The 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, which took please in Doha, Qatar from 12 to 19 April 2015 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) has concluded.
In the eight-day Congress, more than 110 ministers including prime ministers, ministers of interior, foreign affairs and justice, public prosecutors and attorney generals and 4,000 delegates from 149 countries attended. Nearly 200 meetings were held covering a wide range of topics, ranging from the rule of law to smuggling of migrants, and from combatting wildlife crime to violence against women and children.
Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar and President of the 13th UN Crime Congress, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, announced the closure of the Congress by approving the ‘Doha Declaration’ on the integration of crime prevention and criminal justice in to the broader work of the UN agenda to address social and economic challenges and strengthen the rule of law at the national and international levels and public participation.
Executive Director of the UNODC, Yur Fedotov; Executive Secretary of the 13th Crime Congress, Dimitri Vlassis; and Secretary of the Congress, Jo Dedeyne Amann, attended the closing session.
Delivering the closing remarks, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani said that the UN Crime Congress Doha 2015 helped a lot in the exchange of information and experiences for the world that would add to fulfill states’ efforts for crime prevention and criminal justice in order to realise the sustainable development. This congress attained tremendous achievements in calling for the implementation of ‘Doha Declaration’ and the recommendations of the 13th UN Crime congress.
HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani urged everyone to follow the recommendations of the Youth Forum which highlighted the proposal of involving young people in all crime prevention programmes and plans and the proposal to establish a global youth council, for the consideration of not only the crime prevention but for all local, national, regional and international levels to serve the community and humanity as a whole forming a unity like UN organisation for youth.
The Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, said that the Doha Declaration, which was accomplished through the long months of painstaking negotiations in Vienna shared commitment and strong political will to uphold the rule of law and the prevention crime in all its forms and manifestations, and developed a forward-looking and pragmatic approach, such as a quantum leap in the international community’s efforts to prevent crime and criminal justice. He said:
We have agreed in the Doha Declaration on the programmes and plans at the local, national, regional and international levels to implement our commitments in the Declaration during the next five years and to establish fair and humane systems of criminal justice and unify the joint international effort towards existing and future challenges, including the question of the relationship between the rule of law and sustainable development.’
HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani added that the congress was full of rare joint international efforts, whereas politicians, senior legal experts, academics and representatives of governmental and non-governmental organisations, most of the UN specialised agencies participated with deliberations and debates and exchanged views and experiences to mobilise public opinion and make recommendations to fight crime and build a fair and equitable justice systems.
According to HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, during the UN Crime Congress Doha 2015, the State of Qatar launched a regional fund for the education and training of displaced and refugee children and young people. This initiative is part of the State’s commitment to the integration of economic, social and cultural dimensions in crime prevention policies. He pointed out Qatar chose displaced people and refugees because they are victims of conflict and they are more exposed to crime and extremism than others ‘if you do not reach out to them.’
HE Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani hopes that this initiative will be an incentive for other countries to take similar initiatives to integrate economic, social and cultural dimensions in crime prevention policies and to speed up the elimination of ignorance and backwardness, poverty and unemployment, which are the kegs of crime and terrorism and all forms of extremism and violence.
While delivering the closing remarks, the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Yury Fedotov, said that the event had set a very high bar for the future, and that the key task now was to turn the Congress’s Declaration into action.
The ‘Doha Declaration’ stresses the commitment and political will of Member States to implement comprehensive crime prevention and criminal justice strategies. These policies will work to promote the rule of law nationally and internationally. The Declaration is an empowering political statement aimed at strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems. It is founded on fairness, justice and humanity, and driven by the need to be accessible and responsive to the rights of all individuals, stated the chief of UNODC. He said:
This Congress has provided a solid platform for the international community to recognize the tangible links between the rule of law and sustainable development. We must build on those links as we set our sustainable development agenda for the next 15 years.’
Fedotov noted the congress was the first to have the UN Secretary General, the President of the General Assembly and the President of the Economic and Social Council in attendance. It was also the first, in the 60-year history of crime congresses, to adopt its agenda early, to hold a dynamic youth forum and to pass the congress’s declaration on the congress’s first day.
None of this could have been achieved, he said, without the ‘wisdom and farsightedness of the Qatari government who have, from the beginning of this long journey, been certain and steadfast about the direction of the congress.’
Fedotov ended his speech with a call to action. He said:
As you take the journey back to your capitals and to your homes, I call on you, in the name of justice and fairness, and human rights, to turn this powerful document into the action that can help people…everywhere.’