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UN Crime Congress Pledges Closer Global Cooperation Against Crime, Terrorism

Delegates to a United Nations congress on globalized crime and terrorism have pledged closer international cooperation. The delegates recognized that such crimes can no longer be fought effectively by nations working alone.

The United Nations Congress on Crime and Criminal Justice concluded Monday with a pledge of cooperation and an "integrated approach" to transnational crime prevention and criminal justice.

A draft declaration said new threats were already emerging in areas of economic and financial crimes, which posed threats to national economies and the international financial system.

Burkhard Dammann, a human trafficking expert with the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime, said countries recognized they were unable to work alone in responding to such threats.

"The Congress has one overriding central theme, and that is we are facing a number of very serious threats worldwide that cannot be dealt with by one single country alone," he said. "They need a coordinated response and they need a response by which all countries take action along the same lines."

More than 130 countries and over 3,000 participants attended the congress, which is held every five years to discuss international cooperation on crime.

Indonesia's Minister for Law and Human Rights, Hamid Awaluddin, said new methods of preventing crime and terrorism had to be found.

"Transnational organized crime has (…) been an increasing global threat [and] cannot be at all under-estimated," he said. "Dealing with this new phenomenon requires an implementation of new approaches."

The closing declaration expressed "great concern" over such globalized crimes as drug trafficking, money laundering, trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants, illegal arms trafficking and terrorism.

Participants acknowledged the lack of a universal definition of terrorism, which is delaying international cooperation on combating the phenomenon. The declaration said agreement on such a definition was "one of the key issues to be resolved."

The congress also heard from non-government groups pressing for prisoner reform and calls for ensuring the maintenance of human rights.