Remarks at the closing of the 24th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
22 May 2015
Ladies and gentlemen,
My congratulations on successfully concluding the 24th session of the Commission.
It was a productive week, with many important resolutions and decisions adopted by you.
I welcome, in particular, the resolution on the follow up to the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, endorsing the Doha Declaration.
UNODC is looking forward to working with Member States to help implement the commitments made in Doha, to promote a culture of lawfulness and ensure "holistic and comprehensive approaches to countering crime, violence, corruption and terrorism in all their forms and manifestations".
You have also endorsed the Mandela Rules, the revised Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners.
Named after the late President of South Africa to honour his great legacy, the Mandela Rules represent the culmination of five years of extensive consultations, which UNODC has been honoured to support.
Your endorsement is an important step in promoting and safeguarding the humane treatment of prisoners and in enhancing the work and value of prison staff.
UNODC stands ready to support you in the practical application of the Mandela Rules and in promoting related penal reform efforts.
This session of the Commission has also agreed a resolution to take action against the gender-related killing of women and girls, reflecting a political commitment to place the issue high on the international agenda.
It encourages States to step up the response to violence against women and girls before it escalates. UNODC is ready to provide assistance in strengthening the investigation, prosecution and punishment of such crimes.
Furthermore, I welcome the adoption of a new resolution against human trafficking. UNODC remains committed to assisting Member States to effectively implement the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons as well as the General Assembly Global Plan of Action.
This session has recognized the ongoing and emerging threats posed by terrorism, including the flow of foreign terrorist fighters, terrorist financing, links between terrorism and transnational organized crime, and radicalization that leads to terrorism, as well as kidnapping for ransom and destruction of cultural heritage.
You have called on UNODC to continue its important work supporting Member States in preventing and countering terrorism.
Just yesterday, IS terrorists in Syria were reported to have seized the ancient city of Palmyra, an alarming development that comes at terrible cost in human life, and threatens a UNESCO site that is an invaluable part of our common human heritage.
There are indications, addressed recently by the Security Council, that the control of archaeological sites and the destruction of cultural property is being used to finance and support actions of terrorist groups through the trafficking of artefacts.
A year ago, this Commission agreed a resolution to establish International Guidelines for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses to Trafficking in Cultural Property, which were then adopted by the GA.
Through a new resolution addressing trafficking in cultural property, this Commission has demonstrated its resolve to take further steps to stop this crime.
This resolve, this commitment to cooperation and shared responsibility to confront this and other challenges, are needed now more than ever.
The Commission addresses some of the most daunting problems that face our societies today.
The migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, the Andaman Sea and elsewhere continues to unfold, and the lives of vulnerable women, men and children remain at risk.
One year ago, you agreed a resolution on migrant smuggling, the first to be adopted by this Commission, calling on States and UNODC to promote international cooperation to prevent and combat this growing crime.
I urge the international community to follow through.
UNODC stands ready, as ever, to support you, and we rely on you to help us accomplish this and other tasks entrusted to us by providing the necessary financial support.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The magnitude of the problems we face is such that it is sometimes hard to imagine how any effort can be enough to confront them.
But to quote Nelson Mandela, "It always seems impossible until it is done."
We must keep working together, until it is done.
In closing, I would like to commend the Chair and the Bureau for their efforts, and to thank my colleagues from the Secretariat and all sections who have supported Member States in these important deliberations.
Thank you, and I wish you a safe trip home.