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Regional cooperation as part of the solution to piracy – the importance of ReCAAP in Southeast Asia

Kax, Sofia LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract
Piracy is not given very much attention in the western part of the world – there is not many news about it in the medias, and it is not very high prioritized on the politicians’ agenda. However, this does not indicate that it is not a problem. Piracy affects many people, at an individual level as well as at a national, regional and global level.

The problem is complex and has long history, not least in Southeast Asia where reports concerning pirates started circulating around 500 AD and is still relevant today. The affected states have not been able to solve the problem on their own and the international conventions are poor when it comes to the modern type of piracy, which is mostly carried out in territorial waters where The United... (More)
Piracy is not given very much attention in the western part of the world – there is not many news about it in the medias, and it is not very high prioritized on the politicians’ agenda. However, this does not indicate that it is not a problem. Piracy affects many people, at an individual level as well as at a national, regional and global level.

The problem is complex and has long history, not least in Southeast Asia where reports concerning pirates started circulating around 500 AD and is still relevant today. The affected states have not been able to solve the problem on their own and the international conventions are poor when it comes to the modern type of piracy, which is mostly carried out in territorial waters where The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is not applicable.

This has resulted in discussions regarding alternative solutions and one of those solutions is regional cooperation. The states affected by piracy are often relatively weak states from a socio-economic perspective and it is hard for them to allocate adequate resources in order to control their territorial waters, spread information, legislate, arrest and prosecute pirates.

This is especially evident in Southeast Asia where the national boundaries are floating and the geography is beneficial for pirates with its narrow straits and islands. Following an initiative from Japan, a number of Asian countries created and formed The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in order to join hands in combating piracy in the region. ReCAAP came into force in 2006 and has been considered a successful cooperation and has worked as a template for the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which is a similar cooperation in East Africa and the Gulf of Aden.

The majority can probably agree on ReCAAP being a good first step for the region but there are unfortunately some weaknesses in the cooperation and how the signatory parties have incorporated the ReCAAP agreement in to their national legislation. Vietnam has been a part of the cooperation since the start but is not contributing financially, they lack specific anti-piracy laws and the incorporation, which is a recognized problem in Vietnam, is not satisfactory.

ReCAAP is a great initiative and the signatory parties are expected to grow, which will give the cooperation even more credibility. If some of the bigger weaknesses in the cooperation can be sorted out, then regional cooperation is definitely an important part of the solution to piracy in Southeast Asia. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Piratverksamhet är inte speciellt uppmärksammat i västvärlden – media lyfter inte upp det och det är heller inte en speciellt prioriterad punkt på politikernas agenda. Det betyder dock inte att det inte är ett stort problem. Det påverkar många, både känslomässigt och ekonomiskt, på en individnivå men också på en nationell, regional och global nivå.

Problemet är komplext och har en lång historia, inte minst i Sydostasien där rapporter om pirater började cirkulera kring 500 e.Kr. och gör det fortfarande idag. De berörda staterna har inte lyckats lösa problemet på egen hand och de internationella konventionerna är bristfälliga när det gäller den moderna piratverksamheten. Detta mycket på grund av att den moderna piratverksamheten håller... (More)
Piratverksamhet är inte speciellt uppmärksammat i västvärlden – media lyfter inte upp det och det är heller inte en speciellt prioriterad punkt på politikernas agenda. Det betyder dock inte att det inte är ett stort problem. Det påverkar många, både känslomässigt och ekonomiskt, på en individnivå men också på en nationell, regional och global nivå.

Problemet är komplext och har en lång historia, inte minst i Sydostasien där rapporter om pirater började cirkulera kring 500 e.Kr. och gör det fortfarande idag. De berörda staterna har inte lyckats lösa problemet på egen hand och de internationella konventionerna är bristfälliga när det gäller den moderna piratverksamheten. Detta mycket på grund av att den moderna piratverksamheten håller till inom staters territoriella vatten där exempelvis The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) inte är tillämplig.

