The Jakarta Post
Indonesia is a center for transnational organized crime and must work extra hard to deal with the problem, says a United Nations official.
Transnational organized crime is regarded as a major challenge faced by countries around the world. It is considered a problem that could undermine the stability of a nation, especially a group of nations in an area, such as ASEAN.
Transnational crimes include drug trafficking, human trafficking, terrorism, corruption, money-laundering and environmental crime, perpetrators of which are actors of transnational crime.
'One of the things that we are really worried about is the fact that Indonesia has four million methamphetamine users. The drug is not only shipped through Indonesia but there is massive production of it in Indonesia,' said Troels Vester of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime ( UNODC ) on the sidelines of the 4th Center for International Law Studies on Transnational Organized Crime at Syaih Kuala University in Banda Aceh on Oct. 28.
Vester said his office was carrying out efforts to help Indonesia face the further growing number of transnational organized crime cases. Based on observations by the UNODC, funds obtained by organized criminals in Indonesia amounted up to US$1 billion, especially from drug trafficking.
Apart from drug trafficking, UNODC and Indonesia are also very concerned with environmental crimes, such as illegal logging, particularly timber smuggling from Indonesia.
'If you look at Kalimantan and Papua, the situation there is shameful. It is easy to cut down trees from a protected forest. Wildlife trafficking is also rampant,' said Vester.
Corruption is also regarded as an organized crime in Indonesia. 'Corruption is still a major problem, not only within the government but also in the private sector.
We should not forget that the private sector often bribes government officials,' said Vester.
Regarding transnational crime organizations, the UNODC and the Indonesian government have set out to work together to fight these organizations.
Economic growth could also give transnational crime organizations the opportunity to undermine Indonesia's strength.
Regarding graft eradication, Indonesia also faces problems with regard to extradition and efforts to retrieve stolen state funds stored overseas.
'This is part of an enormous challenge for Indonesia, especially in the ASEAN region. The legal language on corruption eradication among ASEAN countries is not the same,' said Hamid Awaluddin, a former justice and human rights minister.
According to Hamid, the language differences in question is a matter of differences in the perception of corruption among neighboring countries, citing corrupt crimes committed by perpetrators who fled to Singapore.
'Sometimes we find it difficult to extradite those who fled to Singapore. This is due to a lack of a common vision on eradicating corruption between Indonesia and Singapore,' said Hamid.