INTERPOL Americas conference focuses on cooperation in combating transnational crime
WILLEMSTAD, Curaçao – INTERPOL’s 22nd Americas Regional Conference opened today in Curaçao with a focus on strengthening information sharing, collaboration and border management to more effectively combat transnational organized crime throughout the region and beyond.
Prime Minister of Curaçao, Ivar Asjes, attended the opening ceremony of the three-day meeting (1-3 July) which brings together nearly 70 senior law enforcement officials from 33 countries and five international organizations, to address crime issues ranging from terrorism, people smuggling and drug trafficking, to fugitive investigations and cybercrime.
Opening the conference, Curaçao’s Minister of Justice, Nelson Navarro, said the interchange of knowledge was very important.
“It is very difficult for small countries to cope with the costs involved in the fight against international crime, so cooperation between Justice Ministers and with INTERPOL on a structural basis is essential,” said Minister Navarro.
With Curaçao one of INTERPOL’s newest member countries, having joined the world police body in 2011, Chief of Curaçao’s Police Force, Commissioner Marlon Wernet, said it was important for the country to be part of the global law enforcement community.
“This conference organized in our country is a strong indication for our region and world, that we are more than willing and ready to work together with all member states of INTERPOL, local and international law enforcement agencies, to make and maintain our country, region and world safe and as free as possible from criminal activities,” said Commissioner Wernet. “There is no doubt that together we stand and divided we are weak and would fall.”
INTERPOL President Mireille Ballestrazzi said the conference was of crucial importance in sharing best practice and expertise in addressing both traditional and emerging transnational organized crime threats.
“It is our ability to work together which is key in maintaining our concerted and joint efforts to effectively tackle transnational crime,” said President Ballestrazzi, pointing to the need to reinforce cooperation already in place as well as identifying opportunities for additional partnerships.
“It is clear that an effective police force is one which adapts to the constantly evolving challenges, which is why training also forms an important part of INTERPOL’s support to member countries in their efforts in combating all forms of crime.”
In this respect, President Ballestrazzi emphasized the added value of INTERPOL’s Regional Bureaus in Buenos Aires and San Salvador which have enabled INTERPOL to build on its operational support to member countries in the region and beyond, pointing to recent operations targeting drug trafficking and trafficking in illicit goods and counterfeiting.
With expanding use and access to INTERPOL’s databases also high on the agenda, delegates will be updated on the INTERPOL Illicit Arms Records and tracing Management System (iARMS), the first international centralized system for reporting and querying lost, stolen, trafficked and smuggled firearms.
To date, 74 member countries, including 10 from the Americas region, have successfully connected to the system, which since 1 January this year has seen the addition of more than 273,000 records, making iARMS one of the fastest growing databases in the world.