Detta har gjort att alternativa lösningar börjat diskuteras och en sådan lösning är regionalt samarbete. De stater som är drabbade av piratverksamhet är ofta stater som är relativt svaga stater ur ett social-ekonomiskt perspektiv och det kan vara svårt för dem då att tillhandahålla tillräckligt med resurser för att kunna kontrollera sina territoriella vatten, sprida information, lagstifta, arrestera och åtala pirater.

Det här är särskilt tydligt i Sydostasien där de nationella gränserna dessutom är flytande och geografin är fördelaktig för pirater med många smala passager och öar. Efter initiativ från Japan gick ett antal asiatiska länder samman i det regionala samarbetet The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) för att tillsammans kunna bekämpa piratverksamheten i området. ReCAAP trädde i kraft år 2006 och har ansetts vara ett lyckat samarbete, det har bland annat legat till grund för The Djibouti Code of Conduct som är ett liknande samarbete i Östafrika och Adenviken.

De flesta är nog överens om att samarbetet är ett bra första steg för regionen men det finns dessvärre en hel del brister i samarbetet och hur medlemsländerna inkorporerat ReCAAP avtalet i sina nationella lagar. Vietnam har varit delaktiga sedan start men bidrar inte ekonomiskt till samarbetet, har inte lagstiftat om någon specifik anti-piratlag och inkorporeringen, som är ett problem i Vietnam, har inte riktigt fungerat.

ReCAAP är ett väldigt bra initiativ och medlemsländerna förväntas bli fler och fler vilket kommer ge samarbetet mer tyngd. Om några av de större bristerna skulle kunna åtgärdas är regionalt samarbete definitivt en del av lösningen på problemet med piratverksamheten i Sydostasien. (Less)
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author
Kax, Sofia LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
ReCAAP, Piracy, Vietnam, Maritime, Regional Cooperation, UNCLOS, SUA
language
English
id
2695891
date added to LUP
2012-10-15 10:42:57
date last changed
2012-10-15 10:42:57
@misc{2695891,
  abstract     = {Piracy is not given very much attention in the western part of the world – there is not many news about it in the medias, and it is not very high prioritized on the politicians’ agenda. However, this does not indicate that it is not a problem. Piracy affects many people, at an individual level as well as at a national, regional and global level.

The problem is complex and has long history, not least in Southeast Asia where reports concerning pirates started circulating around 500 AD and is still relevant today. The affected states have not been able to solve the problem on their own and the international conventions are poor when it comes to the modern type of piracy, which is mostly carried out in territorial waters where The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is not applicable.

This has resulted in discussions regarding alternative solutions and one of those solutions is regional cooperation. The states affected by piracy are often relatively weak states from a socio-economic perspective and it is hard for them to allocate adequate resources in order to control their territorial waters, spread information, legislate, arrest and prosecute pirates. 

This is especially evident in Southeast Asia where the national boundaries are floating and the geography is beneficial for pirates with its narrow straits and islands. Following an initiative from Japan, a number of Asian countries created and formed The Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) in order to join hands in combating piracy in the region. ReCAAP came into force in 2006 and has been considered a successful cooperation and has worked as a template for the Djibouti Code of Conduct, which is a similar cooperation in East Africa and the Gulf of Aden. 

The majority can probably agree on ReCAAP being a good first step for the region but there are unfortunately some weaknesses in the cooperation and how the signatory parties have incorporated the ReCAAP agreement in to their national legislation. Vietnam has been a part of the cooperation since the start but is not contributing financially, they lack specific anti-piracy laws and the incorporation, which is a recognized problem in Vietnam, is not satisfactory. 

ReCAAP is a great initiative and the signatory parties are expected to grow, which will give the cooperation even more credibility. If some of the bigger weaknesses in the cooperation can be sorted out, then regional cooperation is definitely an important part of the solution to piracy in Southeast Asia.},
  author       = {Kax, Sofia},
  keyword      = {ReCAAP,Piracy,Vietnam,Maritime,Regional Cooperation,UNCLOS,SUA},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Regional cooperation as part of the solution to piracy – the importance of ReCAAP in Southeast Asia},
  year         = {2012},
}