25 March 2008

UAE (NCCHT) follows up on outcomes of Vienna Forum

At the conclusion of its eighth meeting, Dr. Anwar Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and head of the UAE NCCHT, said: “The UAE’s support for and participation in the UN.GIFT (Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking) at Vienna reflects our commitment to fight transnational human trafficking by linking it with international efforts. We are now engaged in actively following up on the success of the Vienna Forum in raising the international profile of trafficking and building partnerships with organizations and NGOs to achieve this goal. Through the generous $15m donation of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the UAE was the catalyst for a global initiative to fight trafficking.”

The Committee discussed a strategy for utilizing the links and partnerships forged in Vienna with the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in order to initiate specialized training programs for UAE law enforcement officers. The committee also discussed the need to strengthen partnerships with the international NGO sector for knowledge exchange and international best practice in caring for victims.

The committee praised the partnerships that were forged by the Dubai Foundation for Women and Children with their counterparts in other countries during the Vienna forum. Dr. Gargash stated that “The Dubai Foundation for Women and Children is a tangible and concrete example of the UAE’s commitment to victim support and we are proud of the work that this organization is undertaking. It has successfully dealt with a number of cases since its inception and it is run by UAE national women who are committed, bright and constantly striving to keep the foundation up to date with international best practice” added Gargash.

Statistics from the Dubai Foundation show that they have dealt with a total of 28 suspected victims of trafficking between October 2007 and March 2008. They rehabilitated and repatriated 3 cases successfully with the coordination of the IOM Uzbekistan in 2007 and 3 further cases in 2008. They are currently sheltering 14 victims of suspected trafficking from various countries.

The committee discussed the UAE’s recent decision to ratify the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) protocol which supplements their commitments under the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime. The National Committee established a specialized sub committee to study the obligations and requirements of the Protocol.

In line with their victim support agenda, the committee members also discussed future strategies for supporting the UAE Red Crescent Authority announcement last month to set up country-wide comprehensive shelters offering housing, healthcare and social support for women and child victims of human trafficking.

While reiterating the UAE’s four-pronged strategy to combat human trafficking – involving legislation, enforcement, victim support and international cooperation -the meeting also reviewed other proposals that emerged following the participation in Vienna by the UAE delegation, which included officials from the ministries of Justice, Interior, Labour, Federal National Council Affairs, and representatives from the police and the non-governmental sector.