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 General Session on ‘National Approaches to Public Participation in Strengthening Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice’ Concludes

20/04/2015

 

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The 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that started on last Sunday at Qatar National Convention Center will be wrapped up tomorrow, Sunday, 19/4/2015.

During the high level segment meeting on seventh day of the congress, the delegates discussed the subject ‘National Approaches to Public Participation in Strengthening Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice’.
Speaking in the session, the representative of Qatar Ambassador Al Hammadi said that the concept of security has evolved in the past few years at an accelerated pace, where it has jumped from the traditional concept to a community based concept that focuses on the base of community participation. The International conventions and earlier conferences in the field of crime prevention have stressed on the importance of civil society, especially the involvement of the community has become an essential component in preventing all kinds of crimes.

He said, "Despite the fact that the justice system in the State of Qatar allows each defendant in a criminal offense to be represented by lawyer before the courts and if he is unable to appoint a lawyer, the State bears the lawyer’s expenses, but the Criminal Justice, the police, the judiciary and prison are no longer able alone to achieve the modern security concept as they have themselves proven their inadequacy in combating the crime.

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He also mentioned that the Community Police in the State of Qatar is working keenly on spreading positive awareness about risks of crime among the community members including citizens and expatriates through organizing annual visit and awareness programs for communities and social and sports centers. These programs aim at introducing the rules and regulations of the country and raising the awareness of the public in crime prevention and bad behaviors and spreading security culture. The Community Policing Department has bagged the respect and appreciation of embassies and community heads and this has contributed to raise confidence and creating a kind of understanding, added Ambassador Al Hammadi.

In addition to this, there are other government organizations such as Qatari Association for Protection and Social Rehabilitation and Qatar Association for the Protection of Children and Women, (Aman), Social Rehabilitation Center (Aween) and Qatar Association for Combating Human Trafficking, all of which are working on protection of targeted groups and family violence or those who are victims of that and treating the issues related with violence and abuse, said the representative of Qatar.

The high level event on Agenda item 6 at the 13th Crime Congress was chaired by Mr. Johannes Duhan, from the United Nations Secretariat. Addressing the event he stated that all the states have recognized that public participation, and access to information, judicial and administrative procedures are important to promote sustainable development, adding that the Secretary-General has also pointed out in his statement that justice and advancement of safe and peaceful communities and institutions are the essential elements for achieving sustainable development goals. He pointed out that the Doha Declaration has proved the support of Member States to develop and implement consultative and participatory processes in the promotion of crime prevention and criminal justice, including the role of all sectors of society for more effective preventive efforts.

He added that the sixth item of the agenda gives us an excellent opportunity to conduct a deeper study on the ways in which countries achieved advancement in participatory processes and to determine future action points.

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He said that the worksheets deal with the expanded the role of technology and social networking on enhancing communication with the public, and the way of advancement of policy-making through e-governance systems. He underscored that it is also required to perceive the negative effects resulting from the information and communication technology, which may be used for promoting crime and violence as well.

Adam Thomson, Vice Chairman of the session said that the rapid growth of technology has intensified the participation of the public and it should be turned towards enhancing the efforts in crime prevention and criminal justice. He stated that the mutual participation of public and private sectors have lot of benefits in crime prevention.
Delegates from Thailand, Germany, Japan, Norway, Canada, Algeria, Brazil, China, USA, France, Libya and Sudan shared their views and experiences in this field.

Thailand Representative opined that their country through a number of initiatives has developed a methodological framework of cooperation of key institutions with relevant government bodies, and the establishment of local community justice centers is one of the initiatives implemented by the Ministry of Justice to enable individuals to obtain justice for the local community.

The German representative pointed out that the prosecution of crimes and their perpetrators is related to the sovereignty of nations; however, the success of such investigation depends on the willingness of public to provide information and cooperate with this system.

Norwegian representative said that Norway gives great importance to the role of the media and civil society institutions in crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as preventing extremism and joining extremist organizations. The media continues to play an important role in achieving that purpose, especially in regards of crimes related to children and women, and that has contributed to bring radical change in the Norwegian police movements.

Canadian Representative stated that it is important to strengthen the role of victims in the criminal justice systems as well as the role of civil society in dealing with the whole system through the use of new social media, noting that Canada took always a leadership role with respect to the policies of fight against terrorism and criminal justice through useful proposals and discussions by victims who are directing good support in this field.

Sudanese representative said that the Republic of Sudan has taken a number of measures to expand community participation in the maintenance of security operations and achieve justice, where the measures impressed a number of levels for the judicial level as well. Almost 1060 popular courts play a key role in the field of tribal reconciliation, arbitration and adjudication of local conflicts, as well as reducing the number of criminal cases that find their way into the official state courts, as this court is made up of personalities known for their efficient and reputable moral discipline and are chosen in a democratic way.