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13.07.2005 General News

VEEP opens Regional INTERPOL Conference


Accra, July 13, GNA - Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Wednesday opened the 18th African Regional International Criminal Police Organisation (INTERPOL) conference in Accra, with the expression of optimism that the delegates would help to tackle the unpredictable global threat of terrorism that afflicted London last Thursday.

Alhaji Mahama also listed drug and human trafficking, money laundering, cyber/ computer fraud, motor vehicle theft and gunrunning as the emergent global crimes, threatening human security and dignity. He said another immediate and dire threat that required the attention of the delegates was the crisis of instability fuelled by political conflict associated with gunrunning across borders. "The spill over of guns fuel armed robberies and other violent acts, heightening the sense of insecurity and poisoning the environment for economic activity even where there is no political conflict," he noted.

The delegates would discuss: "INTERPOL's Strategy On Crisis Support and Terrorism", "Examination and Adoption Of The Rules Of The Governing The African Contact Officers Network" and "Support for Regional Police Cooperation Activities" at the three-day conference on the theme: " Crisis Management Support and Strategy."

Created in 1923, the France-based world largest international Police organisation with 181 member countries facilitates cross-border Police cooperation and supports and assists all authorities and services whose mission is to prevent or combat crime. Alhaji Mahama observed that open political systems and competitive economies could thrive in Africa and generate the needed relief from poverty if the Region could deal with public access to arms.

"The insidious menace of drug trafficking is not far behind. West Africa may likely progress from a transit point to a user market as some of the stuff that is not transhipped, is sold locally." The core functions of INTERPOL are to secure global communications services and operate data services and databases for police and police support services.

Alhaji Mahama said a burgeoning drug economy increased the risks of money laundering, violent crime and the social depravities of truancy, child labour and prostitution. He called on the law enforcement agencies to respect the rights of suspects, adding: "Conversely, however, it is important to realise that the dividing line between arbitrariness and respect for human dignity is quite thin. "To sustain and deepen the rights based culture of open societies, therefore, law enforcement must imbibe the fundamentals of democratic policing.

Papa Owusu- Ankomah, Minister of the Interior suggested the need for collaborative efforts to nip in the bud the looming conflict in the Region, especially the West African Sub-Region. "This state of affairs calls for the sharing of information and expertise," he said, citing the experience of West Africa, where the approach had worked to check terrorism.

Mr Jackie Selebi, President Of INTERPOL, said the Region was faced with the scourge of organised crime with devastating effect on the economy and called for concerted efforts to reverse the situation and to end the spread of international terrorism. He suggested the need for the conference to develop one common programme to facilitate the mandate of INTERPOL and strengthen regional cooperation.

Mr Selebi used the occasion to present an INTERPOL plaque to the Vice President. A minute silence was observed for Police personnel who were killed in line of duty.