Campaign submits statement at 79th ACHPR session

In April 2024, the Dullah Omar Institute submitted a written statement on behalf of the Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status in response to the activity report of the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa. The submission focuses on the challenges related to the criminalisation of minor or petty offences at sub-national level.

The submission notes that in several African countries, local law enforcement agencies often enforce subnational laws in an arbitrary, discriminatory and violent way which infringes on fundamental human rights. It is further noted that there is a lack of strong and effective internal and external oversight and monitoring mechanisms to regulate the enforcement practices of subnational law enforcement agencies to protect people against human rights abuses. The submission also highlights the existence in several African states of quasi-state and private security agencies or vigilante groups with delegated powers to prevent crime, maintain public order, police the use of public spaces, and in some cases, effect an arrest. The challenge, however, is that the majority of these security agencies are populated by informally trained personnel and enforcement is conducted in a brutal manner and is often characterized by a lack of due process. In general, the submission recommends that the African Commission and the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions of Detention and Policing in Africa should urgently prioritise the role of subnational governments in their work to promote the decriminalisation of petty offences.

The submission can be found here:

Screenshot 2024-06-10 at 12.39.17
29 April, 2024
Type of Update:
Updates from our Partners
Campaign Activities
Alternatives to Criminalisation
Courts Systems
Human Rights
Petty Offences
Pre-trial Detention
Use of Public Spaces
Campaign Partners:
Africa Criminal Justice Reform

The Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status is a coalition of organisations from across the world that advocate for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism.


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