UNTOC: UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime

Committee Overview:

The United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the United Nations’ fundamental international treaty designed to combat crime across borders. The goal of UNTOC, which is also referred to as the Palermo Convention, is to effectively prevent and prosecute serious offenses committed by a criminal individual or group. UNTOC defines serious crimes as “conduct constituting an offence punishable by a maximum deprivation of liberty of at least four years or a more serious penalty.” Therefore, the Convention shall be applied in cases where the international community is threatened by such offences. Its main target is to outline the actions that should be taken by the member states in cases of certain transnational crimes, like the participation in an organized criminal group, money laundering, corruption, obstruction of justice, or human trafficking.

Topic: Maritime Crime and Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) defines maritime crime as conduct which is perpetrated partially or wholly at sea and is prohibited under national and international law. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) defines piracy as: “any illegal acts of violence or detention, or any act of depredation, committed for private ends by the crew or the passengers of a private ship or a private aircraft.” Maritime crime and piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, located on the southwest coast of Africa, is a global issue in a localized setting. It continues to be detrimental to regional and global economies, as well as a security risk factor for West African countries that border the Gulf of Guinea, such as Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Gabon. Piracy and maritime crime impact all aspects of political and economic movements in the area like trade, transportation, and even local resources. Nonetheless, the risks that are imposed by increased piracy and maritime crime rate attract global attention and require global action.