Prior to UN Crime Congress from 12 April ‘Doha Youth Forum’ opens in Doha

Qatar’s Minister for Youth and Sports H.E Salah bin Ghanim Al Ali inaugurated the ‘Doha Youth Forum on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice’, which is being organized by Qatar Foundation in collaboration with the Preparatory Committee of the 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice today, Tuesday 7, April at Qatar National Convention Centre in Doha, capital of the State of Qatar.

The three days ‘Doha Youth Forum’ which is held prior to 13th UN Crime Congress being held from 12 to 19 April 2015, is a first ever initiative by the government of Qatar targeting the youth in the history of UN Crime Congresses, with the participation of 120 students from 35 nationalities, and is conducted in the same venue of the Crime Congress and the same subjects of the UN Crime congress are discussed by the students. The recommendations of the Forum will be presented during the UN Crime Congress that starts next week.

Among the dignitaries attended the opening ceremony were H.E. Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al Nasr, UN High Representative for Alliance of Civilizations, the UN women goodwill ambassador Her Royal Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand, Maj. Gen. Dr. Abdullah Yusuf Al Mal,

Advisor to H.E the Minister of Interior of Qatar and chairman of the Preparatory Committee for the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, Engineer Saad Al Mohannadi, President of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, Dimitri Vlassis, Chief of UNODC’s Crime Conventions Section and Executive Secretary of the 13th UN Crime Congress, Dr. Ahmad Hassan al Hamadi, Legal Affairs Director at Foreign Ministry and Vice Chairman of the Preparatory Committee for 13th UN Crime Congress along with many officials from UN, Ministry of Interior and Qatar Foundation.

Inaugurating the Forum, H.E Salah bin Ghanim Al Ali, Minister of Youth and Sports stated that the studies and researchers have found that the education, awareness, availability of chances for self-expression and acquiring life skills and professionalism are the major pillars that prevent the youth from crimes and Qatar is highly prepared to nurture the potentials of the youth in order to bring them up as the future leaders. Accordingly, a special ministry was formed for youth and sports in July 2013. “The Doha Youth Forum is a unique initiative and the first of its kind in the history of the UN Crime Congress presented by the state of Qatar to engage youth on issues and challenges that the existing and future society face especially in the fields of education and health”, he added.

Speaking in the inaugural ceremony, the Princess of Thailand Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol said that she considered it as an honor and pleasure to be part of the ‘Doha youth forum on crime prevention and criminal justice’. “The rule of law has a direct link with sustainable development and legal stability provides growth and attracts foreign and domestic investment. We should develop the rule of law in order to prevent corruption and international organized crime” emphasizing on importance of rule of law, she stated. Children are most vulnerable to violence; however violence is not just

physical but can also be physiological like bullying and many forms of negligence, the princess mentioned.

“This forum in Doha is very important as the youth are the future, and should be involved in the justice system from strategies to simple ideas. Education is a fundamental right, as education as well as poverty has a direct link with children violence and juvenile delinquency and it will also prevent the youth from developing”, Princess said

While speaking in the opening session, H.E Nasser bin Abdul Aziz Al Nasr, the UN High Representative for Alliance of Civilizations said that the history had taught us that the youth can lead the change and the Middle East and North Africa region is not aloof of this fact. But the young generation of this region were not given equal and fair opportunities and appropriate conditions to lead the transformations experienced by the region. “The young people have the ability, energy, creativity and values for making creative social change and this needs quality education, health services and suitable jobs according to the capacities of each of them. The opportunity given by Qatar Foundation to the youth is a vital and important initiative”, Al Nasr said.

He also pointed out that the United Nations believes that the young people are not only the leaders of the future, but also the leaders of today, who can prepare for the future and they are those affected by rapidly changing world. At the same time, we depend on them to make the future a safer and stable one.

He added that Alliance of Civilization Dialogues act as a protective method to fulfill the crime prevention & criminal justice. “We aim to have youth taking responsibilities and being innovative resolving the current challenges”, he added.

H.E Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani, Permanent Representative of Qatar to the United Nations, in her speech appreciated Qatar Foundation and the Preparatory Committee for the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice for conducting this Youth Forum which is considered as the unique initiative in the history of UN Congress.

She highlighted that the 13th UN Congress brings much importance as it coincides with the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Congresses on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, where the conference will provide a unique opportunity to the youth to meet with world leaders, politicians, lawyers, academics, intellectuals and non-governmental organizations through which they will be able to take part in discussions, and forward proposals for action according to three main themes; to consolidate the criminal justice system as a central pillar in the structure of the rule of law, to highlight the central role of the criminal justice system in the development agenda beyond 2015, and thirdly to emphasize the need for a comprehensive approach for reforming the criminal justice system to strengthen the capacity of Criminal justice systems in dealing with crime.

She added “Qatar believes that the rule of law is the basis of peace and stability at the national, regional and international levels and an important element for the development and prosperity of nations. Instillation of the culture of respect for the law and mutual responsibility is the only way to achieve the world that we want and this will not be realized without the involvement of youth being the real engine of change towards a better future. The leadership in Qatar sees this forum as a step forward for a stable and secure world under the rule of law. No progress shall be achieved without the contribution of youth in decision making of future policies”. She underscored that a small percentage of offenders are juveniles and youth who are ignorant of the laws and sanctions so that the family has a key role to prevent the youth from deviation.

Panel Discussion:

During the panel discussion held after the opening ceremony, Ms. Lulua Asaad, associate program officer on Crime Prevention at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) explained the importance of the UN congresses on crime prevention and criminal justice and said the Doha crime congress is held commemorating the 60th year of the crime congress and the next session will be held in Japan in 2020.

Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al-Hammadi, Director of the Department of Legal Affairs at the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Vice president of the Preparatory Committee of the 13th UN Crime Congress, Professor David Med-nicoff, Assistant Professor of Public Policy and Director of Accelerated Programs for the Center for Public Policy and Administration and Director of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Mark Richmond, educationalist and social scientist who has occupied a number of senior roles in UNESCO and has particular experience on managing education in conflict and post-disaster situations, Dr. Hassan Al-Sayed, Associate Professor of Law at Qatar University College of Law participated in the panel discussion.

Dr. Ahmed Hassam Al-Hammadi said that Youth should be aware of the positive relationship between development and the reduction of crime. Education and crime prevention go hand and in hand, thus we need to work for improving and promoting education.

“We need to understand the meaning of the rule of law and engage it in different strategies for implementation. Vagueness of the concept of the

rule of law stands in the way of relating it to crime prevention” said Prof. David Mednicoff. He added that Qatar ranks the highest in the rule of law within the Middle East and the 9th crime free area in the world.

Dimitri Vlassis, Chief of Corruption and Economic Crime Branch, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said that Doha Youth Forum is the only forum that brings young people, academics and policymakers together to discuss crime related subjects. He hoped that the recommendations of the Forum will make young people proud of their participation at the Forum.