VIENNA - The UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice opened its 30th session today, with a focus on protecting the vulnerable through comprehensive justice responses as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exacerbate immediate and long-term crime risks.
A ceremonial opening segment marking the Commission’s 30th anniversary featured a message from Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as statements from the President of the Economic and Social Council, Munir Akram; the Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Ghada Waly; the Minister of Justice of Austria, Alma Zadić; the Minister of Justice of Italy, Marta Cartabia; the Minister of Justice of Japan, Yōko Kamikawa; the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet; and the Chair of the Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Anna Alvazzi del Frate.
In his message, delivered by the UNODC Executive Director, the Secretary-General stressed that the Commission’s work “has taken on new dimensions as the COVID-19 pandemic has left many millions of people more vulnerable to crime, exploitation and violence.”
“At this pivotal moment, the Crime Commission is well placed to advance holistic approaches and reinforce international cooperation,” he said.
Ms. Waly, warning that divergent and unequal recoveries from the pandemic will “leave more people behind and leave them at risk,” said: “Action through this Commission for more inclusive and integrated justice responses is needed to strengthen prevention and the rule of law, and to help break vicious cycles of inequality, corruption, crime, and violence.”
Meeting for the first time since the 14th UN Crime Congress, the Crime Commission will take forward the Kyoto Declaration, adopted at the Congress, to step up shared responses to crime challenges and accelerate progress towards delivering on the 2030 Agenda. The session’s thematic discussion on Tuesday, 18 May, will highlight effective measures to prevent and counter the smuggling of migrants, while protecting the rights of smuggled migrants, particularly women and children, and those of unaccompanied migrant children.
International cooperation in addressing smuggling of migrants is also the focus of a resolution under consideration by the Commission, along with six other resolutions addressing the UN Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons; preventing and combating crimes that affect the environment; reducing reoffending through rehabilitation and reintegration; integrating sport into youth crime prevention and criminal justice strategies; advancing criminal justice system reform amidst the COVID-19 pandemic; and follow up on the 14th Crime Congress.
The 30th session is chaired by Ambassador Alessandro Cortese of Italy and will bring together over 1,100 participants, most taking part online, representing 125 countries. Some 49 NGOs are taking part, and on the sidelines of the session, more than 80 side events will be held in all-virtual mode.
As the main policymaking body of the United Nations addressing crime prevention and criminal justice issues, the CCPCJ plays a critical role in advancing collective efforts against national and transnational crime, while strengthening fair and effective criminal justice institutions.