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    19 April 2015

    Closing speech of the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, at the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

    Doha/Vienna, 19 April 2015 (UN Information Service) - I am very pleased to address you at the closing of the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

    The events of the last eight days have set the bar very high for the future, both in terms of substance and organization.

    The congress has provided a solid platform for the international community to recognize the tangible links between the rule of law and sustainable development. We must build on these links, as we set our post-2015 sustainable development agenda. 

    There has also been an enduring theme running through all of the debates, side events, meetings and discussions.

    It was best described by the [UN] Secretary-General in his opening speech, "…crime threatens peace and security, hinders development and violates human rights".

    Powered by this overarching theme, I am also glad to say, ladies and gentlemen, that this crime congress has had many firsts:

    For the first time in the 60-year history of the crime congress, the theme, agenda items, and workshop topics were approved by the General Assembly three years before we met here in Doha.

    For the first time, the UN Secretary-General, the President of ECOSOC, the President of the General Assembly attended a crime congress.

    For the first time, more than 4,000 participants attended the crime congress from 149 countries. We have also witnessed unprecedentedly high levels of participation with significant numbers of Ministers, decision makers, academia, civil society leaders, including well-known leaders, academicians

    Nearly 200 high-level events and ancillary meetings were also held, covering a vast array of topics ranging from the rule of law to smuggling of migrants, and from combatting wildlife crime to violence against women and children.

    For the first time, a Youth Forum was held prior to the Congress. This initiative showed how critical it is for governments to work with the younger generation, and listen attentively to its worries and aspirations.

    The voices and views reflected in the Doha Youth Forum recommendations were an inspiration for the Congress. I am, therefore, glad to say, over the last eight days, we have all managed to respond in kind. 

    And, for the very first time, the outcome document of the Congress, the Doha Declaration, thanks to you Mr. President, was adopted by acclamation at the opening of the Congress.

    I express my warm thanks to Ambassador [Ahmed Hassan Malallah] Al Hammadi and Ambassador [Luis Alfonso] De Alba for their hard work. Without their leadership, we would not have such a robust and forward-looking declaration.

    The Doha Declaration is an empowering political statement aimed at strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice systems. It is founded on fairness, justice and humanity, and driven by the need to be accessible and responsive to the rights of all individuals.

    The Declaration stresses the commitment and political will of Member States on implementing comprehensive crime prevention and criminal justice policies and strategies which promote the rule of law at the national and international levels.

    None of this could have been achieved without the wisdom and farsightedness of the Qatari government. And first and foremost of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar. Qatar, from the beginning of this long journey, has been certain and steadfast about the direction of the congress.

    And I express my warmest personal thanks and congratulations to the President of the Congress, Prime Minister of Qatar, H.E. Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, for his generosity in hosting the congress, but also for the leadership and guidance he has shown through this long process.

    Special recognition and thanks go to H.E. Major General Abdullah Yusuf Al-Maal and his colleagues in Doha, as well as Ambassador Ali Khalfan Al-Mansouri and his colleagues in Vienna for staying the course. 

    I offer warm thanks to all Qatari colleagues, including support staff, interns, and others who worked so hard on behalf of this congress. We have all been impressed by the organization of the magnificent cultural events.

    I congratulate civil society for coming here and adding their voices to the causes of strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice. Your participation in the discussion is essential.

    I thank the Executive Secretary of the Congress, Dimitri Vlassis, as well as all UNODC/UNOV staff for their hard work and dedication.

    The Crime Congress has come at a unique moment when the Rule of Law and Post-2015 Development Agenda are centre stage globally.

    The Doha Declaration highlights how the lack of effective social crime prevention policies and ineffective criminal justice systems allows crime, terrorism and violence to hamper social and economic development.

    We must all work together to stop crime. We cannot allow it to hinder the wider plans for sustainable development.

    I would like to congratulate Japan on its offer to host the 14th Congress in 2020. I am sure that we can look forward to another enriching journey from Qatar to Japan.

    The challenge we all face now is turning this declaration, the historic Doha Declaration, into action. I am encouraged by the determination of our hosts to make Doha the point of departure and look forward to working with them, and other partners, in translating the inspirational words of the declaration into concrete, tangible results.

    In my speech at the High-Level Event, UN Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, I told the story of one girl. Her name is Skye. She was trafficked to India when she was 13.  After escaping back to Nepal, she was able to file a successful legal case against her traffickers.

    She now works for the non-profit organization that helped her to become a survivor. 

    The Doha Declaration was not passed because the UN and the international community have a desire for fine words, I would even say scintillating words and sentences, but it was passed for people like Skye. 

    As you take the journey back to your capitals and to your homes, I call on you, in the name of justice and fairness, and human rights, to turn this powerful document into the action that can help people like Skye and many others.

    There can be no more relevant example of what this congress stands for, and what we confront around the world, than this awful news today of another group of migrants - 700 men, women and children that are feared to have drowned off the coast of Lampedusa. Such tragedies must serve to strengthen our determination to ensure that we implement the Doha Declaration on behalf of the victims of crime, including migrants, and that we track down the smugglers who feed off desperation. And we call on all countries, international organizations, civil society to work together in a spirit of cooperation to end these senseless deaths.

    Once again, thank you very much and have a safe journey. 

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    All archived videos of the UN Crime Congress on UN Web TV are available at:

    For more information go to:

    For further information please contact:
    Martin Nesirky
    Spokesperson for the 13 th UN Crime Congress
    Tel: (+974) 55726047

    Samir Al Darabi
    Deputy Spokesperson for the 13 th UN Crime Congress
    Tel: (+974) 66776718

    Anne Thomas
    Information Officer
    Tel: (+974) 66882624