United Nations: The UN Security Council, under the presidency of India, has voiced deep concern over the growing threat posed by piracy and armed robbery at sea, asking nations to criminalise piracy and ensure prosecution of pirates and their financiers.
The 15-nation Council had held an open debate, which was called by India`s Permanent Representative to the UN Hardeep Singh Puri, on the issue of piracy yesterday.
The Council subsequently adopted a Presidential Statement initiated by India on the subject of piracy, incorporating the concerns of several countries relating to the welfare of seafarers taken as hostage by pirates.
Puri said pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia have continued despite increased naval presence.
As of August 2012, the Somali pirates held 11 ships and 188 hostages, including 43 Indian seafarers.
UNSC "continues to be gravely concerned by the threat that piracy and armed robbery at sea pose to international navigation, safety of commercial maritime routes, and security and economic development of States in the regions concerned, as well as to the safety and welfare of seafarers and other persons, including through their being taken as hostages, and the increasing violence employed by pirates and persons involved in piracy and armed robbery at sea," the presidential statement said.
The Council strongly condemned hostage-taking and use of violence against hostages and called upon states to cooperate to secure the early release of hostages, including through sharing of information and intelligence.
It stressed on the need for a comprehensive response by the international community to repress piracy and tackle its underlying causes to ensure eradication of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
"The Security Council reiterates its call upon States, particularly concerned States, to criminalise piracy under their domestic law and to favourably consider the prosecution of suspected, and imprisonment of convicted pirates and their facilitators and financiers ashore, consistent with applicable international law, including international human rights law," the Council said.
The statement stressed on the need for nations and international organisations to share evidence, information and intelligence for anti-piracy law enforcement purposes, including ensuring effective prosecution of suspected and imprisonment of convicted pirates.
The Council stressed that coordination of efforts at the regional level is necessary for developing a comprehensive strategy to counter the threat of piracy and armed robbery at sea.
"The Security Council reiterates the urgent need to investigate and prosecute not only suspects captured at sea, but also anyone who incites or intentionally facilitates piracy operations, including key figures of criminal networks involved in piracy who illicitly plan, organise, facilitate, or finance and profit from such attacks," it said.
The Council underlined the primary responsibility of Somali authorities in the fight against piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia, urging the Somali authorities to put in place comprehensive counter-piracy laws without further delay.
The Council voiced appreciation for member states, including China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Korea and Russia, for their efforts to combat piracy.