Chinese national Meng Hongwei, elected Interpol president in 2016, disappeared under mysterious circumstances during a visit to his home country at the end of September. Beijing announced on Oct 7 that he had resigned and was under investigation. The election is for his replacement.
The international policing body provides member countries with instant, direct access to a wide range of criminal databases, containing millions of records on fingerprints, DNA, stolen motor vehicles, firearms, travel documents and more. The databases share information contributed by member countries on a daily basis.
Databases on asylum seekers and INTERPOL’s Red Notice system have proven to be particularly vulnerable to abuse and misuse.
The system for handling data on asylum seekers has to be tight enough that refugee status cannot be abused by criminals and terrorists, but not so tight that member countries that regard refugees as the Trojan Horse of terrorism can abuse the human rights of asylum seekers. A policy resolution passed at the 2017 INTERPOL GA in Beijing “strikes a balance between enhancing international police cooperation and providing adequate and effective safeguards to protect the rights of refugees,” according to Secretary General Jürgen Stock.
Red Notices, fugitive alerts issued by Interpol, can make it hard for fugitives to slip across borders, but the database is known as a tool for authoritarian governments to control and persecute critics.
In Oct 2017 German broadcaster DW noted that the latest detention of a German citizen on an Interpol arrest warrant at Turkey’s behest “prompts further questions about the international policing agency’s modus operandi.”
Israel expressed similar reservations about INTERPOL after Palestine was admitted as a state party in a secret vote at the organization’s 2017 assembly.
As INTERPOL’s supreme governing body, the General Assembly meets annually and takes all the major decisions affecting general policy, the resources needed for international cooperation, working methods, finances and programs of activities.
#22460 Updated: 10/11/2018 UPDATED 11 OCT TO REFLECT CHINA DEVELOPMENT