Strengthening policing capacity across Asia focus of INTERPOL meeting in Nepal
KATHMANDU, Nepal – INTERPOL’s Asian Regional Conference opened today, bringing together senior law enforcement officers to unite regional efforts in providing a more effective global response to combat terrorism and organized crime.
With Islamic State being driven out of conflict zones, a key topic is the threat posed by the estimated 15,000 foreign fighters still thought to be engaged in conflicts, any of whom may travel to Asia to engage in radicalization or covert cell operations.
Delegates at the three-day (18 – 20 January) meeting in Nepal will discuss areas where increased cooperation and shared best practices can help identify and interdict suspected terrorists ahead of any planned attack.
In his opening keynote address, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the conference would be an important milestone to unite and strengthen law enforcement networks across the Asia-Pacific region.
“New threats and challenges put a special demand on every country to strengthen national and collective security. Today, no single country can rely solely upon its capabilities to address the problem of transnational and organized crimes,” said Prime Minister Dahal.
Emphasizing the need for increased solidarity, innovation and collaboration, INTERPOL President Meng Hongwei said Asia must come together and use INTERPOL to succeed against transnational crime and terrorism.
“Asia today faces one of the severest security situations in the world, with incessant regional turbulence and conflicts impacting peace and stability,” said President Meng.
“Asia and INTERPOL will play unprecedented roles in the building of a new architecture of global law enforcement and security cooperation. This is a strategic opportunity and a major responsibility,” added President Meng, who highlighted the fact that Asia accounts for some 67 per cent of the world’s population, providing significant potential in forging links with other areas for a global response to transnational crime threats.
Upendra Kant Aryal, Inspector General of Nepal Police said the meeting was a reflection of a consolidated effort in police cooperation to fight against the menace of terrorism and other transnational crimes.
“We need to acknowledge that police priorities are now extended beyond geo-political barriers,” said Inspector General Aryal. “INTERPOL has been a highly effective platform in facilitating police agencies to prevent and fight crimes through enhanced cooperation and innovation on police and security fronts.”
Environmental crime, and the involvement of organized crime networks in this illicit activity which is estimated to generate illicit profits of up to USD 258 billion, is also a key topic for discussion during the conference.
To underline the importance of interregional cooperation in addressing these threats, police representatives will be briefed on a new initiative being launched by INTERPOL specifically targeting wildlife crime with trafficking and other links between Africa and Asia.
Among the issues which will be addressed by the 117 participants from 26 countries are cybercrime, human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of children. Earlier this month, use of INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database resulted in the identification of the 10,000th victim, with an average of five victims still being identified every day.
The only global platform of its kind, INTERPOL’s ICSE database enables specialist officers to use sophisticated image and video comparison software to make connections between victims, abusers and locations.