Doha, Qatar - In closing the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Doha on 19 April, His Excellency Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, Prime Minister of Qatar and President of the Congress expressed hope that delegates would return to their countries to implement the pledges they had made in the Declaration. He also called on all Member States to also take with them the recommendations produced by their younger counterparts at the first ever Doha Youth Forum on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held 7-19 April.
Similarly, 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.
"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," he said.
This year's 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, Fedotov 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".
Mr. 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."
By the 13-page Declaration, participants acknowledged that sustainable development and the rule of law were strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing. They reaffirmed their commitment and strong political will in support of effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems and the institutions comprising them.
To those ends, they agreed to a number of specific actions, including the adoption of comprehensive and inclusive national crime prevention and criminal justice policies and programmes; ensuring the right of everyone to a fair trial without undue delay; reviewing and reforming legal aid policies; mainstreaming gender perspective and youth-related concerns into criminal justice efforts; and countering corruption and enhancing transparency in public administration.
The eight-day Congress was attended by around 5,000 participants from 149 countries. Nearly 200 meetings were held covering a wide range of topics. These ranged from the rule of law to smuggling of migrants, and from combatting wildlife crime to violence against women and children.
For the full text of the Doha Declaration, click on http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/CONF.222/L.6
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From Closing Ceremony (picture 1): http://hugin.info/168429/R/1912494/682608.jpg
From Closing Ceremony (picture 2): http://hugin.info/168429/R/1912494/682609.jpg
From Closing Ceremony (picture 3): http://hugin.info/168429/R/1912494/682610.jpg