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UNODC assists Myanmar to develop a national crime prevention strategy

Troels Vester UNODC Myanmar, UN United Nations

Nay Pyi Taw (Myanmar), 7 October 2016
- Senior government officials from the Republic of the Union of Myanmar - including the Union Minister of Home Affairs and the Chief of Police - and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) gathered in Nay Pyi Taw this week to begin development of the country's first comprehensive national crime prevention strategy. The purpose of the strategy will be to reduce crime and violence across the country while also contributing to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The initiative follows the United Nations General Assembly's recommendation for Member States to adopt a comprehensive and integrated approach to crime prevention based on baseline assessments and data collection and focusing on all sectors of the justice system.

Participants in the two-day workshop represented the spectrum of government ministries and agencies, with discussions focused on understanding crime prevention policies and programmes - including the identification of existing norms and best practices, and familiarization with international standards. Crime trends and risk factors were identified by the Myanmar Police Force to help ensure that the final strategy is evidence-informed and responds to local, national, and regional nuances. Importantly, approaches to integrate and mainstream norms and practices into national policy were also canvassed.

"Putting a comprehensive crime prevention strategy into place is one of the top priorities of the new Government", said Lt. General Kyaw Swe, The Union Minister of Home Affairs. "We are committed to identify and address gaps, and see the development process through."

Participants in the workshop also identified strategic priorities and elements that will be important for the implementation of the planned strategy. These deliberations, along with other input from the workshop, will ultimately form the basis of the crime prevention strategy due to be formulated by UNODC at the end of the year.

"It is vital that the national crime prevention strategy that emerges is comprehensive, balanced, and evidence-based", said Mr. Troels Vester, UNODC Country Manager for Myanmar. "A whole of government approach will be fundamental to ensuring that factors contributing to crime and victimization are targeted. Ultimately, the strategy will seek to build on the existing strengths of communities and of Myanmar's justice system, while responding to current gaps."

"Crime and community safety challenges in Myanmar are complex" said Major General Zaw Win, Chief of the Myanmar Police Force. "I have asked all the key ministries to join in this first inter-agency workshop so they can take advantage of the technical expertise and assistance offered by UNODC, and that we work towards a strategy that addresses the needs of our citizens. This effort is connected to our wider engagement with UNODC on police reform and capacity building ."

The workshop was jointly organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Myanmar Police Force and the UNODC Country Office for Myanmar, and was attended by senior representatives of the Ministry of Border Affairs, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Religious Affairs and Cultures, Ministry of Health and Sport, Ministry of Education and other relevant Ministries, as well as the Union Attorney General's Office, The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and other affiliated organizations.

The Myanmar Police Force (MPF) was represented by the commanders of all state and regional police units and specialized units such as the Criminal Investigation Department the Drug Enforcement Division and the Anti Trafficking in Persons Division.