Role of the Guinean civil society. Mitigating the impact of organized crime and drug trafficking in the community

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1 Role of the Guinean civil society Mitigating the impact of organized crime and drug trafficking in the community

2 Context: West African State with just over 1.5 million, derived from more than 30 different ethnic groups; occupies one of the last positions in terms of international ranking on human development;

3 From 1998 up to date, the Guinea-Bissau had: 10 Prime Ministers; 3 Presidents of the Republic elected without any of them has ended the mandate; 3 Interim Presidents because of military uprisings; 4 Chiefs of Staff, all separated by military withdrawals, including 2 were assassinated in office; Recurring cases of arbitrary arrests and beatings of citizens.

4 Country referenced as a platform for trafficking and storage of cocaine from Latin America to Europe, which puts it on the map of the financing of organized crime and international terrorism.

5 There is constitutional permission for creation of civil society organizations, and this right is exercised relatively freely; The pursuit is conditioned in some situations, as being harmful to those in power, especially when we are dealing with "periods of exception.

6 Types of Civil Society Organizations NGOs; (CSOs) Unions; Religious organizations; Based organizations.

7 Protect and promote civil and political rights, economic and social rights or environmental rights, right to development, Regarding the issue of drug trafficking, there is no specialization since is a transversal matter.

8 Several organizations such as the defense of human rights (generalist), rights of children, women, environment, professional organizations, among others, can intervene on matters involving drug trafficking.

9 Civil society activities regarding the fight against drug trafficking: Submission of Periodic Reports on the general situation of illicit drugs; Alternative reports made by institutions that evaluate the evolution of drug trafficking problem; Reporting facts that indicate the existence of trafficking; Monitoring and tracking of legal proceedings in which there are evidences of drug trafficking;

10 Psychosocial assistance to victims of violence linked to drug trafficking and organized crime; Assistance, guidance, consultation and legal assistance to victims of situations involving trafficking or drug abuse; Advocacy with national authorities (National Assembly and Government) for the adoption of laws and administrative measures aimed at combating the scourge;

11 Lobbying for the signature and ratification of international instruments on fighting drug trafficking and organized crime; Adoption of policies and strategies in the fight against drug trafficking; Rehabilitation and social reintegration of victims of drug trafficking; Information, awareness and social mobilization in favor of judicial accountability of drug traffickers;

12 Fight impunity led by CSOs, through campaigns and debates, mobilization of the community on the need for effective law enforcement, penalizing illicit drug trafficking and organized crime. Thus, we can combat apathy and social compliance!

13 CSOs as awareness organisms: CSOs should be in a position to bring reliable information to the population, Able to disseminate the magnitude of the inherent problems of the drug trade and its negative consequences, with arguments that show that is the cause of murders, widespread corruption, insecurity, instability and permanent malfunctioning of the judiciary system.

14 Role of social media The media has an important role in the mass dissemination of information, intended to inform, report and build public opinion on the issue of drug trafficking. In our context, community radios are essential vehicles; the radio is very accessible to the rural population; Information is disseminated in local languages.

15 Strengths of CSOs Existence of hundreds of CSOs at national level; High spirit of volunteerism in civic actions in favor of eradicating the evils that plague society;

16 Recognition by the State of the predominant role of CSOs in the implementation of measures of collective interest; High credibility at the community level which reinforces its legitimacy to act; Existence of many private radio stations and newspapers.

17 Weaknesses of CSOs Work environment characterized by real risks caused by widespread insecurity; Weak knowledge and mastery of the issues related to drug trafficking; Absence or near absence of financial support;

18 The drug trafficking is a major cause of the disintegration of the State, aggravating every day their institutional weaknesses, "feeding" organized crime. State ineffective, endowed with inefficient structures.

19 It is time for civil society to be engaged in an holistic logic to support in the fight for the eradication of this scourge.

20 criminal liability of offenders (no strategy will be effective if it is not synchronized with the justice sector reform to strength the rule of law); adoption of appropriate mechanisms in order to start the defense and security reform; (as one of the most affected sectors by the involvement of its agents in criminal practice); creating alternatives to poverty reduction;

21 Drug trafficking has a direct impact on the phenomenon of instability: murders and successive coups so that criminal cells and cartels have a better control of the territory to promote the illicit business,

22 Increasingly concerted actions are needed not only between different social actors in the States perspective, but also greater international coordination.

23 Especially in the case of a country comprising by an archipelago of islands very attractive for the development of organized crime, in particular drug trafficking, since there is a diminished ability by national authorities to patrol and control it.

24 Thank you for your attention. Luís Vaz Martins Civil society activist from Guinea-Bissau; President of the Guinean Human Rights League.

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