Pakistan has raised the issue of fake COVID-19 vaccines at a UN forum and urged the international community to work together to prevent the production and distribution of such products by criminal elements.
Pakistan’s UN envoy Munir Akram, Sunday joined top Japanese leaders and UN officials in calling for renewed global cooperation against crime to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The calls were made at the opening session of the 14th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice held in an innovative hybrid format amid pandemic curbs in Kyoto, Japan, featuring statements from Princess Takamado, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Justice Minister Yoko Kamikawa, as well as from the UN General Assembly President, Volkan Bozkir, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the head of UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly.
Ambassador Munir Akram, who is also the president of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), called for effective action against false and fake medical products (such as COVID-19 vaccines) and to strengthen international cooperation in this regard.
In his statement to the forum, Akram said like all other aspects of our daily lives, the impact of COVID-19 on transnational organised crime has been significant and added: “There is a compelling case for enhanced international action to combat and dismantle networks and platforms that perpetrate these crimes and undermine progress towards Agenda 2030.”
Akram said that there can be no sustainable development without justice, rule of law and prevention and control of crime.
Among the issues, he urged the meeting to recommend measures for halting the bleeding of the resources of developing countries through illicit financial flows, especially when they are struggling to overcome the challenges posed by shrinking fiscal space to fight the pandemic and achieve the SDGs.
Environmental crimes and ever-growing illegal trade in wildlife — which could lead to other zoonotic diseases — must be dealt on priority basis, the ECOSOC chief said.
He suggested opening up additional avenues for legal migration as a way to reduce the demand for smuggling services and to meet migration related SDGs.