Tag Archives: UN convention

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against trafficking in human beings

Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea

Document or Iniciative

Council Decisions 2006/616/EC and 2006/617/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime.

Summary

The purpose of this Protocol to the United Nations Convention against organised crime is to prevent and combat the smuggling of migrants, and to promote cooperation between States in this area.

The signatory States must establish the following acts as criminal offences when committed with the aim of obtaining a financial or material benefit:

  • the smuggling of migrants, that is, procuring the illegal entry of a person into a State of which he is not a national or a permanent resident;
  • producing fraudulent travel or identity documents;
  • the use of a document by a person other than the rightful holder;
  • procuring, providing or possessing fraudulent documents;
  • enabling a person to remain in a country without complying with the necessary requirements.

Endangering the lives or safety of migrants, and inflicting inhuman or degrading treatment must be considered as aggravating circumstances. In addition, victims of the smuggling of migrants shall not be liable to criminal prosecution.

The Protocol shall apply to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of these offences where they are transnational in nature and where an organised criminal group is involved, as well as to the protection of the rights of the victims of these offences.

Measures against the smuggling of migrants by sea

If a State suspects that a ship without nationality is smuggling migrants, it can board and search the vessel.

If a State suspects that a ship with a foreign registration is smuggling migrants, it notifies the flag State and requests confirmation of registry and authorisation to take appropriate measures. The flag State must respond promptly to such a request. If the suspicions prove to be justified, the requesting State can board and search the vessel, and then take appropriate measures with respect to the vessel and the persons and cargo on board. They must also check the safety and the humane treatment of the persons on board. If no imminent danger is found, no additional measures can be taken without the express authorisation of the flag State.

Only ships clearly marked as being on government service are authorised to board and search vessels.

International cooperation

The States Parties will work towards strengthening their borders and are entitled to deny entry to persons implicated in the smuggling of migrants.

Countries with common borders or lying on routes used by criminal groups are required to exchange certain information such as that relating to the embarkation and destination points used by the traffickers, the routes and modes of transportation used and the methods of concealment of migrants, etc.

Immigration officials and other competent agents shall be trained in preventing the smuggling of migrants, in the humane treatment of such persons and in protecting their rights. To this end, the States shall cooperate with each other and with international organisations, non-governmental organisations and other competent organisations, as well as with other elements of civil society to ensure that there is adequate personnel training.

Furthermore, States with relevant expertise and appropriate technical resources should help States that are frequently countries of origin or transit for migrants.

Prevention, protection, assistance and return

The States will provide public awareness-raising campaigns and promote development programmes and cooperation on the regional, national and international level to combat the root socio-economic causes of this traffic, notably poverty and underdevelopment.

Furthermore, the States must take measures to protect the rights of migrants who are victims of smuggling, taking into account the special needs of women and children. They must provide appropriate protection against violence that may be inflicted upon them and appropriate assistance to migrants whose lives or safety are endangered by the fact that they have been the object of smuggling.

Lastly, and without prejudice to any right afforded to persons who have been the object of smuggling by any domestic law of the receiving State, the States party to the Protocol agree to facilitate the return of their citizens and persons who have the right of permanent residence in its territory and who have been the object of smuggling. The States shall take all appropriate measures to carry out the return in an orderly manner and with due regard for the safety and dignity of the person.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decisions 2006/616/EC and 2006/617/EC

24.7.2006

OJ L 262 of 22.9.2006

Related Acts

Council Decisions 2006/618/EC and 2006/619/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime [Official Journal L 262 of 22.9.2006].

This Protocol aims at preventing and combating trafficking in persons, especially women and children, and at protecting and helping the victims. It promotes international cooperation in order to achieve these aims.


Council Directive 2004/81/EC of 29 April 2004 on the residence permit issued to third-country nationals who are victims of trafficking in human beings or who have been the subject of an action to facilitate illegal immigration, who cooperate with the competent authorities [Official Journal L 261 of 6.8.2004].


Council Directive 2002/90/EC of 28 November 2002 defining the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence [Official Journal L 328 of 05.12.02].


