Under the auspices and in the presence of HH, The Emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice DOHA 2015 has opened at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) on Sunday 12 April 2015.  

More than 110 ministers including prime ministers, ministers of interior, foreign affairs and justice and public prosecutors and 5,000 officials from 142 countries from around the world are attending the eight-day Congress from 12 to 19 April 2015.

Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani; Secretary-General of the UN, HE Ban Ki-moon; HE President of the UN General Assembly’s sixty-ninth session, Sam Kutes; President of the UN Economic and Social Council, HE Martin Sajdik; and Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Secretary General of the Congress, HE Yury Fedotov, attended the opening ceremony.

Before the opening ceremony, the procedural session was held where the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, was elected as the President of the Congress by recommendation, as well as the members of the Congress office and the members of the documentation committee were elected.

HE the Prime Minister UN Crime Congress
Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani


At the opening session, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani stressed that this congress is being held in the light of the increasing prevalence of all types of crimes and the continued existence of the hotbeds of conflict, tension, insecurity and instability as well as the lack of development in many areas of the world which led to the escalation of violence, terrorism and corruption.

During the opening ceremony, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani delivered a speech in which he said that the hosting of this Congress by the State of Qatar comes out of its bear of international responsibility and its recognition of the importance of achieving criminal justice and establishing national communities and a safe international society governed by the rule of law and the principles of freedom and justice. HE also noted to the importance of the fight against crime which adversely affects the achievement of international human security in all its dimensions, in international peace and security.

During his opening remark, HE the Prime Minister revealed an initiative aimed at saving a generation of displaced children and youth at the regional level by establishing a fund for education and professional development for the benefit of displaced persons and refugees who are victims of conflicts in the Middle East.

The initiative focuses on providing a dual education system which combines between school’s education and vocational training in institutions and is embodied in building schools in refugee camps in coordination with refugee-hosting countries which have spared no effort to receive and accommodate the huge numbers of them in their schools, despite their limited resources, HE the Prime Minister said.

HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani called to popularise the initiative later at the international level, and urged all governments, international organizations, donor agencies, civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations for partnership and coordination and cooperation to support this initiative. He warned that the duplication of the implementation of international law standards represents the major challenges faced by the crime prevention and criminal justice and constitutes a major obstacle to achieve the desired development of peoples, noting to the serious crimes and violations of international conventions of human rights committed in some areas of the world and the impunity of perpetrators of these crimes from the criminal justice because of the selective method in dealing with some of these crimes, which is reflected negatively on the credibility of human rights. HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani called on the UN to participate in the protection and promotion of human rights for all peoples in order to achieve justice and to restore credibility to the international community through the Security Council’s commitment to implement the international legitimacy by taking all measures against the perpetrators of these crimes.

Ban Ki-Moon UN Crime Congress
Secretary-General of the UN, HE Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General, HE Ban Ki-moon, said:

I am pleased and honoured to address this thirteenth UN Crime Congress – the world’s largest and most diverse gathering of governments, civil society, academia and experts in crime prevention and criminal justice. For 60 years, these congresses have helped shape criminal justice policies and strengthen international cooperation against the global threat of transnational organised crime. I warmly thank our hosts, the Government of Qatar, for welcoming us and hosting this very important meeting here. Around the world, crime is devastating individuals, communities and our nations. Many thousands of people are killed by drug-related violence and terrorism each year. More than 40,000 women are murdered by their intimate partners. Hundreds of thousands of women and young girls are coerced by human traffickers into lives of bonded labor, sexual slavery and immense suffering. Wildlife is also under severe threat. In South Africa last year, more than 1,200 rhinos were slaughtered by poachers. Crime feeds on corruption and obstructs good governance. It undermines institutions and the rule of law. Crime threatens peace and security, hinders development and violates human rights. This year is pivotal for these three pillars of the United Nations. This September, Member States will consider a post-2015 development agenda that can pave the way to a better future for billions of people. Success requires that the new agenda and sustainable development goals reflect the centrality of the rule of law.

Development and human rights depend on legal frameworks that promote equality and on governance that upholds those laws. All societies need fair criminal justice systems, effective, accountable institutions, and access to justice for all. Accountable security services can go a long way toward ending cycles of violence. Strengthening legal rights helps to address inequalities, he pointed out.

According to Ban Ki-moon, there can be no sustainable development without human rights and the rule of law. He said you have come to Doha to share your successes, your challenges and your experience in preventing crime and promoting the rule of law to support sustainable development. International cooperation and coordination are critical, particularly in areas such as combatting transnational organised crime and terrorism. He said:

I encourage every country to ratify and implement the conventions against drugs, crime and corruption, and the international instruments against terrorism, and to support the important and varied work of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. We must also adapt to changing times. Cybercrime has now become a business which exceeds billions of dollars a year in online fraud, identity theft and lost intellectual property. It affects millions of people around the world, as well as businesses and Governments. We must address the growing links between organized crime and terrorism. Like never before, terrorists and criminals around the world are coming together and feeding off each other. They are funding terror through criminal networks and growing rich through the suffering of entire populations. We must take a comprehensive approach to address extremism, trafficking, money laundering, corruption and a range of related issues. There will always be crime and there will always be extremists. But we must work to stop crime and extremism being seen as attractive or necessary options – especially by youth. That is why we are focused on equitable, sustainable development. It is why the UN supports rule of law assistance and security sector reform in peacekeeping and peacebuilding.’

During the opening ceremony, three students who participated in the Doha Youth Forum on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which took place at QNCC from 7 to 9 April 2015 as part of the UN Congress, presented the recommendations of the forum and these recommendations were handed over officially to the Secretary General of the UN during the ceremony.

13th United Nations Congress
Ban Ki-moon and HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani

HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, who is also the president of the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and Ban Ki-moon jointly opened an associated exhibition of the UN Crime Congress. A total of 60 exhibitors are participating in the exhibition which include the Saudi Ministry of Interior, Qatar Ministry of Justice, Qatar Internal Security Force (Lekhwiya), Qatar Lawyer Society, Thailand Institute of Justice, UN Knowledge Centre and a number of legal and human rights organisations and establishments.

In addition, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thanialso launched the Emergency Call Service (Aunek) presented by the Technical Affairs of National Command Centre (NCC) at the Ministry of Interior. This service is aimed at providing assistance to the elderly people, as well as people with special needs and  persons with chronic diseases in emergency situations through the use of a special device equipped with high-tech features. Through this service people who are unable to call the emergency contact number (999) can use this device in which their data can be identified including location by the use of Najm service which is connected with NCC. The Technical Affairs of NCC explained that the Centre is working through two systems. The first one is voice communication system that manages the voice complaints reaches to Operation room through 999. The second one is Unified Geographical System (Najm) which receives the complaints and directs it to the concerned agencies to take action directly. The Najm system has won The best developed system during the Middle East Forum in 2012 for Geographical Data and Excellence award in the geographical data system from Amercian Systems Research Insititute in 2013.