First of all, allow me to express, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, my congratulations to you on your election to direct the proceedings of the 12th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. I would like to extend these congratulations to the other members of the Bureau, and to express the full support of the Group during this session.
Some important items are going to be considered during the next two weeks and the Group would like to comment on them:
1-. Regarding the Thematic discussion on trafficking in human beings, specially women and children, the Group considers that the importance of the subject deserves an in-depth consideration of such matters as the facilitation of the signature and entry into force of the Protocol to the Palermo Convention to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children; prevention; criminalisation; law enforcement and judicial cooperation; protection of victims, specially child victims; right to stay in the receiving countries (redress), and the possible contribution of non governmental organizations to the process.
In this sense it is imperative that new financial resources in support of this purpose, as well as of the global programme against trafficking in human beings, are made available to CICP for providing technical assistance and cooperation, particularly to developing countries.
2-. All this will go in hand with the need to strengthen the CICP in support of the high priority given to technical cooperation and the enhancement of the operational activities of the Centre to assist developing countries, as contemplated in item 4 of the Agenda.
3-. The G-77 attaches great importance to the commitments made in the Vienna Declaration, which seek to address the issue of crime prevention and criminal justice in a comprehensive manner. We take note of the CICP activities towards the implementation of the Action Plans of the Vienna Declaration. However, there is a need to strengthening these activities. In the context of action against all forms of criminal activity, the Group underlines the importance of strengthen mechanisms for enhancing prevention, law enforcement and institutional capacities of States against urban criminality, which is a high priority for many developing countries.
4-. On the item "International cooperation in combating transnational crime" we share the need to urge the accession, ratification and implementation of the Palermo Convention and its Protocols. The entry into force of the convention and the initiation of the activities of the follow-up mechanism will firmly mark the beginning of an effective international system to combat transnational organized crime.
5-. We welcome the General Assembly's decision to strengthen the Terrorism Prevention Branch of the Centre for International Crime Prevention pursuant to the Secretary General's report A/57/152 and fully endorse the substantive role of the TPB as outlined by the Secretary General and ECOSOC resolution 2002/19 on "strengthening international cooperation and technical assistance within the framework of activities of the Centre for International Crime Prevention in preventing and combating terrorism".
We also welcome the initiation of the Global Programme against Terrorism under the aegis of the CICP, inter-alia for the provision of practical assistance to the states for accession, ratification and effective implementation of the international conventions and protocols related to terrorism.
6-. Although the process of negotiating an international convention against corruption is in its finishing steps, the Group is aware of the difficulties for the drafting of a consensual text at the Ad-hoc Committee and has in mind the deadline set by the UNGA for the completion of the works during its next session. In this regard we reiterate the Group´s support for the Chairman of the Ad-hoc Committee and express that the calendar of events for the completion of its work, as defined by the General Assembly in its resolution 57/173, cannot be interpreted as a time/financial constraint in detriment of the quality of the work, and of the need to count with a broad and effective instrument once negotiations are finished. The Group also wants to comment on the quality of the report presented on document E/CN.15/2003/6. We think that it does not contain the elements required for the Commission to evaluate the difficulties regarding the culmination of the negotiations of the Ad-hoc Committee. It is excessively factual and is incomplete in what regards the consideration of the latest session of the Committee (March 2003).
7-. Money-laundering is a thread that runs through the whole fabric of criminal activity. Fighting crime in all its forms entails action against the profits netted through criminal activity, which are employed for strengthening the network of crime. In this context, we call for the strengthening and expansion of the activities of the Centre under the Global Programme against Money-Laundering. The Group also urges the need to further develop and strengthen the international regime against money-laundering under the aegis of the United Nations.
8-. The G77 and China emphatically reiterates once more its energetic condemnation and rejection of kidnapping in all its forms and manifestations. Equally, we demand the guarantee of life and physical integrity of all kidnapped persons and that these be released immediately and unconditionally. In thanking the Secretariat for the presentation of the Report contained in document E/CN.15/2003/7, we encourage the continuity of the efforts to strengthen co-operation in the battle against this calamity and we manifest our satisfaction at the fact that progress in the search for greater efficiency in technical assistance in this field is a primary objective of the Centre in 2003.
9-. Regarding Item 7 of the Agenda and the Report of the Meeting of Experts on the Application of United Nations Standards and Norms in Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Group takes note of such document (E/CN.15/2003/10.Add.1) and coincides with the importance of applying different mechanisms to promote the national application of UN standards and norms. The meeting of experts is an important way of optimising the effective implementation of the ECOSOC mandate on the subject. The Group feels, though, that the process for the convening of the meetings, as well as for the designation of experts, should involve all members of the UN, in particular through consultations with the Regional Groups. While commending the Secretariat for its efforts in organising the thematic discussion and the four sub-theme panels included in item 1 of the Agenda, the Group feels that similar consultations should be undertaken during the intersessional periods regarding the nomination of panellists for the thematic discussion.
10-. And last, on the proposals for the nomination of authorities of the Commission, and in order to make its work more efficient, the Group reiterates its support for the election of the Bureau of the coming session at the end of the present session. This draws from experience of other bodies of ECOSOC and its usefulness has been demonstrated in such organs.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.