On November 4th, 2016, Indian Ocean Region Interior Ministers had a meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In this meeting, a resolution was assumed by 18 states and it was decided to take all necessary measures to make the Indian Ocean Region a Drug-Free Zone. This resolution is also known as the Colombo Declaration.
The meeting was jointly held by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). In attendance were 18 representatives from different states situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean Region including 7 ministers and Deputy Ministers of Home Affairs, 7 international organisations and other UN agencies involved in combating drug-related activities in and around the region.
Need for Colombo Declaration
- To tackle the growing drug menace in the region, it was decided that there was a need to come up with a plan and achieve cooperation to fight the increasing problems due to drug trafficking in the region.
- A paper assessing the threat arising due to drug trafficking to the Indian Ocean states was presented at this meeting. Special focus was given to the threat posed by drug-related criminal activities persisting in the Indian Ocean region.
Why Was the Colombo Declaration Undertaken?
In South-East Asia, the Golden Triangle region and in South-West Asia the Golden Crescent region, are considered to be two of the largest narcotics highways.
Drug traffickers frequently use the waters of the Indian Ocean to transport their goods around illegally. These two routes are single-handedly responsible for a major section of opium and heroin that are trafficked along the coast of East Africa. And therefore this emphasizes the importance of the need to undertake such a declaration.
In just the past three years, the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF) have seized heroin of about 9300 kg, in this region, reiterating the fact that the Indian Ocean is a point of transit for the world's narcotics supply. Therefore, to put an end to this drug menace, the Colombo resolution was adopted.
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Main Features of the Colombo Declaration
Emphasising why cooperation to share information regarding drug trafficking and providing legal help mutually is necessary.
Extension of communication among the states of the Indian Ocean Region.
The declaration emphasizes the need for the states of the Indian Ocean Region to hold regular meetings to share and access reports on drug trafficking. This would help to be better prepared to counter the drug menace.
FAQs on Colombo Declaration
Q1. When was the Colombo Declaration undertaken?
The Colombo Declaration was undertaken on 4th November 2016.
Q2. Who hosted the meeting in which the Colombo Declaration was undertaken?
The meeting in which the Colombo Declaration was undertaken was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka was jointly hosted by the Government of Sri Lanka and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Q3. What is the call for action as mentioned in the Colombo Declaration?
The Colombo Declaration emphasizes the importance of action by the states of the Indian Ocean to work towards making the area a drug-free zone, develop appropriate plans to overcome the drug trafficking menace in the region and have annual meetings to discuss and assess the approaches taken to counter the drug trafficking problem.
Q4. What are some of the issues that led to the Colombo Declaration?
Some of the concerns that led to the Colombo Declaration are:
- The many health risks associated with drug use such as Hepatitis C transmissions.
- To follow the pursuit of the work already commenced by other international organisations to put an end to the illicit drug trafficking rings in the region.
- Drug trafficking in the region is a threat to security and has direct links to organised crime and it is, therefore, important to put an end to this.