I have the honour to speak on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. I am pleased to convey to you our pleasure in seeing you presiding over the fifteenth Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. The Group is confident of your ability to successfully conduct the activities of this Commission and I wish to assure you of the Group's support in the task ahead.
2. The G-77 and China would like to take this opportunity to congratulate H. E. Antonio Maria Costa upon being reappointed by the Secretary-General as Executive Director of UNODC and Director-General of UNOV for the next four years. The Group believes that, under his wise leadership, UNODC will carry out its mandate more effectively and make more achievements in the fields of drugs control, crime prevention and criminal justice and fighting against terrorism.
3. The G-77 and China attaches the utmost importance to the topic selected for the thematic debate for this year's session of the Commission: "The effectiveness of technical assistance provided to Member States in crime prevention and criminal justice." Due to the increasing transnational nature of many crimes as well as of terrorism, both technical assistance and mutual legal assistance are key tools for their combat. The outcome will have important bearing for the establishment of technical assistance mechanisms, especially for the implementation of the Convention Against Corruption and the Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime.
4. The 15th session of the Commission has important items on its agenda, that I would like to comment on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
5. The G-77 and China welcomes the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Bangkok Declaration, which emanated from the Eleventh United Nations Congress held in Bangkok in April 2005 provided valuable advice and suggestions to the United Nations and the Member States in formulating policies and strategies for crime prevention in different areas of criminal justice systems. The Group hopes that the 15th Session of the Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will come up with appropriate ways and means for the follow-up and the implementation of the Declaration. Therefore the G-77 and China welcomes the document E/CN.15/2006/7 on the Follow-up to the Congress.
6. In addition, the G-77 and China attaches great importance to the commitments made in the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice: Meeting the Challenges of the twenty-first century, and is concerned about the lack of follow-up on the Action Plans for the implementation of the Declaration and stresses the need to strengthen these activities and to allocate adequate resources for it. The Group expresses the hope that the Bangkok Declaration will not follow the same route.
7. In particular, the Group would like to recall that the Vienna Declaration on Crime and Justice and the Bangkok Declaration recognized that comprehensive crime prevention must address the root causes of crime. The Group is convinced that it is imperative that any effective crime prevention strategy should adequately address the root causes of crime including inter-alia injustice, poverty, unemployment, marginalization of vulnerable people and lack of education. In this context, we call upon the international community to assist developing countries in the implementation of their strategies to address the root causes of crime, in accordance with the TOC convention.
8. The G-77 and China welcomes the increasing number of Member States of the Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols and expresses its appreciation to the UNODC for its endeavors to promote the ratification and implementation of the Convention and its protocols.
9. The Convention and its three protocols provide us a legal framework for international cooperation in the fight against transnational organized crime. Their entry into force signifies the collective will of Member States to promote cooperation and combat transnational organized crime more effectively through close and dynamic international cooperation including the adoption of concrete measures for mutual legal assistance, extradition, law-enforcement, technical assistance and training. However, the international community has to make further joint efforts to ensure their effective implementation.
10. The Group of 77 and China attaches the greatest importance to the prevention and control of corruption, including, inter-alia, through effective measures for its detection, investigation and prosecution, as well as through effective international cooperation. The economic and social development of many countries has been greatly compromised by this crime. In this connection, the Group welcomes the entry into force of the United Nations Convention against Corruption on 14 December 2005. The Group also looks forward to the upcoming First Conference of States Parties of the Convention later this year and hopes that substantive follows-up will result from the Conference.
11. The Group is pleased to note that until early March 2006 fifty States have ratified the Convention and 140 have signed it. The Group also noted, however, that most ratifiers are developing countries. In this regard, the Group calls for the ratification by all countries, in particular developed countries, as a reflection of worldwide commitment to eradicate corruption.
12. The Group urges the UNODC and its Member States to pursue technical assistance activities in relation to the implementation of the Convention against Corruption, including assistance in capacity building and in the preparation of related legislations.
13. The Group firmly believes that asset recovery is a fundamental principle of the Convention against Corruption. For that reason, the Group emphasizes the importance of adopting appropriate measures, as contained in the Convention, to facilitate asset recovery through international cooperation. The G-77 and China calls upon all States to extend mutual cooperation to discourage the continuation of transactions and transfers of assets obtained through corruption-related crimes and to act in conformity with Chapter V of the Convention whenever such illicit assets are confiscated.
14. The Group takes this opportunity to request the Secretariat of the UNODC to make adequate preparation for the upcoming First Conference of the Parties, in consultation with all States, in order to ensure the most efficient use of the time allotted to the Conference.
15. The G-77 and China expresses its concern about lack of serious attention being paid to the issue of Trafficking on Human Organs. It calls on Member States to take a firm position, as a means to fight against organized crime involved in this illicit trade, and to prevent the exploitation of poverty and needs of human beings, especially in developing countries.
16. The Group supports the idea of holding an open-ended experts group meeting to further discuss the extent of the problem of trafficking on human organs and possible remedies.
17. The Group of 77 and China strongly condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and deeply emphasizes that enhancing dialogue among civilization, promoting tolerance, preventing the indiscriminate targeting of different religions and cultures and addressing development issues and unresolved conflicts will contribute to international cooperation, which is among the most important elements to combat terrorism.
18. The Group underscores the central role of the United Nations in the fight against terrorism and also strongly believes that any measures taken to combat terrorism shall comply with all obligations of states under international law and should adopt such measures in conformity with the Charter of the United Nations and international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
19. In addition, the Group is strongly convinced that nothing justifies terrorism. The Group feels that any effective measures against terrorism must address its root causes.
20. The Group of 77 and China takes note with satisfaction of the Intergovernmental Expert Group Meeting on Standards and Norms on Crime Prevention, was held on 20th to 22nd March 2006 at Vienna pursuant to ECOSOC Resolution 2004/28, to finalize two key questionnaires on standardising the norms on crime prevention.
21. We wish to emphasize that the questionnaires are only tools to collect information but the key objective is to identify the means and resources for technical assistance in the field of crime prevention. The focus should be on prevention of crime through social development or social crime prevention, locally based crime prevention, situational crime prevention and on social reintegration of criminals. We call upon greater use of knowledge-based crime prevention policies and strategies facilitated by generation and utilisation of relevant information and data and support the sharing of such data among all state governments.
22. Taking into account the importance that States attach to protection and the preservation of cultural heritage, the G-77 and China urges Member States and relevant institutions to promote mechanisms to strengthen cooperation and mutual assistance to fight without truce all crimes that infringe on the cultural heritage of peoples and facilitate the recovery and return of property forming part of such heritage. In this context, G-77 and China urges UNODC to convene the experts group meeting foreseen in paragraph 3 of the Resolution ECOSOC 2004/34, in close consultation with regional groups.
23. On the issue of the functioning of the Commission and its revitalization, the Group of 77 and China is in favor of granting budgetary authority to the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, commensurate with that enjoyed by the Commission on Narcotic Drugs.
24. We are also in favor of adopting the most efficient approach for the work of the Commission and its methodology. For example, the Group feels that a review should be conducted to streamline the number of questionnaires through merging questionnaires requesting similar information and/or distributing the questionnaires on biennial basis.
25. Finally, Mr. Chairman, since there are several resolutions adopted by the Commission each year, the Group requests the Secretariat to provide the Commission with a report containing information on the implementation of those resolutions which have been adopted by the CCPCJ during its past 14 sessions and the actions which have been taken by the Commission for their implementation.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.