THE Pacific region is being actively pursued as a transit route for trafficking of arms, people and illicit drugs, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat said yesterday.
Secretary general Tuiloma Slade said transnational crime continued to be a human and economic security threat, based on information compiled by regional law enforcement agencies.
Speaking at the opening of the 2012 Forum Regional Security Committee meeting in Suva, he said terrorist activity in the region was low, but like transnational crime, it remained a high priority for law enforcement agencies.
While the threat of terrorist activity in our region may be considered low, it does not mean that it does not exist. Members of our regional family have suffered losses to terrorist attacks, and in some cases continue to be targeted by terrorist groups.
We should continue to explore initiatives with our development partners, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, to support national efforts by members to address potential terrorist threats and also meet international obligations, Mr Slade said.
The Arms Trade Treaty which is expected to be finalised this year will also be on the agenda of the committee meeting, he said.
You will need also to consider several priority areas for the implementation of the United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat, and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in all its aspects.
You will also be invited to discuss the preparation of a joint statement to be presented at the UN Programme of Action Review Conference in August this year regarding activities undertaken in the region to implement the UN PoA since the previous review conference of 2006, Mr Slade told the committee. Meanwhile, Mr Slade said the military, police, immigration and customs institutions must be aware of their roles and responsibilities to uphold the rule of law, and be subject to appropriate governance processes and democratic oversight mechanisms.
Mr Slade said the security sector was a critical component of any security architecture.
Comprising frontline law enforcement agencies, it is imperative that this sector operates like a well oiled machine to protect State interests and its citizens, and address threats to human security.
The effective governance of security and law enforcement institutions in the Pacific was a vital issue for all members, he said.