The Commission guides the activities of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. It also reviews United Nations standards and norms in this area, including their use and application by Member States. It takes action through resolutions and decisions.

The Commission does not hold a general debate, but a thematic discussion on a priority issue identified at its previous sessions. The prominent themes for the forthcoming sessions of the Commission have been decided by the Economic and Social Council in advance (decision 2010/243). The twenty-first session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, will be on the theme "Violence against migrants, migrant workers and their families" in Vienna, 23-27 April 2012.

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