Thu Mar 16, 2017 10:6AM
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshroo (Photo by AFP)
Iranian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshroo (Photo by AFP)

A senior Iranian diplomat says the international community must first put an end to “terrorism,” interventionism, and “ethnic cleansing,” among other threats around the world, in order to pave the way for the elimination of human trafficking.

Iran’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gholam Ali Khoshroo made the comments during a Wednesday address to a Security Council open debate on Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery, Forced Labour in Conflict Situations.

He further said the deadly conflicts and “wars of attrition” plaguing the Middle East and North Africa have led to “the formation of armed groups, terrorists and transnational crime networks — leading to an upsurge in trafficking.”

“Occupation, war, political instability, terrorism, genocide, ethnic cleansing and foreign aggression created conditions that forced millions to become displaced in their own countries or seek refuge overseas, becoming vulnerable to human trafficking,” added the Iranian official.

An Iraqi refugee, who fled Mosul, carries her child as she walks around in a camp in al-Hol, located some 14 kilometers from the Iraqi border in northeastern Syria, on March 13, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

He further warned against the upsurge in violence caused by terrorist groups, who view civilians, particularly women and children, as a resource or commodity as is the case with the Takfiri Daesh terror group.

He said Daesh treatment of refugees could amount to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.  

Khoshroo called on the Security Council and member states to address the root causes of human smuggling, and protect the rights of refugees and migrants by reinforcing existing laws against all illegal acts, especially racially-motivated crimes.

Prior to Khoshroo, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres addressed the participants, saying 21 million people around the world faced forced labor and extreme exploitation, while the perpetrators reaped annual profits estimated at $150 billion.

Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Yury Fedotov also told the meeting that criminals saw a clear, low-risk, high-reward business opportunity in conflict zones.

Armed groups preyed on children while organized crime networks exploited many thousands of people on the move, according to Fedotov.

He called on UN member states to devote greater resources to identifying and helping victims.