Report on the Regional Meeting Poverty is Not a Crime Consultation on Draft Principles to End the Criminalisation of Petty Offences in Africa

Report on the Regional Meeting Poverty is Not a Crime Consultation on Draft Principles to End the Criminalisation of Petty Offences in Africa

Report on the Regional Meeting Poverty is Not a Crime Consultation on Draft Principles to End the Criminalisation of Petty Offences in Africa

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Last Updated: 23-05-2017 12:13

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On the 5th and 6th of December 2016, APCOF and its partners[1] co-facilitated a consultation with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission) on draft principles to promote the declassification and decriminalisation of petty offences in Africa. The consultation was attended by the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa, Hon. Commissioner Med S.K. Kaggwa, Commissioner Jamesina King, Chairperson of the Working Group on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, stakeholders from across Africa including national human rights institutions, civil society organisations, the judiciary, academia, representatives from ministries of justice and police organisations.

The consultation provided these stakeholders with an opportunity to review the draft Principles, and to provide their expert opinion and commentary, prior to its consideration for adoption by the African Commission. During the consultation, presentations were done on research studies on the enforcement of petty offences law, initiatives taken by different countries in addressing the criminalisation of these offences, impact of petty offences on marginalised groups and a discussion on a current High Court of Malawi challenge to petty offences laws. On the first day of the consultation, participants were taken through the draft text of the Principles, and were given an opportunity to provide their expert opinion and commentary on the text. All the input received during the consultation on the draft text was captured and is reflected in the annexures. Some of the comments included citing international law instruments in the preamble, making a link with the sustainable development goals agenda and including women and elderly persons as vulnerable groups.


[1] Partners are the Pan African Lawyers Union, Southern Africa Litigation Centre, Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (Malawi) and the International Commission of Jurists (Kenya Chapter), and the Civil Society Prison Reform Initiative, at the Dullah Omar Institute, University of the Western Cape (South Africa), with funding support from the Open Society Foundations.

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