NZ Signs Treaty To Combat Transnational Organised Crime
New Zealand today signed the new United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its two Protocols
on Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants, Foreign Minister Phil Goff announced today.
This week’s UN conference in Palermo, Italy is the culmination of two years of intense negotiations and provides
the first opportunity for states to sign the three instruments that the UN General Assembly approved only last month.
The Convention and Protocols are intended to close the major loopholes blocking international efforts to
crackdown on groups engaged in a wide range of highly profitable illegal enterprises, including money laundering, and
trafficking and smuggling people.
Mr Goff said the Government supported international initiatives to combat organised crime. “Transnational
organised crime is a growing problem for all states, including New Zealand. The activities of organised criminal groups
are increasingly diverse and often have an international dimension. Many groups are very sophisticated in their
operations, taking full advantage of the latest technology.”
“States cannot combat this sort of crime on their own. A concerted and coordinated international effort is
needed, on a number of different fronts. However, international initiatives can be effective only if they have
widespread support. That is one reason why the conclusion of these instruments is a significant step forward”, Mr Goff
A feature of all three instruments is their emphasis on prevention measures, including obligations for every
state to develop national strategies to tackle organised crime and to build capacity by providing relevant training for
law enforcement personnel. “These, combined with the obligations to share information and provide technical assistance,
mean that there will be a much greater pool of information and experience available for states, including New Zealand,
to draw on in the future” Mr Goff added.
“A third instrument that targets illicit trafficking in firearms is still under negotiation. I hope that the
outstanding issues can be resolved in the new year. New Zealand regards the completion of this instrument as
particularly important because of the impact that the illicit trade in firearms has on the lives of innocent people in
so many parts of the world,” Mr Goff said.
The Convention and Protocols will come into force when 40 states have ratified them. Mr Goff said New Zealand
would begin its domestic ratification process next year. This would involve getting Cabinet approval for the
implementation measures required, select committee consideration of the three instruments, and, finally, passage of
“I would hope that New Zealand will ratify the three instruments at an early date as it is in the interests of
all states that the instruments come into force as soon as possible. Ultimately it is international cooperation that
provides the key to combating this sort of crime,” Mr Goff said.