UNODC to Set Up Liaison Office in Mexico

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Mexico has agreed to host a liaison office of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that will provide training and share resources with the authorities — an arrangement which the UN hopes can be rolled out to other countries in the region.

In a press release, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) executive director Yury Fedotov said the Liaison and Partnership Office (LPO) would offer specialized training, trend analysis, and research related to drugs and citizen security.

Fedotov said that it was the first such agreement, and that he hoped there would be others.

The office will also provide legal and technical assistance in order to improve cooperation between federal and local governments in the fight against organized crime.

Mexican officials have not yet named a date for the opening of the LPO, Notimex reported.

InSight Crime Analysis

The establishment of the office is a sign of the UNODC’s deepening presence in Mexico. In June 2012, the UNODC evaluated the Ministry of Public Security’s new federal police model, and it is currently drafting a report on the state of human trafficking in Mexico.

Though details of the LPO’s mandate remain vague, UN-backed organizations have a history of success in the region. The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) — a UN-backed commission working with the Guatemalan government — has helped bring about the prosecution of several government officials accused of corruption, including ex-President Alfonso Portillo, who was charged with embezzlement and corruption, though he was ultimately acquitted.

Moreover, political leaders in the region, such as Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla, have called on the UN to take on a greater role in fighting the drug trade and organized crime in Mexico and Central America. Chinchilla has argued the international community should view drug trafficking as a threat to global security, as it does with terrorism. The UNODC’s increasing cooperation with Mexico, where drug trafficking organizations like the Sinaloa Cartel and the Zetas have a well-documented reach into Central America, could have an impact on the region as a whole.

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