Many people are dependent on the informal economy and public spaces for survival. Urban areas often attract large groups of people for street trading, hawking, recycling, begging and other activities because of the availability of greater economic opportunities. Law and policy at national and especially at subnational government level (local level) regulate the livelihood and activities of workers in the informal economy. The contravention of laws is frequently treated as a criminal offence, compromising workers’ livelihoods and often violating their human rights. Also, police harassment and the denial of informal workers due process protections under the rule of law are common. Sweeping and so-called ‘cleanup operations’ often precede high profile events resulting in people living and working on the street (i.e. homeless persons, street vendors, waste pickers, migrants, motorbike operators, etc.) being arrested or relocated to ‘clean the city’ and ‘look presentable’ to international guests.
The challenges facing poor and marginalised people (i.e., lack of access to housing, access to informal trading permits, sanitation issues, selective zoning of certain areas, etc.) are frequently ignored. There is often a failure on the part of authorities to consult the people who are most likely impacted by laws and policies regulating their activities in public spaces. Herein lies the importance of considering “pro-poor” law and policy-making approaches that are balanced, fair, ensure public participation and respect the rights of all people.
In April 2023, Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) launched a series of webinars on sub-national governance and the criminalisation of poverty and status. In June 2023, ACJR, in collaboration with Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO) hereby cordially invites you to the second component of the above series focusing on ‘The Right to Public Spaces & Informal Work: Key Considerations for Law & Policy-Making.’ The webinar will unpack the impact of laws and policies on people working in the informal economy, address rights-based protections afforded to them and highlight key considerations for law and policy-making that protect their needs and interests.
Facilitator: Janelle Mangwanda (ACJR)
- Kristen Petersen (ACJR)
- Pamhidzai H. Bamu (WIEGO)
- Teresa Marchiori (WIEGO)
Following registration, participants will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
ACJR wishes to acknowledge the Open Society Foundations and the Sigrid Rausing Trust for making this webinar possible.