What does ‘rule of law’ mean to you?

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09 April 2015 – From April 12 to 19, the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice will take place in Doha, Qatar. Themed “Preventing crime to build sustainable development”, the Congress will highlight how criminal activities undermine state authority by fuelling corruption and damaging the legitimate economy.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), says "There has been a growing realization that weak rule of law and lack of good governance pose a major threat to social and economic development the world over, and that they have hindered progress in attaining the Millennium Development Goals."

To combat this, the Congress brings together a wide variety of stakeholders with the goal of adopting a single political declaration. This declaration is to be submitted in May to the next session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

Workshops will focus on e.g. human trafficking, strengthening responses to evolving forms of crime (cybercrime, cultural property trafficking) and national approaches to public participation in strengthening crime prevention.

But how do these topics relate to sustainable development?

It’s a crime: how transnational crime affects sustainable development

Key in the run-up to the Congress is the campaign It’s a crime, displaying how a number of transnational organized crimes have detrimental effects and impact societies' ability to develop in a sustainable way.

For example, human trafficking undermines the rule of law, through bribery and corruption. It also compromises victims’ ability to return to a productive life in their community.

Related to this, smuggled migrants may end up being the victims of human trafficking or face debt-bondage. Having reached their destination, these migrants are less likely to send remittances back home.

Corruption stifles economic growth, undermines the rule of law, and squanders talent and precious resources.

Meanwhile, certain countries' legal loopholes and weak security measures are used by those committing cybercrimes, causing a higher victimization in countries with lower development.

Finally, wildlife and forest crime impacts people and their livelihoods. This undermines the efforts of rural communities and indigenous peoples to manage their natural resources in a sustainable way.

In tackling these issues, the UN Crime Congress seeks your contribution to raising awareness!

What does ‘rule of law’ mean to you?

“There is no peace without development, no development without peace, and there is no lasting peace or sustainable development without respect for human rights and the rule of law,” declares United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who will speak at the Congress.

How do you define the rule of law?

The UN Crime Congress wants to know, so post a short video clip or a photo explaining what the rule of law means to you on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #myruleoflaw.

Alternatively, you can also send your post to crimecongress[at]unvienna.org if you want your contribution to be uploaded to the official Crime Congress platforms.

To discover more, follow the event-specific Facebook and Twitter pages.