6 May 2004
Western Asia Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Eleventh Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Concludes in Beirut
VIENNA, 6 May (UN Information Service) -- The Western Asia regional preparatory meeting for the Eleventh United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice concluded its work in Beirut, Lebanon, last week. It was followed by two one-day workshops on 1 and 2 May 2004, to provide participants with 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.
The meeting was organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and hosted by the Ministry of Justice of the Government of Lebanon. The regional preparatory meeting was the fourth and final regional preparatory meeting being organized for the world Congress that will take place in Thailand in April 2005.
Delegates from Member States of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia as well as observers from the host country of the Congress, representatives from intergovernmental organizations, United Nations bodies, United Nations-affiliated and regional institutes, and non-governmental organizations 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 Chairman, H.E. Samir Chamma (Lebanon), opened the meeting, calling for a concerted response by the international community to address issues relating to organized crime, which is becoming increasingly transnational due to developments in information technology. He noted that the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, which had entered into force on 29 September 2003, played a crucial role in this regard. He stated that anti-terrorism efforts require an examination of its root causes and stressed the importance of acquiring an in-depth knowledge of the political, economic, social and cultural dimensions of terrorism, noting that there was a need to organize an international conference on the subject, under the auspices of the United Nations, which would also tackle the question of defining terrorism. He also highlighted the importance of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
The Beirut meeting made a variety of recommendations on the five substantive agenda items of the Crime Congress. The items were: 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 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime; corruption: threats and trends in the twenty-first century; economic and financial crimes: challenges to sustainable development; making standards work: fifty years of standard-setting in crime prevention and criminal justice. The meeting also made a variety of recommendations on the six workshops to be held within the framework of the Eleventh Congress.
The Minister of Justice of Lebanon, H.E. Bahige Tabbarah, addressed the closing session of the meeting, welcoming the outcome of the discussions. The Minister stated that Lebanon attached great importance to the ability of the United Nations to address problems of global significance and help with finding appropriate solutions.
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