13 October 2003

Vienna Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to Hold One-Day Meeting

NGOs Expected to Call for Concrete Action against Human Trafficking

VIENNA 13 October (UN Information Service) -- The 100th meeting of the Vienna Alliance of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will be held today at the Vienna International Centre (VIC).

The session will focus on the follow-up to the thematic discussion of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on human trafficking.  The NGO Alliance is expected to call for a concrete action by Member States on the issue of human trafficking, including the ratification and implementation of the Protocol against Trafficking in Persons. The protocol will enter into force on 25 December 2003.  They will also highlight the special role that NGOs play in this area and ask for intensified cooperation with the NGO community, particularly with reference to the support of trafficking victims. On this special occasion, the NGO Alliance will also pay tribute to the previous chairpersons of the Alliance, who passed away but are still remembered.

The Vienna Alliance of NGOs on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice was established during the early 1980's when the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme was transferred from New York to Vienna. Under the aegis of the alliance, around 30 NGOs (in a consultative status with ECOSOC) provide input to the UN programme on matters of interest for the NGOs, such as criminal reform projects, promotion of human rights, use and application of UN standards in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice, gender issues, and matters related to social defence.

NGO representatives attend the annual sessions of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice on a regular basis and participate actively by preparing oral statements as well as draft resolutions and position papers. For example, during the twelfth session of the Commission, the Alliance prepared papers on trafficking in human beings and on violence against women.  In collaboration with the New York NGO Alliance, the Vienna Alliance has contributed regularly to the UN Congress on Criminal Justice by holding the so-called "ancillary meetings" during which the work of the NGOs was presented, and professional expertise on criminal justice matters was provided.

Since its inception, the Vienna Alliance has laid great emphasis on the elaboration and application of the UN minimum rules for justice administration. The Alliance was strongly involved in the elaboration of some of these standards, such as the "Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials", drafted in 1987. The worldwide network of NGOs has made a significant contribution towards monitoring the implementation of standards.  The NGO community has also contributed significantly to the formulation of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocols addressing trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and fire arms control. The work of the Alliance is strongly supported by the Austrian Ministry of Justice and by the UN Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.

The meeting will take place at the VIC Press Briefing Room, CO3 at 1500 hours today.


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