Increasing Palestinian readiness to respond to drug-related threats

The ties between drug-related problems and security and health threats was the theme of a week-long seminar facilitated by the Mission’s Anti-Narcotics and Organized Crime Advisor in close cooperation with the Office of the EU Representative in Jerusalem and the ‘National Program on Drugs, Crime and Justice’ of the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior.

The seminar took place in the format of a so-called technical visit by experts from the European Union Anti-Drug Agency EMCDDA (the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction) as part of their EU4MD project (EU4Monitoring Drugs). This project supports national and regional readiness to identify and respond to drug-related security and health threats.

On the first day of the seminar, the Head of EUPOL COPPS, Kauko Aaltomaa welcomed the participants, in particular the director of EU4MD project Dr. Ilze Jekabsone and Brigadier General Ouzreil, director of Palestinian ‘National Program on Drugs, Crime and Justice’. Subsequently both directors and the experts from EMCDDA presented their respective projects and programmes to the more than 25 specialists attending the seminar.

The participants represented a broad range of institutions including the Ministries of Justice, Health, Social Services and Education, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Health Organisation (WHO), the Palestinian Civil Police (Anti-Narcotics Department and Forensic Laboratory), the EU Border Assistance Mission for Rafah (EUBAM Rafah), Birzeit University and several Palestinian Civil Society organisations.

The seminar included, amongst other, visits to the Palestinian Civil Police’s Forensic Laboratory, WHO in Jerusalem, the Non-Governmental Organisation ANNOR’s Rehabilitation Centre for drug addicts, the Palestinian National Rehabilitation Centre for Drug Addicted in Bethlehem and to the Ministry of the Interior.

This technical visit was the first of its kind to Palestine – a European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) country. In addition to Palestine, the project includes potential beneficiaries in Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Egypt, Georgia, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine.

Top Photo: The Head of EUPOL COPPS, the EU Police and Rule of Law Mission for the Palestinian Territory, Kauko Aaltomaa addressing the participants on the first day of the seminar, Monday 8 April 2019, in the Mission’s Headquarters in Ramallah.
Bottom Photo: Some of the participants in front of the Palestinian National Rehabilitation Centre for Treatment of Addicts, under the Ministry of Health. The centre in Bethlehem began its operation on 17 January this year.