Source: (2002) Paper presented at "Dreaming of a New Reality," the Third International Conference on Conferencing, Circles and other Restorative Practices, August 8-10, 2002, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The United Nations (UN) has been examining the subject of restorative justice (RJ) since 1995. A Working Party of NGO’s has been actively involved in raising the profile of RJ in the international community and this group was also instrumental in promoting the need for standards for RJ programs. Based on a document prepared by this Working Group, in April 2000, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice adopted a set of draft basic principles for RJ programs in criminal matters. After receiving the required support for these draft principles from member states and UN insitutes and NGO’s, an experts’ meeting was held in Canada in October 2001 to consider these principles. The meeting was successful in reaching consensus on a set of basic principles and it is expected these principles will be adopted when the UN Commission next meets in April 2002.