Transnational Crime Threatens Millennium Development Goals says UNODC Chief at Opening of 21 st Session of the Crime Commission

Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice 201224 April 2012 - The 21 st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice opened today with speakers acknowledging that transnational organized crime is one of the 21 st century's key challenges and a threat to sustainable development and the rule of law.

In a message from the President of the General Assembly, the Chef de Cabinet of the President of the General Assembly, Dr. Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, noted that drugs and crime are an impediment to the social and economic development of countries. "When combined, these crimes generate enormous profits every year: not in the millions, not in the billions, but in the trillions of dollars," he said.

These views were supported by the President of the Economic and Social Council, Miloš Koterec, who also spoke about preventing violence against migrants, the theme of a special debate at the Crime Commission: "The critical role played by civic intercultural programmes aimed at promoting community cohesion through combating racism, xenophobia and reducing the exclusion of migrants."

During his own speech to the commission, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that, as the international community moved closer towards 2015 and took stock of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), there was a growing recognition that transnational threats are a major hindrance to their achievement.

Weak and fragile countries were particularly vulnerable to the effects of transnational organized crime he said. These countries, devastated by war or making the transition to democracy, were often preyed upon by crime. "As a result, organized crime flourishes, successes in development are reversed, opportunities for social and economic advancement are lost," said Mr. Fedotov.

To change this situation, Mr. Fedotov said, anti-crime activities had to be integrated into the sustainable development agenda, as well as programmes of action for the rule of law, which formed the foundation for human rights.

He stressed that UNODC's strength derives from its long experience of working with partners and nations on drugs, crime and terrorism. However, Mr. Fedotov also said that the solid foundation for UNODC's work came from the UN Conventions on drugs, crime and corruption. "I call on all Member States to become parties and to implement these conventions," he said.

The 21st Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, chaired by Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand, is being attended by around 800 people, 111 states and 38 NGOs. Its main theme is violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families, but it will also discuss State oversight in civilian private security services, countering maritime piracy, and the treatment of prisoners amongst other issues.

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