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NEW UN ANTI-CRIME CHIEF PLEDGES TO EMPHASIZE HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS

Source: unic.org

The new United Nations anti-crime chief vowed today to help improve the lives of people worldwide by championing public health, human rights and justice in the fight against drugs and corruption.

Yury Fedotov took up his post as the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), voicing hope that the organization will push efforts to promote economic and social progress forward.

“Illicit drugs, crime and corruption cut lives short and retard prosperity, whereas justice and health spur development,” the official stressed in Vienna, where the agency is based.

“We can play our party in the global fight against poverty and to achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals [MDGs],” he added, referring to the eight internationally-agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline.

It is the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer the most, Mr. Fedotov underlined.

“Whether we talk of the victims of human trafficking, communities oppressed by corrupt leaders, unfair criminal justice systems or drug users marginalized by society, we are committed to making a positive difference.”

He also called today for “human and effective treatment” – not punishment – for drug users, calling drug dependence a health disorder.

Mr. Fedotov, who also took over as the new Director-General of the UN Office at Vienna (UNOV) today, most recently served as Russia's Ambassador to the United Kingdom. He has also held the position of deputy foreign minister.

He succeeds Antonio Maria Costa of Italy, who served as UNODC head and UNOV Director-General since 2002.