Fiji’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan has been appointed to the position of the Chair of the Working Group (WG) on Trafficking in Persons at the United Nations Organisation for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Vienna, Austria.
Ambassador Khan says that it was a great honour for Fiji to be nominated as Chair of this UN Working Group, and that the nomination recognises Fiji’s significant progress and commitment as a Pacific Small Island Developing State (PSIDS) in strengthening, and implementing strong anti-trafficking laws and policies. She said it was yet another achievement for Fiji in establishing a strong leadership role in multilateral institutions and that it will enable Fiji to further enhance its visibility at the global stage.
At the national level this leadership role will enable Fiji to maximise on opportunities to secure resources and expertise needed by the national stakeholders for anti-trafficking initiatives. It’s also a platform to strengthen the existing collaborations between national stakeholders and the Fiji Mission in Geneva.
Fiji acceded to the United Nations Convention on Transnational Crime and its three protocols (Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children) in 2017. In 2009, Fiji adopted its first trafficking offences in the Crimes Act, leading to successful prosecutions for trafficking in the Fijian courts from 2010. Fiji has also launched a national strategy on trafficking, and works closely with UNODC in ensuring the compliance with the Convention and the Trafficking in Persons Protocol.
Given that Trafficking in Persons is a human rights issue of top agenda addressed at Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, Fiji’s Vice Presidency of HRC augurs well with Fiji’s chairmanship of the Working Group on trafficking in Persons at UNODC.
The Working Group on Trafficking in Persons at UNODC was established to strengthen compliance internationally with the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. The recent meeting of the Working Group which was held from 9th to the 11th of September 2019 in Vienna, focused on crime prevention and legal strategies in member States to improve compliance with the Protocol.
This Working Group is an intergovernmental body which, reports directly to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime on national strategies that ensures crime prevention of trafficking and strengthens compliance with the Protocol (Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime which, Fiji ratified in 2017.