Spain is the first European country to have implemented the UNODC Line Up Live Up curriculum on life skills through sport and, since 2019 when the project was launched in the city of Santurtzi, in the Basque Country, it has formed part of a comprehensive partnership between local educational, social, and health authorities.
Strengthening valuable life skills among youth, and preventing drug use and engagement in crime, are the key goals of the programme. Recently, the School Council of the Basque Country officially recognized the value of Line Up Live Up in promoting drug use prevention, sport, and seeking to achieve developmental goals in an innovative way.
Shakhnoza Mirzayeva was always an active child: dancing, drawing, knitting - her mother encouraged her a lot. "I dreamed of becoming a doctor," says Shakhnoza. "However, at the age of 10, I had a serious accident and had part of my leg amputated. Somebody told me I would not be able to pass the medical examination to become a doctor. Now I know it is not true, but back then I gave up on my dream." Shakhnoza's rehabilitation took one year. "As soon as I got used to my prosthetic leg, I continued my active lifestyle. I learned to ride a bike again and played with the kids in my neighbourhood."
Much has happened in 2020, and the novel coronavirus pandemic was the main change that caused a major restructuring of social life. Social and political institutions and, of course, the judicial system were forced to swiftly adjust the ways in which they worked, and the life, health and safety of every person became the main criteria and values that guided them. During that whole period, the court system never halted its activities and continued administering justice at a high level while meeting the requirements of reasonable time of proceedings.
While preventing crime is often considered the responsibility of law enforcement, for efforts to succeed a much more comprehensive approach is required. This includes building strong partnerships with a wide diversity of sectors - including education, social, health, youth, civil society and sports - to tackle the root causes of violence and crime and promote positive youth development and wellbeing, with a focus on early prevention, and investing on young people and local communities.
The contribution of the sport sector in the context of holistic crime prevention approaches was explored further during the 30th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ).
The rule of law is arguably the most basic requirement of any civilized society, and an independent judiciary, to which access is available to all citizens, is an essential ingredient of the rule of law. Freedom of expression is also fundamental in a democratic society, in which the courts and the media have vital and complementary institutional roles. Together, they hold power to account, enforce the rights of individuals and shed light on matters of public interest - and they also monitor each other. The media have been described as the watchdogs of democracy, highlighting democratic deficits and demanding accountability from elected officials. And judges have no more important role than to hold the Government to account when it does not adhere to the law and to uphold the rights of individuals. And there is no more vital right than freedom of expression.