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While acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea off the coast of Somalia have subsided substantially, the United Nations Security Council still wants to see a comprehensive response to prevent and suppress such acts and tackle the underlying causes.

In a resolution adopted this week, the 15-member Council also urged Somali authorities to continue passing comprehensive anti-piracy and maritime laws, to establish security forces with clear roles and jurisdictions to enforce these laws, as well as strengthen the capacity of Somali courts to investigate and prosecute those responsible for piracy.

The Security Council also called on UN member states, “working in conjunction with relevant international organisations, to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates off the coast of Somalia.”

Also in the resolution, the Council urges criminalisation of piracy under member states’ domestic law and to consider prosecution of suspected – and imprisonment of those convicted – pirates apprehended off the coast of Somalia as well as facilitators and financiers on land, in line with applicable international law.

The UN body responsible for matters relating to international peace and security further encouraged flag States and port States to consider development of safety and security measures on board vessels, including, where applicable, developing regulations for the use of privately contracted armed security personnel on board ships, aimed at preventing and suppressing piracy off the coast of Somalia, through a consultative process, including relevant UN entities.

The Council also commended the efforts of the European Union Naval Forces (EUNavFor) Operation Atalanta, Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 151, counter-piracy efforts of the African Union and the naval activities of the Southern Africa Development Community, as well as other efforts to suppress piracy and protect ships transiting waters off the coast of Somalia.

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