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UN expert calls for increased efforts to combat Somalia piracy

Pirates off the Somalia coast have increased their area of operation and use of violence despite unprecedented efforts to reduce piracy, a UN official said [press release] Monday. Assistant Secretary-General for Political AffairsTaye-Brook Zerihoun [official profile] told the UN Security Council [official website] that in order to successfully combat piracy, member states must increase security and legal action against pirates and provide further support to the Somalian economy. Zerihoun stated that although recent efforts in the international community have reduced the instances of piracy in the East African region, many nations have failed to prosecute accused pirates. He suggested that Somalia needed support for its own maritime law enforcement. Additionally, Zerihoun explained that action must be taken to deter young Somalis from taking up piracy and argued that attention to the Somalian economy was crucial. Zerihoun's statement followed the Security Council's adoption [JURIST report] of a resolution [text] in October, urging member states to make piracy a crime and establish anti-piracy courts [webcast] due to the rise in maritime piracy crime off the coast of Somalia. The resolution also asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to issue a progress report in two months regarding the prosecution of piracy suspects in Somalia.

International maritime piracy [JURIST news archive] reached an all-time high [JURIST report] early in the first quarter of 2011, according to a report [press release] released in April by the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) [official website]. Earlier that month, the UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution [JURIST report] to consider creating new laws, courts and prisons specialized to address the growing problem of piracy off the coast of Somalia. Last January, the IMB reported [JURIST report] that, to that point, 2009 marked the worst year of piracy since 2003, spiking near Somalian waters then as well. In July 2009, the IMB reported [JURIST report] that pirate attacks around the globe doubled in the first half of 2009. Few countries have been willing to prosecute suspected pirates. The few that have attempted to do so include Germany, Seychelles, the Netherlands, Mauritius, Yemen, Somalia and Spain [JURIST reports].

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