Piracy costing 7 billion dollars a year

Twenty-five million dollars should be spent on special courts and prisons inside Somalia to prosecute pirates, according to the UN’s Special Advisor on legal issues regarding Somalia piracy. Speaking to the Security Council on Thursday, Jack Lang asked the members to act quickly and firmly. Piracy is costing the world 7 billion dollars a year. Jocelyne Sambira reports:

Twenty-two thousand ships cross the Gulf of Aden, off the coast of Somalia every year, carrying 30% of the world’s oil supply, according to Jack Lang.

In this area now classified as a “war zone”, insurance costs have skyrocketed, affecting the international trade, as well as aid to the region.

The former French Culture Minister notes that the pirates seem to have the upper hand.

“It is difficult to accept that the international community can be durably defied by 1,500 people so I consider that the extreme gravity of the situation requires emergency remedies.”

Kenya, Mauritania and Seychelles have been trying Somali pirates but often 9 out of 10 pirates are released, creating a situation of impunity, he adds.

Creating Somali owned courts and prisons in the autonomous regions of Puntland and Somaliland would lift the legal obstacles to prosecuting pirates and their imprisonment.

And these courts would be welcome by the Somali people. Jack Lang again:

“The population of Somalia itself is increasingly hostile to piracy for religious reasons linked to the devastating consequences: drugs, prostitution, and alcohol. It is ready to support the efforts that will be carried out on the ground against piracy, it is important that the combat against piracy be supported by the populations affected.”

According to the Somali representative to the UN, Elmi Ahmed Duale, the funds being asked to create the special courts and prisons represent very little compared to what is being spent to combat piracy on the high seas.

“What is remaining really is action and quick action, both on the legal aspects and …. Piracy emanates from”.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

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