Council Framework Decision 2002/946/JHA of 28 November 2002 on the strengthening of the penal framework to prevent the facilitation of unauthorised entry, transit and residence [Official Journal L 328 of 05.12.02].

Conclusion of the United Nations Convention against organised crime

Conclusion of the United Nations Convention against organised crime

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Conclusion of the United Nations Convention against organised crime

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Justice freedom and security > Fight against organised crime

Conclusion of the United Nations Convention against organised crime

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2004/579/EC of 29 April 2004 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime [Official Journal L 261, 6.8.2004].

Summary

The Decision is intended solely to enable the European Union to accede to the UN Convention against transnational organised crime and the Protocols supplementing it, which deal specifically with trafficking in persons, especially women and children, criminal organisations involved in illegal immigration and illegal employment, and trafficking in firearms.

The scale of organised crime as a proportion of the world economy is substantial. Its turnover is estimated at around a million million dollars a year. In response to this worrying transnational problem, legislation has been drafted by regional organisations such as the European Community and by international bodies such as the UN.

Main objectives

The main aims of the Convention are as follows.

  • It will harmonise certain criminal offences. This will bring the laws of different countries more closely into line, which will help to make the law clearer. An act which is an offence in one state party to the Convention will then be recognised as an offence in another such state. The Convention lays down a number of universal definitions of concepts in criminal law relating to organised crime, such as participation in an organised criminal group, money laundering, and corruption.
  • It will facilitate cooperation between states in law enforcement matters by establishing procedures for mutual assistance and extradition in a worldwide framework, and for joint investigative bodies.

The Convention pursues an overall objective of combating organised crime, which is an aim supported by the EU. The Hague Programme includes organised crime among cross-border questions to be dealt with as a matter of priority. The Commission has also drawn up a ” strategic concept ” setting out EU priorities and objectives for tackling organised crime.

Content

The content of the Convention has been the subject of much negotiation and a number of decisions on the part of the Member States. The Member States adopted a Joint Position at the end of 2000.

The main difficulty was the division of powers between the EU as such and its Member States. This is an essential question which the Council and the Commission discussed at length before concluding the Convention on behalf of the European Community.

For example, the initial text of the Convention would have recognised that the Community had general competence in matters of money laundering. Following negotiation in the Council this competence was ultimately restricted to the subject matter of the directives on money laundering and public contracts. Measures relating to police and law enforcement cooperation are part of the “third pillar”, and are not ordinarily within the scope of the Community’s powers.

The Member States did agree, however, that the Convention should include provisions on the following points.

  • The Convention requires the states party to it to criminalise certain conduct, in line with the Joint Action on making it a criminal offence to participate in a criminal organisation in the Member States of the European Union. Under the Convention, each State Party is to adopt such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences certain acts of participation or complicity directly or indirectly linked to the activities of an organised criminal group. Thus reference is now made to the concept of organised crime to impose heavier penalties for conduct the definition of which has now been harmonised at European level. The Convention brings the penalties for any conduct associated with organised crime more closely into line.
  • The Convention permits the prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime involving participation in an organised criminal group, laundering of the proceeds of crime, corruption, and obstruction of justice.
  • It increases the number of offences relating to money laundering. It calls for a comprehensive domestic regulatory and supervisory regime for banks and non-bank financial institutions and, where appropriate, other bodies particularly susceptible to money laundering. Despite the greater number of offences considered to be associated with money laundering, the fight against money laundering is not within the scope of the ordinary powers of the European Community, and Member States are asked to be guided in this area by the measures set out in the Convention and elsewhere.
  • It provides a number of guarantees for the protection of human rights.

The objectives set by the Council when preparations were being made for the adoption of the Convention have accordingly been complied with, and the Convention can be approved on behalf of the European Community.

Related Acts

Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons:

Council Decision 2006/619/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime concerning the provisions of the Protocol, in so far as the provisions of the Protocol fall within the scope of Part III, Title IV of the Treaty establishing the European Community [Official Journal L 262, 22.9.2006].

Council Decision 2006/618/EC of 24 July 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime concerning the provisions of the Protocol, in so far as the provisions of this Protocol fall within the scope of Articles 179 and 181a of the Treaty establishing the European Community [Official Journal L 262, 22.9.2006].

