Vienna, 28 September 2023. Why does gender equality and human rights matter in normative and policy responses to transnational organized crime? How can States most effectively mainstream gender equality and human rights perspectives into the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC)? Such issues, among others, were discussed during a high-level UNGA 78 side event dedicated to the launch of the new UNODC Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender and Human Rights in the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime.
The event organized by UNODC’s Global Programme on Implementing the Organized Crime Convention in cooperation with the Governments of Canada and the United Kingdom, saw the attendance of 170 representatives from across the globe, including Member States, international and regional organizations, non-governmental stakeholders such as academia, the private sector and civil society, and the wider public at large.
During the event, UNODC’s Toolkit on Mainstreaming Gender and Human Rights in the Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime was presented including its aims and guiding principles, and its unique features, in particular, the use of case studies and its intersectional approach to gender and human rights mainstreaming.
“The Toolkit addresses prevention of organized crime, protection of victims, witnesses and other effective persons in the interest of pursuing organized criminal groups,” highlighted Ms. Riikka Puttonen, Programme Manager, UNODC Global Programme on Implementing the Organized Crime Convention. “Through taking a gender and human rights sensitive approach, we can actually achieve more efficient and oftentimes also cheaper criminal justice solutions to preventing and combating organized crime,” she added.
Building partnerships and strengthening international cooperation in the context of prevention efforts and to protect the most vulnerable in responses to organized crime is essential to scale up positive change. “We must work together internationally to ensure there is a renewed emphasis on prevention efforts where the most marginalized, and the most at risk from harm and victimization are at the centre of our response and are protected,” highlighted Minister Sarah Dines, UK Minister for Safeguarding in a video statement.
The Toolkit aims to help States parties to UNTOC develop strategies, policies and laws against transnational organized crime that adopt a gender and human rights responsive approach. In this way, all the unique and different experiences of people of all genders, ages, ability and disability who interact with the criminal justice system or are exposed to organized crime are taken into account. In fact, gender and human rights considerations are essential to building more inclusive and just societies where no one is left behind.
“The integration of human rights, gender inclusivity and intersectionality in policy making is a priority for Canada,” stressed Minister Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada in a video statement. “At Canada’s Department of Justice, for example, my officials apply a Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus lens) to all of our work. This helps to ensure that all initiatives are responsive, inclusive and reflective of diverse experiences and realities, in order to more effectively prevent and combat organized crime,” Minister Arif Virani further emphasized.
The Toolkit is currently available in English on the website of the Global Programme on Implementing the Organized Crime Convention.
UNODC wishes to acknowledge Canada and the UK for their generous financial support for the development of the Toolkit and its dissemination.