Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery, MP will on behalf of the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Advocate Michael Masutha, MP lead delegation to the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to be held in Doha, Qatar, from 12 to 19 April 2015
12 April 2015
The Doha Congress marks the 60th anniversary of the UN Crime Congress that is held every five years. This will be an opportunity for the nations of the world, including South Africa, to collectively consider, under the main theme of the Congress: “How best to integrate crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider UN agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation.”
The Doha Congress also provides the opportunity to assess the progress made since the Twelfth UN Crime Congress held in Salvador, Brazil in April 2010. The Salvador Declaration, at the conclusion of the Twelfth Congress, highlighted the pivotal role of justice in development; emphasized the need for a holistic approach to criminal justice system reform to strengthen the capacity of criminal justice systems; and explored ways of preventing and controlling emerging forms of crime worldwide.
The Doha Congress further takes place against the backdrop of the international community’s continued discussion of the challenges of the post-2015 development agenda and will focus on links between security, justice and the rule of law, and the attainment of a better, more equitable world.
South Africa, as part of the globalized inter-connected world, is addressing the transnational nature of crime as one of the key challenges all countries face. Part and parcel of this is dealing also, amongst others, with the prevention and combating of trafficking of persons, strengthening witness protection and mutual legal assistance, combating organised wildlife crime, and promoting Internet safety through addressing cybercrime.
Given South Africa’s impressive track record on the provision of legal aid and also its successes in the field of witness protection, the Deputy Minister Jeffery has been asked to participate as a panellist in two high level workshops on behalf of Minister Masutha. The first is on the issue of improved access to legal aid in criminal justice systems and the other one on the issue of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants - successes and challenges in criminalization, mutual legal assistance and in the effective protection of witnesses and trafficking victims.
While South Africa is steadily winning the war on crime, we know that South Africans are still exposed to too much crime. Government through the JCPS Cluster, and in conjunction with all other role-players in the criminal justice sector will continue to build a South Africa where our communities are safe and feel safe.
At the same time we will continue to take hands with the UN community to deal with crime prevention and combating in a holistic and cooperative manner. In this regard we acknowledge the 60-year legacy and continuing significant role of the United Nations congresses on crime prevention and criminal justice as the largest and most diverse international forum of policy-makers and practitioners in this field. We further acknowledge that sustainable development and the rule of law are strongly interrelated and mutually reinforcing.
South Africa will therefore continue to interact with the role players assembled at the Congress as we recognise the unique and important contributions of the congresses to law and policy development, the identification of emerging trends and issues in crime prevention and criminal justice, as well as the promotion of the rule of law and the protection of human rights.
The Deputy Minister will present South Africa’s Opening Statement on Sunday, 12 April and will participate in the two panel discussions on Tuesday, 14 April. Copies of his presentations are available.
Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development
Advocate Mthunzi Mhaga
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice and Correctional services
083 641 8141