and legal framework to pursue pirates while strengthening maritime security collaboration in the region.

Ms. Waly reiterated UNODC’s commitment to continuing and expanding its work in Somalia.

“Today, we write another chapter in Somalia’s history, marked by resilience and hope for a future where every Somali citizen can live in peace, security and dignity,” he said. -she declared.

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