Turin, June 2015. The new Director of UNICRI, Ms. Cindy J. Smith, recently appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, entered on duty today at the UNICRI HQs on the UN Campus of Turin. Dr. Smith brings a wealth of experience in the field of criminology and justice issues, policy making, strategic planning and education. She has the unique combination of extensive experience in conducting action oriented research, education, and developing and implementing programs and policies.
UNICRI is as an autonomous institution established by the Economic and Social Council Resolution urging an expanded United Nations activity in crime prevention and criminal justice. Its mission is to formulate and implement improved policies in the field of crime prevention and justice. In line with its mandate, UNICRI acts to advance understanding of crime-related problems; identify appropriate strategies, policies and instruments; foster just and efficient criminal justice systems; support the respect of international instruments and standards; and facilitate international law enforcement and judicial cooperation.
UNICRI is known for its holistic, dynamic and innovative approach in action-oriented analysis and technical cooperation. The Institute works in specialized niches and selected fields of crime, justice, security governance and counter-terrorism, providing added value to crime prevention, the advancement of justice, the enhancement of human rights and societies development. It also serves as a platform for consultation and cooperation, acting as an honest broker in bringing together different partners such as Member States, local governments, research institutions, international organizations, private entities and civil society at large.
During her first meeting at UNICRI, Ms. Cindy Smith stated that she will work to enhance and make more visible UNICRI’s achievements, and expand the wide potential of the Institute. “UNICRI helps in addressing the many challenges the international community is facing. It assists governments and civil society to build resilience, advance dialogue and consensus, and improve capacities to address emerging threats. UNICRI will support the fulfilment of the Post-2015 Agenda, and in particular help in promoting peaceful, inclusive societies and access to justice. We will assist in building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. We are here to make the difference and to remember our responsibility to protect,” she said.
“Behind crimes there are oppressed human beings whose rights are blatantly violated. Victims are not faceless and they are not just statistics. I will put victims at the forefront of UNICRI’s agenda.” She said that UNICRI will contribute to enhance legal frameworks and victims’ protection programmes, and to implement assistance programmes for the most vulnerable segments of society, including women, children and at-risk youth.
“Exactly one year ago, today, a bomb killed many civilians on a football field in Mubi, Nigeria. In our daily work we have to remember victims, including those who are smuggled and trafficked while trying to escape conflicts and abuses.” Ms. Smith recalled that over 1,800 migrants have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea since the beginning of 2015. The new Director of UNICRI reiterated that the ideals of justice and human rights must not be only on paper, but must be generated and strengthened for people and by people, to have a real impact on society.
“The United Nations Charter, which is our mission, starts with We the people, we have to remember victims, especially the many forgotten. If we are not able to stop violence, any kind of violence, we all are responsible.”