Organized Crime In Africa

Organized crime is a problem that has spread all throughout the international
community. In the past, national and regional crime organizations were small,
isolated and worked independent of other crime organizations. However in the
past few decades free trade and high speed telecommunications has made it easier
for such groups to operate, therefore resulting in “global Mafiosi”
that seem to be working together around the globe. This new development makes it
hard for governments and the United Nations to combat international organized
crime. Lesotho, a nation of the African block is particularly concerned with the
escalating problem of illicit traffic of drugs and firearms linked with
organized crime. Not only does drug trafficking pose a threat to the structure
of Lesothos society, but also to its government. Profits made from these
operations are used to destabilize governments, corrupt officials and influence
government decisions. Lesotho is a member of the United Nations African
Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders.

Furthermore it is an active member of the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice. The nation of Lesotho recognizes that cooperation is the key
ingredient in combating organized crime. At present formal extradition
agreements exist between Lesotho and South Africa, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi,
Taiwan, the USA and Israel. International cooperation is required to
successfully prevent and control transnational crime. This is particularly the
case with increasing numbers of offenders fleeing from one jurisdiction to
another in order to avoid punishment and continue their activities. Countries
must respect and abide by the terms of bilateral and multilateral treaties that
they are party to. Organized crime which should be of most concern includes
terrorism, illicit arms trade, drug trafficking and economic crime, such as
international fraud. Freedom from the fear of crime is important to the
international community. There is a strong need for improved cooperation and
exchange of data for proper law enforcement. Suppression and prevention of
illicit trafficking can be accomplished by adopting an effective method
identifying and tracing good that are being smuggled. In the case of firearms,
there should be the establishment of an import and export and in-transit
licensing for their transport. States of the African region have many financial
difficulties, and are in the category of the least developed nations. Therefore
they often lack the necessary resources to combat crime within their nation.

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Because of this the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime
and the Treatment of Offenders lacks funds to support itself. Lesotho strongly
believes that in the future conferences of organizations such as the Commission
of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, should concentrate on problems of
developing Asian and African nations. They are vulnerable targets for drug and
economic crime cartels. It should be recognized that because these nations lack
money they are high risk for succumbing to organized crime. Programs should be
developed to aid needy nations. To discuss these issues more conferences on
organized crime should be held in the future and all countries should strongly
be urged to attend.


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