State Minister of Defence, Ruwan Wijewardene today said Sri Lanka would continue working with countries in the Indian Ocean Region and the Global Maritime Crimes Programme of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to eradicate drug trafficking and maritime crimes from the region.
At a Colombo meeting organised by the UNODC and the Ministry of Defence and attended by Senior Drug Enforcement Officials of the Indian Ocean, the state minister said it was up to the countries in the region to ensure that a clear message goes to the traffickers that the Indian Ocean region would not tolerate their trade either on land or maritime routes.
“Maritime crimes are common issues and therefore we need to find common solutions. The link between drug trafficking and other transnational criminal activities such as gun-running, money laundering, human trafficking and terrorism have compounded this problem. Not only we have to work together but we also have to find innovative ways of dealing with these issues,” he said.
He said according to the UNODC, the quantity of heroin moved across see routes has increased by 200 to 400 per cent since 2009.
“With that increase, even heroin dependency has increased among the population of East African and Indian Ocean transshipment population as traffickers have a knack of creating the local market,” the state minister said and added that the Sri Lankan Customs, the Police Narcotic Bureau with the help of local intelligence agencies were continuing to seize narcotics smuggled into this country.
He said the political will extended by countries towards mitigating maritime crimes, was reflected by the participation of high-level delegations at the meeting.
“It is essential for us to establish functional network of contacts, exchange intelligence, conduct joint operations via principals, introducing legislation and taking steps to get a uniform message across the region that drug trafficking will be dealt with effectively,” he said.
Meanwhile, Navy Commander Ravindra Wijegunaratne said there were at least 45,000 drug addicts in the country and consume around 763 kgs of heroin a year.
He said according to reports, the total heroin smuggled into the country has been estimated at about 3,500 kg annually though however only about 10 per cent of the drugs that enter the country were being seized.
Sixty delegates at the level of heads or deputy heads of drug enforcement agencies from 21 countries in the Indian Ocean region and sever organizations attended the meeting. (Darshana Sanjeewa)
Expose and prosecute the Godfather and his subordinates behind the drug smuggling and you will bring it to a stop. This is not rocket science to understand. The question is whether the govt is prepared to do it.
Coconut Republic Tuesday, 13 October 2015 11:11 PM
Yes , I fully endorse your views. Keep up the pressure on.
mnsmart Wednesday, 14 October 2015 08:25 AM
Yes someone has to genuinely step up to eradicate this menace.
BuffaloaCitizen Wednesday, 14 October 2015 09:04 AM
A lot of farting but no shit.
wilkie Wednesday, 14 October 2015 09:40 AM
Law enforcement agencies target drug users instead of the suppliers. We are legitamising their dirty money by inviting them to temple/church fund raisers and elevating them to leadership positions after receiving tokens.
Goliwog Wednesday, 14 October 2015 10:07 AM
Drugs find there way into Sri Lanka due to corruption. You need to first eradicate corruption.
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