Challenges Regarding Protection of Vulnerable Groups Side Event during 27th Commission on Crime and Criminal Justice

15 May 2018 - Discussion about countering organized crime threat to stability and development putting vulnerable groups, particularly women and children at risk of abuse.

Organized by CRIMJUST in collaboration with Liaison and Partnership Office of UNODC in Mexico and Regional Office for West and Central Africa, the side event "Countering Organized Crime Recruitment Strategies: Challenges Regarding Protection of Vulnerable Groups" was held during CCPCJ 27th Session.

The objective of the side event was to present best practices engaged in the protection of vulnerable groups to shield unlawful recruitment strategies used by organized criminal networks. 

The holistic approach of the panel provided a clear idea of the situation that mainly, children and women face, particularly, with a focus on the situation in Mexico, West and Central Africa.

Both Mrs. Loide Aryee, Chief Organize Crime and illicit Trafficking Branch and Mr. Tofik Murshudlu, Chief of Implementation Support Section, reiterated the importance of a programme of interregional nature like CRIMJUST, that align policy priorities with the protection of vulnerable groups affected and exploited by organize crime and drugs trafficking.

As Mr. Antonio De Leo, Representative of UNODC LPOMEX stated, by taking a gender perspective it is accurate to assert that criminality and other types of violence affect women and girls in the region in a very peculiar way due to the imbalance in equality to access opportunities of development among women and men.

From West and Central Africa, Mr. Pierre Lapaque, Regional Representative for West and Central Africa, stressed that the needs assessments performed in close collaboration with national authorities have allowed to identify challenges ahead, when tackling the recruitment of vulnerable groups and enhancing protection. A holistic approach, linking law enforcement considerations with the protection of vulnerable groups through the involvement of the civil society. Additional focus has been on prevention strategies such as identifying origin communities of victims and migrants, as well as delivering awareness raising campaigns, organizing caravans with media and public fora, closely associating religious and community leaders.

Moreover, panelist discussed and presented institutional guidelines aiming to reduce the risk for recruitment and victimization. In order to address the challenges, Mireya Barbosa, Chief of the Gender and Training Unit of the National Security Commission of Mexico, suggested that, it is necessary to achieve lawfulness and respect for a dignified life by raising awareness about the important challenges this groups and their families face. Through education we can recover our sense of community and rebuild trust between the governed and the governing.

Thus, by innovating and comprehensively complementing classic responses in support of criminal justice actors, CRIMJUST Programme seeks to include additional contributions to the broader goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Notably, supporting national strategies to help countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals such as Goal 5: gender equality; Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities; Goal 16: peace justice and strong institutions; and Goal 17: partnerships for the goals.

As cooperation remains a key element to address the current challenges, UNODC will continuously strengthen justice mechanisms to promote a culture of peace at all levels to guarantee children and women a life free of violence.

Under the framework of the CRIMJUST Programme, funded by EU Cocaine Route Programme, the UNODC and its partners (INTERPOL and TI) aim to assist Member States to enhance their capacity and integrity of criminal justice institutions to detect, investigate, prosecute and adjudicate illicit cocaine trafficking cases, and to foster cooperation at the interregional level for effective action to tackle drug trafficking and related organized crime.  

For more information:

-  European Union "Cocaine Route Programme"

Liaison and Partnership Office of UNODC in Mexico 

- West and Central Africa