On 14 February 2000 the Council adopted decisions authorising the Commission to negotiate two draft Protocols supplementing the UN Convention against organised crime:

  • a draft Protocol against the smuggling of migrants by land, sea and air;
  • a draft Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children.

Protocol on the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms:

Council Decision 2001/748/EC of 16 October 2001 concerning the signing on behalf of the European Community of the United Nations Protocol on the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts, components and ammunition, annexed to the Convention against transnational organised crime [Official Journal L 280, 24.10.2001].
On 31 January 2000, the Council adopted a Common Position on the proposed Protocol against the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts and components and ammunition, supplementing the United Nations Convention against transnational organised crime [Official Journal L 37, 12.2.2000].
The Member States there agreed between themselves on a definition of firearms. They also agreed that further consideration of any question relating to the illicit manufacture of and trafficking in explosives and their use for criminal purposes should await the outcome of a study that was to be carried out by a UN ad hoc expert group. The draft of a Protocol on the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms was finalised at a meeting of this ad hoc committee in Vienna from 26 February to 2 March 2001. The draft was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 31 May 2001, and opened to all states for signature from the thirtieth day following its adoption. The EU Member States have said they favour rapid adoption of the Protocol.

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Kyoto Protocol on climate change

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

Kyoto Protocol on climate change

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2002/358/EC of 25 April 2002 concerning the approval, on behalf of the European Community, of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the joint fulfilment of commitments thereunder.

Summary

On 4 February 1991 the Council authorised the Commission to participate on behalf of the European Community in the negotiation of a United Nations framework convention on climate change, which was adopted in New York on 9 May 1992. The European Community ratified the Framework Convention by Decision 94/69/EC of 15 December 1993. The Framework Convention entered into force on 21 March 1994.

The Framework Convention made a large contribution towards the establishment of key principles of the international fight against climate change. In particular, it defines the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility”. It also helped to make people the world over more aware of the problems linked to climate change. However, the Convention does not contain commitments in figures, detailed on a country by country basis, in terms of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

At the first meeting of the Conference of the Parties in Berlin in March 1995, the Parties to the Convention decided to negotiate a Protocol containing measures to reduce emissions for the period beyond 2000 in the industrialised countries. After much work, the Kyoto Protocol was adopted on 11 December 1997 in Kyoto.

The European Community signed the Protocol on 29 April 1998. In December 2001 the Laeken European Council confirmed that the Union wanted to see the Kyoto Protocol enter into force ahead of the Johannesburg world summit on sustainable development (26 August – 4 September 2002). To that end, this Decision approved the Protocol on behalf of the Community. The Member States were to coordinate their action to deposit their instruments of ratification at the same time as the Community, and as far as possible by 1 June 2002.

Annex II to the Decision sets out the commitments to limit and reduce emissions agreed by the Community and its Member States for the initial commitment period (2008 to 2012).

The contents of the Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol tackles emissions of six greenhouse gases:

  • carbon dioxide (CO2);
  • methane (CH4);
  • nitrous oxide (N2O);
  • hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs);
  • perfluorocarbons (PFCs);
  • sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).

It represents an important step forward in the effort to tackle global warming as it includes binding, quantified objectives for limiting and reducing greenhouse gases.

Overall, the Parties to Annex I to the Framework Convention (i.e. the industrialised countries) undertake collectively to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce the total emissions of the developed countries by at least 5 % below 1990 levels, during the period 2008 to 2012. Annex B to the Protocol contains the quantified commitments given by the Parties.

The States which were members of the EU before 2004 must collectively reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by 8 % between 2008 and 2012. Member States which joined the EU after that date undertake to reduce their emissions by 8 %, with the exception of Poland and Hungary (6 %), and Malta and Cyprus, which are not listed in Annex I to the Framework Convention.

For the period up to 2008, the Parties undertake to make demonstrable progress in achieving their commitments by no later than 2005.

Parties who so wish, may make 1995 a reference year for emissions of HFCs, PFCs and SF6.

