23 April 2004
Latin American and Caribbean Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Concludes
VIENNA, 23 April (UN Information Service) -- The Latin American and Caribbean regional preparatory meeting for the Eleventh Crime Congress concluded its work in San José, Costa Rica on 21 April 2004. The meeting was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in cooperation with the Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD), and hosted by the Government of Costa Rica. The meeting was the third of four regional preparatory meetings being organized for the world Congress that will take place in Thailand in April 2005.
Over 130 experts from Member States and Associate Members of the Economic Commission for Latin American and the Caribbean, as well as observers from other Member States, representatives of intergovernmental organizations, United Nations bodies, United Nations-affiliated and regional institutes, and Non-Governmental Organizations attended the meeting. They met to discuss, from the regional perspective, the issues to be considered at the Congress in order to highlight special problems and concerns, as well as successful experiences and promising approaches deserving wider application.
The Congress has five substantive items on its agenda: effective measures to combat transnational organized crime; international cooperation against terrorism and links between terrorism and other criminal activities in the context of the work of the UNODC; corruption: threats and trends in the twenty-first century; and financial crimes: challenges to sustainable development; and making standards work: fifty years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice.
The Minister of Justice of Costa Rica, H.E. Patricia Vega Herrera, opened the meeting, calling for the utmost attention to be given to tackling transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption. She noted that terrorism was a global problem that undermined the political and democratic stability of States, and that terrorists used fear to achieve their totalitarian objectives, striking with total disregard at the weakest and most vulnerable victims. She underlined the importance of more effective international cooperation against transnational crime, and welcomed the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and two of its Protocols, as well as the adoption of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
On Effective measures to combat transnational organized crime the meeting recommended that all States in Latin America and the Caribbean participate actively in the upcoming Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, to be held in June this year.
In stressing that States continue efforts to implement the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, the San José meeting recommended that specific protection and assistance be provided for persons applying for refugee status, and that thorough analysis of individual cases involving victims of trafficking should precede the repatriation of those persons to their countries of origin. The meeting also recognized that kidnapping was one of the most serious and profitable forms of organized crime, often committed with the objective of funding organized crime and terrorist activities, and strongly recommended that urgent measures be devised to combat it.
The meeting also discussed the other themes of the upcoming Congress, and made a variety of recommendations on the six workshops to be held within the framework of the Eleventh Congress. The topics of the workshops include: enhancing international law enforcement cooperation, including extradition measures; enhancing criminal justice reform, including restorative justice; strategies and best practices for crime prevention, in particular in relation to urban crime and youth at risk; measures to combat terrorism, with reference to the relevant international conventions and protocols; measures to combat economic crime, including money-laundering; and, measures to combat computer-related crime.
A delegation from Thailand, the host country of the Eleventh UN Crime Congress (Bangkok, 18-25 April 2005), attended the Latin American and Caribbean meeting, and made a video presentation on the arrangements being put in place for the Congress.
The Latin American and Caribbean regional preparatory meeting was followed by a two-day seminar, which concludes on 23 April 2004, to provide participants the opportunity to discuss the implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols, as well as the promotion of the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
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