Statement of the G-77 and China delivered by H.E. Ambassador Reza Najafi, Permanent Representative of the Islamic Republic of Iran during the Twenty-Sixth Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, 22 - 26 May 2017

Mr. Chairman,

1. On behalf of the Group of 77 and China in Vienna, I commend your able stewardship of the 26th session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

2. The Group is pleased to note that the Secretariat has made meticulous preparations for the present session, as in the past.

Mr. Chairman,

3. The Group appreciates the significance of this yearís theme, which provides us all an opportunity to exchange views on how public participation, social policies and education can augment the rule of law as part of comprehensive and integrated crime prevention strategies.

4. The thematic focus of the Commission illuminates the cross-cutting nature of crime prevention and criminal justice, and underlines that rule of law and sustainable development are mutually reinforcing.

5. The Group emphasizes the continuing importance of effective implementation by the States Parties, of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its Protocols, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the three international drug control conventions as well as the international conventions and protocols related to countering terrorism, which reflect the collective commitment of Member States to promote cooperation in combating transnational organized crime, corruption, terrorism and illicit drug related activities. Also, the Group urges all Member States that have not yet done so to consider ratifying or acceding to the aforementioned instruments.

6. In our efforts to counter trafficking in persons, due importance should be given to addressing the prevention aspect, promoting effective law enforcement, and providing assistance to victims, especially women and children as well as to the demand aspect of this problem.

7. The Group remains concerned regarding the issue of violation of the rights of migrants, and urges the international community to ensure that human rights of smuggled migrants, particularly the unaccompanied children and adolescents among them, are respected and that the safety and security of smuggled migrants are granted utmost priority regardless of their immigration status, nationality, gender, ethnicity, age or religion. In this connection, the Group strongly encourages all States Parties to the Protocol against Smuggling of Migrants to avoid making migrants liable to criminal prosecution as stated in Article 5 of the Protocol while ensuring that organized criminal groups are brought to justice.

8. The Group remains concerned about the persistent problem of illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms, their parts, components and ammunition, and emphasizes the need for effective implementation by States Parties, of the Firearms Protocol.

9. The Group appreciates the ongoing efforts by States Parties in implementing the United Nations Convention against Corruption, and in this context also expresses satisfaction at the operationalization of the second cycle of the UNCAC Review Mechanism. The Group looks forward to effective review of the implementation of Chapter II (prevention) and Chapter V (asset recovery) of the Convention.

10. The Group reiterates the necessity to take urgent measures to prevent, prosecute and deter all forms of corruption, as well as the transfer abroad and laundering of assets derived from corrupt activities and to prevent tax havens. In this regard, the Group insists on the need to strengthen international cooperation for their identification, freezing and seizure, as well as to speed up their recovery and return in accordance with Chapter V of the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

11. The Group reiterates that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, remains one of the major challenges, and appreciates the ongoing efforts by Member States to address this complex challenge. The Group remains of the firm view that no country can alone counter this scourge effectively, and thus stresses the need for enhancing international cooperation in this area. Also, the Group reaffirms that terrorism cannot and should not be associated with any religion, civilization, nationality or ethnicity, and reiterates that all efforts to counter it should be in line with international law, in particular the Charter of the United Nations, international human rights law, refugee and humanitarian law.

12. The Group underscores the importance of enhancing efforts to address the challenges posed by emerging forms of transnational organized crime such as trafficking in cultural property and related offences, trafficking in endangered species of wildlife, including flora and fauna as protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, timber and timber products, illegal mining, fisheries related crimes, hazardous waste, as well as poaching.

13. Additionally, the Group expresses its particular concern for the illicit trafficking of cultural property and related offences, and underlines the need to promote international cooperation to combat such crime in a concerted manner, as pointed out by the International Guidelines on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Responses with Respect to Trafficking in Cultural Property. The Group believes that the applicability and usefulness of the Guidelines, as well as the related international legal instruments, could guide Member States in the development and strengthening of their criminal justice policies, strategies, legislation and cooperation mechanisms in the area of protection against trafficking in cultural property and other related offences.

14. The Group expresses its serious concern in regard to the challenge of cybercrime, and appreciates the work of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Expert Group to Conduct a Comprehensive Study of the Problem of Cybercrime. The Group welcomes the outcome of the meeting of the Expert Group held in April 2017, and is of the view that the Expert Group on Cybercrime should continue, under the guidance of the Commission, and that, UNODCís should continue providing technical assistance to prevent and counter cybercrime.

15. The Group expresses its serious concern over any form of ranking of Member States for the purposes of international cooperation in criminal matters, in countering, inter alia, trafficking in persons, terrorism financing, money laundering, trafficking in firearm, migrant smuggling and other forms of organized crime as well as corruption. In this sense, it calls upon all Member States as well as other relevant regional and international organizations to avoid such rankings and unilateral actions and sanctions that might weaken the international cooperation framework and Member States capabilities to fight against such crimes.

16. The Group acknowledges the increasing links between transnational organized crime and other illicit activities, in particular drug related crime and money laundering and, in some cases, terrorism and its financing, and emphasizes the continuing need to address such links as part of our collective efforts aimed at crime prevention and criminal justice.

17. The Group takes note of the ongoing efforts for follow-up on the implementation of the Doha Declaration, and emphasizes the need for UNODC to regularly brief the Vienna-based Permanent Missions on the progress in this regard. The Group also takes notes of the preparations for the 14th Crime Congress scheduled for 2020 in Japan.

18. To conclude, the Group wishes to:

- Emphasize the need to enhance international cooperation, including through exchange of information, experiences, good practices, mutual legal assistance as well as provision of concrete capacity-building and financial assistance, upon request, to prevent and combat transnational organized crime including emerging forms of crimes as well as terrorism in all its forms and manifestations;

- Emphasize also the need to strengthen comprehensive, integrated and inclusive approaches and strategies to counter transnational organized crime as well as to strengthen crime prevention and criminal justice capacities of Member States;

- Call on the UNODC to enhance capacity-building and technical assistance, upon request, to developing countries in accordance with its mandate in the areas of crime, drugs and terrorism prevention;

- Highlight the importance of enhancing also South-South and triangular cooperation in the areas of crime prevention and criminal justice;

- Underline the continuing need for predictable, effective and sustainable resources for UNODC in order for the Office to scale up its capacity-building initiatives in response to the needs of Member States.

Mr. Chairman, I thank you for your attention.

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