The Protocol suggests various means of attaining these objectives:

  • stepping up or introducing national policies to reduce emissions (greater energy efficiency, promotion of sustainable forms of agriculture, development of renewable energy sources, etc.);
  • cooperation with the other Contracting Parties (exchanges of experience or information, coordination of national policies through emission permits, joint implementation and a clean development mechanism).

No later than one year prior to the start of the first commitment period, each Party must have set up a national system of the estimation of emissions of human origin and removals by sinks of all greenhouse gases (not controlled by the Montreal Protocol).

Commitments will be reviewed by 2005 at the latest, for the second commitment period.

On 31 May 2002, the European Union ratified the Kyoto Protocol. Following its ratification by Russia, the Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005. Several industrialised countries have refused to ratify the Protocol, including the United States and Australia.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2002/358/EC

2.5.2002

OJ L 130 of 15.5.2002

Related Acts

Commission Decision 2006/944/EC of 14 December 2006 determining the respective emission levels allocated to the Community and each of its Member States under the Kyoto Protocol pursuant to Council Decision 2002/358/EC [Official Journal L 358 of 16.12.2010].
Amended by:
Commission Decision 2010/778/EU of 15 December 2010 [Official Journal L 332 of 16.12.2010].

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Topics

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Environment > Environment: cooperation with third countries

The Rotterdam Convention on the international trade in hazardous chemicals

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2006/730/EC of 25 September 2006 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Community, of the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides in international trade.

Regulation(EC) n° 689/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 concerning the export and import of dangerous chemicals.

Summary

The Rotterdam Convention was signed by the European Community on 11 September 1998. This Decision, approving the Rotterdam Convention on behalf of the European Community, is accompanied by a Council Regulation to implement the Convention’s provisions within the European Union (EU).

DECISION APPROVING THE ROTTERDAM CONVENTION

Fundamental principle

The Convention regulates the import and the export of certain hazardous chemicals and pesticides. It is based on the fundamental principle of Prior Informed Consent (PIC), meaning that under the Convention, a chemical listed in the Convention may only be exported with the importer’s prior consent. The Convention establishes a procedure to disseminate the decisions taken by the importing countries, thus implementing the PIC principle in the international trade in chemicals. It contains provisions requesting detailed information on the chemicals so that these decisions may be taken once data are available on the properties and the incidence of these products in particular on human health and the environment.

Products concerned

The Convention applies to banned or severely restricted chemicals and to extremely hazardous pesticide formulations. Over 30 chemicals are currently subject to the PIC procedure.

However, certain products are excluded from the scope of the Convention, namely:

  • narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances;
  • radioactive materials;
  • waste;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • chemical weapons;
  • chemicals used as food additives;
  • food;
  • chemicals imported in quantities not likely to involve a risk provided they are imported for the purpose of research or analysis or by an individual for his or her own personal use.

Implementation of the Convention

Each Party must designate a national authority to ensure implementation at national and regional level. The Convention establishes a conference of the Parties which ensures implementation at international level and the evaluation of the Convention, including the approval of amendments. There is also a subsidiary body called the Chemical Review Committee (the Committee), which is responsible for analysing and assessing chemicals. The Secretariat is mainly responsible for coordination and administrative tasks.

Listing of hazardous chemicals and pesticides

Each Party must inform the Secretariat of any regulatory action adopted in respect of one or more chemicals or pesticides on its territory. Such notification must include information on the properties, identification and use of the chemical and its regulatory action. Where there are two notifications for the same chemical from at least two different regions, the Committee will review the information provided and, where appropriate, will recommend that the chemical in question be included in the list of chemicals subject to the Convention. Severely hazardous pesticides are subject to specific provisions. The Convention takes into consideration the fact that developing countries or countries with economies in transition have more limited means, and allows these countries to draw upon technical expertise from any source if they wish to include a pesticide in the list. The Committee will then review the information provided and may recommend the pesticide for listing.

The Conference of the Parties reviews the Committee’s recommendation and may take the final decision. It can also decide to remove a chemical from the Convention.

Imports

Each Party must specify whether or not it consents to the import into its territory of the hazardous chemicals or pesticides listed in the Convention. Parties may also decide to consent to import only subject to specified conditions. Interim decisions are also accepted. A Party that does not consent to the import of a chemical or that only consents under specified conditions must ensure that the import of the chemical from any source and the domestic production of the chemical for domestic use are made subject to the same conditions.

