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UN Security Council urges continued efforts to fight maritime piracy

The UN Security Council [official website] adopted a resolution [text] Monday restating its call for member states to take steps against piracy and armed robbery off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa. The resolution [UN News Center report] urges UN member states to cooperate with "relevant international organizations to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates, as well as to cooperate on the issue of hostage-taking." The council cited a report [text] by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime [official website] that claims pirates in these regions have made between USD $339 million and $413 million in ransom profits in the last seven years and have cost the global economy $18 billion a year in increased trade costs. The resolution encourages member states to "fight piracy by deploying naval arms, military aircraft and by supporting counter-piracy forces" and asserts that a 1992 arms embargo will does not apply to weapons, military equipment, or other forms of aid that will be used in counter-piracy efforts.

UN member states around the world have taken actions against maritime piracy [JURIST news archive]. A Spanish court convicted [JURIST report] six men for piracy in October for their 2012 attack on a Spanish warship off the coast of Somalia. The pirates were each sentenced to five to eight years in prison, and one was sentenced to 12-and-a-half years in prison for his connection with a criminal organization. Earlier that month, Belgian officials arrested [JURIST report] Somali pirate leader Mohammed Abdi Hassan when he was flown into Brussels on a false offer regarding a documentary about his life. At the Summit of the Gulf of Guinea Heads of State and Government [All Africa report] in June, regional leaders throughout the area adopted [JURIST report] the International Maritime Organization [official website] Code of Conduct concerning the Prevention and Repression of Piracy, Armed Robbery against Ships, and Illegal Maritime Activities in West and Central Africa [text, PDF], an agreement praised by the UN.

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