Speaking at a workshop of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme Network of Institutes (PNI) this week, Mikael Johansson, adviser on strategic planning and quality assurance at RWI, said that a recent Doha Declaration is the vehicle that will help the network navigate the next five years of collaborative efforts to ensure it does its utmost to achieve fair, effective, humane and accountable criminal justice systems.
The workshop, which was moderated by Rolf Ring, deputy director at RWI, was a follow-up to the Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. It was held during the 24th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.
The event had a forward looking perspective and identified several areas in which the PNI, jointly and individually, could assist member states in implementing the Doha Declaration on Integrating Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice into the wider United Nations agenda to Address Social and Economic Challenges and to Promote the Rule of Law at the National and International Levels, and Public Participation, adopted at the 13th Congress on Crime Prevention and criminal Justice held in Qatar in April 2015.
“In line with what is stated in the Doha Declaration, effective, fair, humane and accountable criminal justice systems and their institutions form a cornerstone in a society based on human rights and the rule of law and effective participation and inclusion of all sectors of society is essential for the development of such systems and institutions,” Mikael Johansson said.
He continued by explaining that for almost 25 years, the promotion of human rights in the field of administration of justice has been a priority and central component of RWI’s work worldwide. He said that the Institute, from its different offices in Lund, Beijing, Amman, Nairobi, Phnom Penh, Istanbul and Jakarta, continues to cooperate with a number of justice sector institutions regarding the implementation of national as well as regional programmes. This work – in line with Doha declaration paragraph 5 (a) – contributes to ensuring the appropriate training of officials entrusted with upholding the rule of law and the protection and fundamental rights and freedoms, as well as with other institution building activities. (More information about these activities.)
Johansson underlined that gender mainstreaming and a strong equality perspective are both essential components in the Institute’s different programmes and that special attention is given to the needs of vulnerable groups in contact with the justice system, including children. He therefore welcomed the Doha Declaration’s emphasis on gender, equality and protection of vulnerable groups, and in particular the emphasis on the Bangkok Rules and the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Criminal Justice System, which both will serve as useful tools in future programming.
After having provided some illustrations of the institute’s current programmes in the field of administration of justice, Johansson concluded by stating that youth is an important target group for RWI. He said that in line with the Doha Declaration’s paragraph 7 (b), the Institute promotes the inclusion of criminal justice and rule of law aspects in domestic education systems by integrating these elements in the academic education programmes in the field of international human rights law and the rule of law that the Institute develops and implements in cooperation with partners in several countries.
He said: “Such an approach contributes to foster future leaders, equipped with the tools necessary to shape societies based on human rights and the rule of law. Over the years we have seen graduates from these programmes rise to senior positions in government, justice sector institutions and international organisations, thus being able to contribute to shape the criminal justice agenda of tomorrow.”
RWI reports annually to the Commission on its activities in support of the international human rights law in general and UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice in particular. For information about the Institutes activities in 2014, see document E/CN.15/2015/10, Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the institutes of the United Nations crime prevention and criminal justice programme network, which forma part of the official documentation at the 24th session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.