Exports

Each exporting Party must, of course, comply with the decisions of the other Parties relating to import authorisations. A chemical may not be exported to any Party that has failed to transmit a response or has transmitted an interim response. However, there are exceptions, for example where the importing Party has given its explicit consent to the import of the chemical in question.

In addition, the exporting Parties should assist importing Parties, upon request, to obtain further information and to strengthen their capacities to manage chemicals during their life-cycle.

Any exported chemical that is banned or severely restricted under the Convention must be accompanied by an export notification, and the importing Party must also acknowledge receipt of the chemical. The Convention contains provisions on the information that must accompany the chemicals, such as labelling requirements.

Exchange of information

The aim is to facilitate the exchange of scientific, technical, economic and legal information concerning the chemicals within the scope of the Convention, and to provide information on domestic regulatory actions in this area.

Technical assistance

Developing countries and countries with economies in transition may receive technical assistance from Parties which are more advanced in the area of chemical regulation.

Settlement of disputes

The Conference of the Parties draws up provisions on non-compliance with the Convention. With respect to dispute settlement, the Parties may resort to an arbitration procedure. A Party which is not a regional economic integration organisation may also submit the dispute to the International Court of Justice.

Withdrawal from the Convention

A Party may withdraw from the Convention three years after the date on which it came into force. This will take effect upon expiry of at least one year from the date of receipt of the notification of withdrawal.

REGULATION CONCERNING EXPORTS AND IMPORTS

The purpose of the Regulation is to implement the provisions of the Rotterdam Convention within the European Community. It will ensure that the measures laid down in the Convention are adopted; at the same time, some of the provisions contained in the Regulation will go beyond what is required in the Convention.

Chemicals concerned

The scope of the Regulation is wider than that of the Convention. It covers certain hazardous chemicals, which are banned or severely restricted within the Community or a Member State. It also covers the classification, packaging and labelling of all exported chemicals.

Export procedure

The Regulation establishes the deadlines and obligations which will apply to the notification procedure. The system requires that each exporter submit one export notification each year before the first export of a chemical. The notifications will be entered in a centralised register.

The Regulation contains certain measures that are more stringent than those of the Convention. Under the Regulation, any chemical or pesticide that is banned or severely restricted within the Community, and any articles containing these chemicals, must be accompanied by a notification. In addition, explicit consent for export is required for any dangerous chemical or pesticide which is banned or severely restricted within the Community, where it qualifies for PIC notification, even if that chemical or pesticide is not subject to the provisions of the Convention and is not included in the list of products already subject to the PIC procedure. The Regulation also imposes minimum standards concerning, for instance, the useful life of exported chemicals or pesticides, and storage conditions. The measures on labelling and packaging are also more stringent.

Export measures will apply to exports to all countries and not just to those that have signed the Convention.

The Regulation provides for the possibility of completely banning the export of certain specific chemicals or pesticides.

Penalties

The penalties applicable to infringements of the provisions of this Regulation is determined by the Member States. These must be effective, proportional and dissuasive.

Exchange of information

The provisions are extended to all countries and the Regulation refers to European Community participation in an information network on capacity building set up by the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety.

Monitoring and evaluation

The Regulation requires regular reports to be drawn up on the quantities of exported chemicals and pesticides concerned. As regards the monitoring and evaluation of the functioning of the Regulation, Member States must regularly submit information to the Commission, which in turn will draw up regular reports on the subject.

Implementation

The implementing conditions are mostly laid down by the Convention. Each Member States must designate one or several national authorities to ensure that the Regulation is implemented at national level. The European Commission will be responsible for implementation at Community level; it will also play a coordinating role between the Member States and between the European Community and the institutions of the Convention. The Commission will also be responsible for amending the annexes. It will be assisted by a committee.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2006/730/EC

19.2.2002

OJ L 299 of 28.10.2006

Regulation (EC) No 689/2008

1.8.2008

OJ L 204 of 31.7.2008

The successive amendments and corrections to Regulation (EC) No 689/2008 have been incorporated in the original text. This consolidated versionis of documentary value only.