30th CCPCJ | U.S. National Statement

30th Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice | Agenda Item 3: U.S. National Statement

As delivered by James A. Walsh, Acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
May 17, 2021

Mr. President, I wish to congratulate you on your Presidency and applaud the great work undertaken to bring us to this moment. Allow me to thank the Extended Bureau, Director Waly, and UNODC for organizing and enabling this session. We are deeply grateful for your support during these challenging times.

The United States grieves the tragic loss of life and global effects of COVID-19. We’ve also seen the impacts of COVID-19 in worrisome new global trends in criminal activity, including increased incidence of cybercrime, especially ransomware, and a hinderance in the ability of criminal justice institutions to provide security and access to justice and services for victims of crime.

The United States celebrates the critical role the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice plays as the lead UN policymaking body on anti-crime issues. Our work this week is vital to help Member States protect their citizens, promote rule of law, and foster international cooperation to address a wide range of crimes.

It is against this backdrop we welcome the Commission’s theme this week on effective measures to prevent and counter the smuggling of migrants, while ensuring that smuggled migrants are protected. This is the ideal body to advance expert exchanges on addressing the challenges associated with preventing and countering smuggling of migrants.

The United States continues to watch the concerning migration situation in many regions of the world, including at our own borders. We are tracking closely the ways in which the pandemic is affecting migrant smuggling trends. Even with mitigation measures in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, transnational criminal organizations continue to exploit stretched national resources to facilitate their criminal endeavors and place migrants in danger.

The United States remains committed at the highest levels to address these challenges by providing humanitarian assistance for vulnerable migrants seeking refuge from dire circumstances, reducing dangerous irregular migration, and combating migrant smuggling networks that exploit migrants for their own financial benefit. Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a nationwide effort to target migrant smuggling organizations that aims to, “disrupt every facet of the logistical network of transnational criminal organizations.”

Lastly, the United States and Italy tabled a resolution focusing on international and regional cooperation on smuggling of migrants cases, which offers Member States practical tools to address relevant challenges. We look forward to further discussions throughout this week.

Mr. Chair, we have our work cut out for us but we are up to the challenge of ensuring that the UN contributes effectively to our shared goal of preventing and countering crime, as we have proven in our 30 years together addressing international crime prevention and criminal justice policy. We look forward to working under your leadership and pledge our support for a constructive week.