Turkmenistan burnt on Saturday, 4 December 2022, another batch of seized narcotics, and contrabands.
The burning took place at the incinerator located at a military facility near Ashgabat.
Turkmenistan burns the seized substances twice a year, in June and December.
Burning of the narcotics is just a small part of the wide and long-standing cooperation with UNODC.
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The UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) was established in 1997 through a merger between the United Nations Drug Control Programme and the Centre for International Crime Prevention.
Turkmenistan has been cooperating with UNODC from the early years of its inception.
The main areas of cooperation are enhancement of capacity in preventing the trafficking of drugs and illegal substances, management of border points, training of the officials related to the anti-drug management, and cementing of cooperation between the related authorities in the regional countries.
The drug scene has been changing swiftly because of the law and order vacuum in the conflict areas and the successive waves of economic slump, mainly in the wake of Covid epidemic.
Turkmenistan is responsive.
At a press conference of UNODC in June 2021, Geldimyrat Haldurdyyev, Head of Law and International Relations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Turkmenistan, stated that Turkmenistan continues to direct its efforts to combat this terrible evil [drug trafficking] through appropriate preventive measures by the law enforcement agencies of Turkmenistan, improving the national legal framework, enhancing capacity of law enforcement officials of Turkmenistan and their technical support, and continued development of regional and international cooperation.
Cooperation between the customs authorities plays an important part in the prevention of drug trafficking.
Earlier this year the UNODC arranged a study tour of customs officers from Turkmenistan and Tajikistan to Bulgaria. They learned the best practices of Bulgaria in container/freight control, and visited a border crossing point to look at its management. They also got familiarized with the work of the central lab of the customs authorities of Bulgaria.
Under the auspices of UNODC, the customs authorities of Central Asia, Southern Caucasus, and Pakistan agreed in May 2022 to set up regular information exchange on high-risk consignments via a memorandum of understanding. The agreement was sealed in Tashkent and was named the Inter-Regional Network of Customs Authorities and Port Control Units (IREN Network). In 2021, Azerbaijan became the Network’s tenth participating country.
Within a month, the launch of the IREN Network had already led to seizures of 587 kg of drugs (580 kg of heroin); 127,344 pills of anticonvulsant Regapen; 55 tons of ferrosilicon; 550,000 pieces of tobacco products; and 237 tons of consumer goods.
Turkmenistan also cooperates actively in curbing the trafficking in persons. The country joined TIP (the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children) in 2005. Since then, Turkmenistan has improved state policies, legislation, prevention, detection, and suppression of human trafficking activities, creating favorable conditions for the physical, psychological and social rehabilitation of victims of trafficking in persons.
The forensic services, an essential part of the detection and prevention, and prosecution, are an area where Turkmenistan benefits from UNODC cooperation.
UNODC has been supporting two forensic laboratories in Turkmenistan since 2019 aiming at aligning their performance and procedures towards internationally accepted ISO/IEC 17025 standard, establishing a pool of well-trained experts and obtaining international accreditation.
The Fifty-fifth Session of the Subcommission on Illicit Drug Trafficking and Related Matters in the Near and Middle East took place in Ashgabat in November this year. A short report of the outcome is available at this link – https://www.unodc.org/centralasia/en/the-fifty-fifth-session-of-the-subcommission-on-illicit-drug-trafficking-and-related-matters-in-the-near-and-middle-east-in-ashgabat–turkmenistan-.html
The UN World Drug Report can be downloaded from the links at this page – https://reliefweb.int/report/world/unodc-world-drug-report-2022
The UNODC report ‘Enhancing border control and Cross-border cooperation’ is available here – https://www.unodc.org/documents/centralasia//2022/Publications/Cross-Border_Cooperation_EN_10.03.22_web.pdf
The website of UNODC Central Asia – https://www.unodc.org/centralasia/index.html?ref=menutop
The UNODC website – https://www.unodc.org/
/// nCa, 5 December 2022 [picture credit TDH]