Crime Congress Opens, UN Secretary-General says we must remake world in the image of justice and equality

12 April 2015 - At an official opening event for the 13th Crime Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Doha today, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed there could be no development without human rights or the rule of law.

"Our goal," Ban said, "is for the world to speak and to say with one clear voice, 'today was a better day than yesterday, and tomorrow will be better than today.'"

Noting crime's impact on development, the UN Secretary-General said that if the international community could remake the world in the image of justice and equality, "we will have been part of an extraordinary achievement for billions of people".

The 13th Crime Congress is taking place at the Qatari National Conference Centre in Doha from 12 to 19 April, and is hosted by the Government of Qatar. The Doha Declaration was adopted.

Other speakers at the opening included the Prime Minister of Qatar and Minister of the Interior, Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, the President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Martin Sajdik, and UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Khalifa Al Thani, also attended.

The President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, said crime affects the ability of millions of people to realize a life of prosperity and dignity and called governance, including rule of law, an essential ingredient for sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development: "We should exert all efforts to create peaceful, just and prosperous societies by strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems, norms and standards, while combating the threats that undermine them, in particular transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking and corruption."

The President of ECOSOC, Martin Sajdik, speaking of the global efforts against crime on behalf of sustainable development, said: "These are not just worthy causes, they are fundamental to us as human beings and as custodians of this planet."

Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of Qatar who was elected President of the Thirteenth Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, said that his country's hosting of the conference comes out of its sense of responsibility about the importance of criminal justice and the establishment of safe national communities, an international society governed by the rule of law and the principles of freedom and liberty.

The President of the Congress went on: "This congress comes at a time when we witness growing crime in all its forms and the presence of conflict, tension and lack of security around the world, all this has led to rising waves of violence terrorism and corruption."

In his remarks, Yury Fedotov said: "We can work together to advance justice and uphold human dignity, and confront the criminals who undermine the rule of law and sustainable development, and who deny and deprive women, men and children of their hopes and opportunities.''

For sixty years, the Congresses have been at the forefront of shaping policies, setting standards and strengthening international cooperation in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice.

The Congress is the largest and most diverse gathering of policymakers and practitioners in the crime prevention and criminal justice field. It is a global forum for ministers and diplomats, as well individual experts from academia, representatives of intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, specialized agencies and other United Nations entities, and the media. Around 5,000 participants are attending.

On the side lines of the congress, some 200 high-profile side events will be held by inter-governmental organizations and civil society. Topics range from maritime crime, smuggling of migrants and terrorism to violence against children, wildlife and forest crime, and many other topics related to crime prevention and criminal justice.

Further information at:

13th UN Crime Congress, Doha 2015

UN Secretary General's remarks at the Congress opening

UNODC Executive Director's remarks at the Congress opening

Video of Mr Fedotov's remarks

UNODC's work on crime prevention and criminal justice