The enthusiasm of hundreds of participating students was palpable at the opening ceremony of the first-ever Tashkent International Model United Nations (TIMUN) held in Uzbekistan. Co-organized last week jointly with UNODC's Education for Justice initiative (E4J) and the Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT), this MUN was the first to tackle a CCPCJ (Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice) simulation, following E4J's MUN Resource Guide.
Over 150 students from all over the world joined more than 250 Uzbek students from 15 universities in the country for the event, which WIUT has been organizing regularly for the past six years, seeing its popularity increase and attendance skyrocket from a mere 35 delegates initially.
Last week, the head of UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration, Marco Teixeira, was interviewed by MTV (one of the most prominent regional channels in Lebanon and the Arab world), on its renowned MTV Alive show. He spoke about the Global Programme's mission to promote a culture of lawfulness, through the various activities and resources of its four components. Below are some excerpts from the interview (edited for clarity).
Last weekend, 50 undergraduate students from ten Nigerian universities stayed up through Friday night for an entirely different reason: selected from over 400 applicants, they were planning, designing, and coding in the most recent UNODC-supported Hackathon for Justice, trying to come up with technological ways to make the world a safer place.
Following the success of its last hackathon, hosted by Silicon Valley's famed security firm Symantec, UNODC's Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration has again teamed up with Africa Teen Geeks and, for the first time, with the world's most popular social media platform, Facebook; together, they continued engaging with young people to develop technology-based solutions to global challenges, specifically those affecting the rule of law.
For at least three years, at the global level, crime prevention and criminal justice have been guided in their work by the Doha Declaration, a series of international principles adopted by UN Member States following the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, held precisely in Doha, the capital of Qatar (Asia), in April 2015. In order to implement the Doha Declaration, and with the economic support of the State of Qatar, UNODC launched a Global Programme to help States progress in crime prevention, improvement of criminal justice, measures against corruption and strengthening the rule of law. In this period, Marco Teixeira, head of the Global Programme, and Muriel Jourdan, Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer (at UNODC in Vienna) who works in rehabilitation, came to the country, making from a Bolivian initiative a model experience at the international level.
The assurance of dignity during imprisonment is mandatory, but may not be sufficient to avoid reoffending and another incarceration if, upon release, ex-convicts find themselves in the same circumstances that potentially contributed to their illegal activities in the first place. It is crucial to think ahead and to prepare prisoners for their reintegration into society.
UNODC's espousal of this psychology has taken it to prison facilities around the world, supporting Member States with a tried and tested method: strengthening prisoners' resolve by teaching them vocational skills which they can practice in work schemes during their sentence, and which can help them find work upon their release, contributes significantly to their dignity and self-reliance, their sense of belonging, and the diminished likelihood of their recidivism.