UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative has engaged with youth in numerous ways over the past five years, with a variety of methods and tools developed specifically to teach the younger generation to think about rule of law issues. One of the most popular events regularly organized by UNODC and its partners have been the hackathons - or coding challenges - held in several countries around the world, giving students the opportunity to unleash their creativity while thinking about tackling crime.
Also in the realm of technology, E4J created the Justice Accelerators, a six-month programme designed to equip young aspiring techies with the skills to build technology-driven enterprises tackling crime prevention and rule of law issues. The premise of this programme is providing a chance to explore young people's untapped innovative potential, making them ponder real life problems and seek original ways to help face them through technology.
Since its establishment in 1955, the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice has met every five years in different countries around the world. During each Crime Congress, Member States have joined forces to set national and international policies to improve cooperation in this field. The 13th UN Crime Congress, held in Doha in April 2015, took the Crime Congress to a new level. Following the adoption of the Doha Declaration, UNODC launched an ambitious Global Programme generously funded by the State of Qatar, dedicated solely to the promotion of rule of law. In the five years since its inception, the Global Programme has established its solid credentials as a driving force on rule of law matters in the international arena, reaching millions of people around the world and actively supporting Member States in their crime prevention efforts.
Had it not been for the COVID-19 global pandemic, UNODC's headquarters would have been swarming this past week with academics, educators, experts, and representatives from international organizations and multinational corporations for the largest conference ever held under United Nations auspices to discuss the crucial link between education and the rule of law.
Instead, over 2,100 participants from 109 countries gathered virtually, and safely, for the unprecedented Global Dialogue Series launched by UNODC's Education for Justice (E4J) initiative on 1 December, debating the forward-looking perspectives ensuing from the pandemic to reimagine education for peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.
The United Nations has since long recognized a wide array of basic human rights which apply to all humanity; amongst these are the right to be free from discrimination and the right to express cultural identity in all its facets. In 2007, to further address the specific needs of some communities, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, establishing a universal framework of minimum standards for the survival, dignity, and well-being of indigenous peoples of the world.
While much still remains to be done in this context, increased activism about the need to formalize indigenous rights has led a number of countries to an official recognition of different ethnicities within their populations, with their own linguistic and cultural differences.
Not a day passes without stories of organized crime making their way to the front pages of newspapers around the world. Despite copious legislation and strong law enforcement measures in most countries, criminal groups find ways to operate outside the rule of law across borders, causing immense physical, psychological, and financial damage to their victims.
Governments have since long joined efforts in combatting organized crime even as it continues to become more emboldened. With the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC), signed in Palermo, Italy in 2000, they devised an international instrument enabling their collective fight against transnational organized crime.