Criminal justice systems

UNODC seeks to improve regional criminal justice systems through the establishment of international standards and norms and the enhancement of police capacities for crime prevention.

The United Nations assists States with establishing and maintaining the rule of law on the basis of equality, with particular attention to gender equality and the rights and vulnerabilities specific to children. Some Southeast Asian countries lack laws for criminalizing violence against women, while children are sometimes also treated similarly to adults under the law. The region also suffers from a lack of mutual legal assistance (MLA) capacity and networks, obstructing efforts to combat transnational organized crime.  Prison management systems vary significantly from country to country, and it is unclear if some are operating in line with international standards or commitments.

UNODC's support for the development of criminal justice systems in the region has had three main elements. Firstly, on-going support is being provided for the development of regional cooperation mechanisms, particularly with respect to MLA and asset recovery. Secondly, UNODC continues to advocate for the adoption and implementation of UN standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice throughout the region. Thirdly, UNODC has been working with regional partners and the Governments of Thailand, Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam to help them combat child sex abuse in the sub-region, particularly in travel and tourism.

By improving and strengthening criminal justice systems in Southeast Asia, UNODC is contributing to an environment that promotes and advances justice and stability.