Coalition of Faith-Based Organizations at the 14th UN-Congresson on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Kyoto, Japan

The Speech of Dr. Michael Platzer, Co-chair CFBOs, to the Plenary

Session Information

Session Name: Social Justice, Crime Prevention, and the Repair of Social Institutions: The Role of Faith-Based Organizations

Name: International Association for the Advancement of Innovative Approaches to Global Challenges; International Commission of Catholic Prison Chaplain Pastoral Care; Dominicans for Justice and Peace; Universal Peace Foundation; Unitarian Universalist Association; The World Society of Victimology; Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology (University of Vienna); The International Association of Penal Law (AIDP); Laudatio Si Foundation


Affiliation: Non-governmental Organization(NGO)

Subjects the session will cover:
Faith Based/Religion, Prisoners, Restorative Justice

Summary of the Meeting:
The United Nations has embraced the importance of faith-based organizations (FBOs) for the implementation of the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, and the 13th UN Congress’ Doha Declaration. The FBOs have proven to be an important crime prevention actor, in particular in the area of ethics/good governance, social justice, restorative justice/victim assistance, and appropriate punishment/reintegration of offenders. As a follow-up to the consultations held in San Francisco (CA, USA) in conjunction with the 2019 American Society of Criminology meeting, a series of webinars was held in 2020 on these topics. This session will bring together representatives of FBOs with experience in addressing social justice issues as well as providing best practices to repair injustices in societies and in the criminal justice system.


Moderator: Thomas Walsh

Thomas Walsh is Co-Chair of the Coalition of Faith-Based Organizations; Chairman of the Universal Peace Federation; and Chairman of the Sunhak Peace Prize Foundation. With academic training in the field of Religion and Ethics, he earned his Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University. He has been a teacher, author and editor, with specialization in areas of interfaith relations, religious studies, religion and peace, philosophy and social theory. He serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the University of Bridgeport (Connecticut, USA), Vice Chair of the International Council of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organizations, and on the board of directors of The Washington Times. He is Executive Editor of Dialogue and Alliance, a scholarly interfaith journal. He has contributed to and edited more than twenty books related to interfaith, peacebuilding and renewal of the United Nations; among these volumes are Renewing the United Nations and Building a Culture of Peace and The Millennium Declaration of the United Nations: A Response from Civil Society.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu

Mr. Lemahieu was appointed Director of the Division for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs (DPA) of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in December 2013. Before taking up this position in Vienna, he gained 20 years of field experience, serving in various countries challenged by political economies heavily dependent on drug cultivation, including Afghanistan and Myanmar, and in transit regions such as Central Asia and the Caribbean. His first appointment with the United Nations dates back to 1990, as a Junior Professional Officer with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) assigned to the Republic of Korea. Mr. Lemahieu is a licensed jurist with a postgraduate degree in international law.

Munib Younan

Bishop Emeritus, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Jordan and the Holy Land Bishop Dr. Munib Younan was is the former President (2010-2017) of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF), a global communion of Christian churches with 145 member churches in 79 countries representing more than 70 million Christians. In his capacity of president of the LWF the bishop signed with his Holiness Pope Francis I the historical reconciliation between the Catholic and the Lutheran Churches. Also in his tenure as a president of LWF, he Initiated with the UNCHR the document of “Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmations for Faith Leaders”. This document was signed in the General Assembly of Religions for Peace in Vienna 2013 by all attending religious leaders. He was also the president of FMEEC and still provides leadership for the ecumenical Patriarchs and Heads of Local Christian Churches in Jerusalem, as well as for the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land (CRIHL). His term as acting Bishop of the ELCJHL was from December 1998 – January 2018. Bishop Dr. Munib Younan was educated in both Palestine and Finland and he has been active in numerous faith organizations, such as the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC), The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and the Fellowship of the Middle East Evangelical Churches (FMEEC). The bishop is an active member of various ecumenical and interfaith dialogue initiatives in Jerusalem that he helped found. Bishop Younan was granted the 34thNiwano Peace Prize in 2017 for his extensive work in interfaith dialogue. He was also granted the Bridge Builder Award from Georgetown University, USA. These are among the awards he has got.

Alvaro Albacete

Ambassador Albacete is Deputy Secretary General at KAICIID. From February 2014, Ambassador Albacete served KAICIID as special advisor to the Secretary-General for public diplomacy. Since then he has been a leader in developing and implementing KAICIID’s use of interreligious dialogue for peacebuilding in particular in the Central African Republic and Nigeria. Previously, Ambassador Albacete was Ambassador at Large dealing with interreligious and intercultural dialogue for the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has worked for the European Commission in Bosnia-Herzegovina as an advisor in the area of good government for the Presidency of the State and the Ministry of European Integration between 1999 and 2002. He has also worked for the Inter-American Development Bank in Argentina, Bolivia, Panama and Paraguay, and has been a guest professor of the École Nationale d’Administration of France. He was trained in Driving Government Performance by the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Ambassador Albacete has served in diverse positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Spain, including the Division for the United Nations, Director of Parliamentary Affairs, Deputy Director of the Minister’s Cabinet and Ambassador.

 Roberto Carlés

Roberto Manuel Carlés is a lawyer, jurist, politician and an Argentinian diplomat. He is the Ambassador of Argentina to the Italian Republic. He is also a professor at the Faculty of Law at the University of Buenos Aires.

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, PhD is a renowned spiritual leader in India. She is Secretary-General, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance, launched by UNICEF, the first alliance of religious leaders for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. She is also the President of Divine Shakti Foundation, a charitable organization bringing education and empowerment to women and children. Sadhviji is also Director of the world-famous International Yoga Festival. Originally from Los Angeles, and a graduate of Stanford University, Sadhviji has lived at Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh in the Himalayas for 24 years, where she gives spiritual discourses, satsang and meditation, and leads myriad humanitarian programs.

Aftab Ahmad Khokher

H.E. Aftab Ahmad Khokher has served as Ambassador of Pakistan to Austria, Slovakia and the UN in Vienna since October 2020. In his international career, Ambassador Khoker has held numerous high-level positions such as Additional Secretary (Americas), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2018-2020); Ambassador to Lebanon (2015-2018); Consul General in Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia (2013-2015); Joint Secretary (Inter-Parliamentary Relations), and Senate Secretariat (2011-2012); Desk Officer, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (1999-2004); and various diplomatic assignments in Tashkent, Uzbekistan (1995-1999) and Geneva (2004-2010). Ambassador Khoker holds an MBA, a Master of Arts in Economics and a Master of Science in Politics of World Economy.

Michael Platzer

Dr. Michael Platzer is Co-Chair of the Coalition of Faith-based Organizations for Justice. He held many senior positions in the United Nations Secretariat for 34 years, in the Office of the Secretary-General, in Human Rights, Development, Habitat, Centre for Social Development, and Office of Drugs and Crime Dr Platzer studied Theology at Union Theological Seminary and Law at Cornell University. He has taught at several universities and instituted a number of youth organizations dedicated to the study of United Nations. Dr. Platzer has advised the International Commission of Catholic Prison Pastoral Care and worked with foreign prisoners in Austria and the Caribbean. He helped with the integration of Syrian refugees into Austrian society. Dr Platzer has been awarded the Papal Order of Saint Sylvester.

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