|France, Lyon: 1/4/2012/ INTERPOL Travel Document / Written by: Mr Ralph Markert, Assistant Director,International Partnerships & Development INTERPOL General Secretariat|
INTERPOL Travel Document
Rapid Response for a Safer World
Security and protection of borders play a key role in the fight against transnational crime in South East Europe. Law enforcement agencies in the region strive to provide security through the establishment of a sophisticated integrated border management system complying with international standards, and developed in cooperation with neighboring countries and international organizations.
Since its creation in 2002, the Southeast Europe Police Chiefs Association (SEPCA) has actively cooperated with INTERPOL, the world’s largest international police organization. Like INTERPOL, SEPCA’s objective is to prevent and fight crime through enhanced international police cooperation, enabling police officials to collaborate to make the world a safer place. To meet the growing challenges of 21st century transnational crime, INTERPOL designed and implemented its own state-of-the-art technical and operational infrastructure, showcased by the global police communications system I-24/7.
The INTERPOL General Secretariat is located in Lyon, France, and operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Additionally, INTERPOL has seven regional offices across the world and representative offices at the United Nations in New York and the European Union in Brussels. At the heart of the Organization, INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCBs), staffed by highly trained national law enforcement officials, exchange critical information and provide essential police support.
One successful example of the active cooperation between SEPCA member countries and INTERPOL is project BESA, which was launched in 2009 to target organized crime groups in South East Europe and which led to numerous arrests, seizures of illegal drugs and the recovery of weapons. This project perfectly demonstrates the vital role of close international police cooperation and intelligence sharing in fighting transnational crime. INTERPOL has developed a wide range of vital policing tools and services, without which such cases may have never been solved.
Recently, INTERPOL has created another powerful tool in response to the need to facilitate the international travel of law enforcement officials on INTERPOL-related business. As Ronald K. Noble, Secretary General of INTERPOL, emphasized: “Criminals can cross borders swiftly and effortlessly, while our Heads of National Central Bureaus, law enforcement colleagues and even our General Secretariat staff are slowed down or stopped because of legitimate but time consuming visa requirements and administrative procedures, which constitutes a major impediment to keeping the world safe.”
In November 2010 the 79th session of the INTERPOL General Assembly overwhelmingly endorsed the INTERPOL Travel Document initiative under Resolution AG-2010-RES-02, to ensure that member countries can benefit from INTERPOL’s support and assistance without delay, whenever and wherever needed.
The INTERPOL Travel Document is a secure international document issued by INTERPOL to identify law enforcement officials carrying out official duties on INTERPOL-related matters and to facilitate their international travel. The INTERPOL Travel Document exists in two forms: the INTERPOL e-Passport Booklet and INTERPOL e-Identification Card, both of which comply with international security standards established by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
As of March 2012, the INTERPOL Travel Document has already been recognized by 36 member countries - Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Belarus, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, France, Georgia, Guinea, Jordan, Laos, Latvia, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Singapore, Sudan, Swaziland and Tanzania. These countries have accepted that holders of the INTERPOL Travel Document in one or both of its forms (e-passport booklet and/or e-identification card), when used in conjunction with a valid national passport, will benefit from a special visa status (visa waiver or visa upon arrival). Additionally, more than 90 other countries are currently considering recognition of the Documents within the scope of their national laws. Regional organizations such as the African Union (AU), the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO), the Southern African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (SARPCCO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have also endorsed the initiative.
Furthermore, both INTERPOL Travel Documents were declared compliant with European Union (EU) technical specifications by the Council of the European Union Working group on False Documentation (FRONT/FAUXDOC) and were positively received by the members of the Article 36 (EU treaty) Committee (CATS). As a result, the documents have been placed in the False and Authentic Documents Online (FADO) and Public Register of Authentic Identity and Travel Documents Online (PRADO) and FRONTEX databases. Additionally, the documents have been recently included in the Council of the European Union’s list of travel documents issued by third countries and international organizations. The documents will be presented during the upcoming EU Visa Group meeting to be held this year, which will determine the special visa status to be attached to the INTERPOL Travel Documents.
By joining the INTERPOL Travel Document initiative, SEPCA member countries will not only ensure that they receive rapid assistance in combating international crime or in response to natural disasters and major events, but will also demonstrate their commitment to global security.
Mr Ralph Markert
Assistant Director, International Partnerships & Development
In April 2011 Mr. Markert was appointed as the Assistant Director for the newly created Directorate on International Partnerships and Development (IP&D) within the INTERPOL General Secretariat. This Directorate focuses on developing strategic partnerships (revenue generation, partnerships and alliance building with the private and public sector, project management and marketing). Mr. Markert joined INTERPOL’s General Secretariat in Lyon, France, in 2006 as a Criminal Intelligence Officer within the Trafficking in Human Beings Sub – Directorate due to his expertise in this area.
|SEPCA Publishes Newsletter 40 with main topic: "Meeting of Executive Board of SEPCA"
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