AGENCY CITES INCREASED DRUG TRAFFIC IN PACIFIC

VIENNA, Switzerland (RNZI, Feb. 27) - An international drug control agency says more Pacific countries must join world drug control treaties to stop the increased trafficking in illegal drugs through the region.

A report by the International Narcotics Control Board in Vienna says Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Tonga are the only Pacific countries to have signed up to the treaties.

The INCB report says other countries such as Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Tuvalu and Vanuatu must join international drug control treaties without delay.

The INCB’s secretary, Herbert Shaepe says drug cartels are targeting Pacific nations because of their inadequate laws.

He says the treaties will protect Pacific countries from this trade.

"The main issue is of course that they have then to adjust their laws and that is the purpose … that the laws have to comply with the international treaties, and that is precisely also their protection, because these countries are being misused, because trafficking groups are of the opinion, that in these countries, if they are caught, they will not be punished, because the laws are not adequate," said Shaepe.

Shaepe says there has been a sharp increase in cocaine and marijuana being trafficked through the region.

February 27, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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