By Holy See Mission
Statement by H.E. Archbishop Bernardito AuzaApostolic Nuncio, Permanent Observer of the Holy See69th Session of the United Nations General AssemblyThird Committee, Agenda Items:Item 105: Crime prevention and criminal justiceItem 106: International drug controlNew York, 9 October, 2014Madam Chair,On behalf of my delegation, I am pleased to join previous speakers in congratulating you and the other members of the bureau of this Committee for your election. My delegation wishes you all the best! The Holy See strongly concurs with the report of the Secretary General that the global illicit drug problem has become a multi-dimensional challenge demanding international cooperation towards reaching and implementing an internationally agreed common strategy to counter it.The production and trafficking of illicit drugs obey the law of supply and demand: drug trafficking exists because there is a lucrative market of individuals addicted to illicit drugs. Thus, preventing and fighting the consumption of such drugs is key to preventing and fighting the production and trafficking of illicit drugs.When an individual is afflicted with drug addiction, the family and the community suffer with him or her. The family is the first to suffer from substance-abusing members from consequences like domestic violence and economic collapse that can lead to the breakdown of the family. Entire communities as well are gravely affected by a rise in violent crimes and an overall decline of the quality of life.The Holy See will not cease to underline the irreplaceable role of the family as the cornerstone of prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, reintegration, and health strategies related to drug addiction. Consequently, the Holy See believes that any policy that promotes the family also promotes the prevention of both trafficking and consumption of illicit drugs. The family forms the very basis of society. Healthy families promote healthy societies. Struggling communities betray deeply troubled families, of which drug abuse by one or some of its members can be a major destabilizing cause. While somebody even of strong families could also fall prey to drug abuse, strong families are in a much better position to confront the problem successfully.Research continues to reinforce the finding that the core principles of society are learned in the home; thus, children who have a nurturing family environment are most likely to learn the skills necessary to make the important decisions that help avoid the scourges of illicit drugs.As the United Nations celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, we must all embrace a caring environment that nurtures and supports families. It is along this line that the Holy See takes special note of the report of the Secretary General A/69/111, that highlights the family skills training program, currently reaching 15 countries, in which the UNODC and the National Ministries of Health are piloting a comprehensive prevention system in schools and among families. The Holy See also takes note of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem, as well as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs resolution 56/12 and the high-level segment of the fifty-seventh session of the Commission, which was held on March 13 and 14, 2014.In examining these documents, the Holy See underscores with special concern the ever more obvious links of the illicit drug trade to the trafficking in persons, the proliferation of illicit small arms, money laundering, organized crime and terrorism. The Holy See urges greater international cooperation to consolidate the progress made in the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons, as mentioned in the Secretary General’s report A/69/94, in pursuancet of General Assembly resolutions 68/192 and 64/293. Countries and populations afflicted by poverty are particularly vulnerable to the devastating, multiple effects of drug trafficking and of the crimes associated with it. The Holy See appreciates those developing countries that provide farming families with real alternatives to drug-related crops. Alternative development projects must continue to be enthusiastically supported at all levels. Madam Chair, The Holy See strongly believes that we, as individuals and as society, must protect the health and dignity of all people by preventing the use of dangerous drugs and alleviating the suffering of drug dependent persons through treatment. This must be taken into consideration as we develop a plan of action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem. In conclusion, Madam Chair, I wish to reiterate the words of His Holiness Pope Francis in his June 2014 address to the International Drug Enforcement Conference in Rome: “The fight against drugs cannot be won with drugs. Drugs are an evil, and with evil there can be neither surrender nor compromise.”Thank you, Madam Chair.
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