Side event to the 31st Session of the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. Co-organised by Ghana, Mexico, South Africa, the United States, Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status, International Drug Policy Consortium, International Legal Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Penal Reform International, African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum, Community Advice Offices South Africa, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNODC Justice Section.
Held on 20 May 2022, this event brought together state, UN, and civil society actors to kick-start a year of action to decriminalise poverty and status. Rachel Rossi (US Department of Justice), Judge Motsamai Makume (Legal Aid South Africa and Judge of the High Court of South Africa), Olivier De Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights), Dominique Day (Chair of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent), Anna Giudice (UNODC Justice Section), Nathalia Oliveira (Black Initiative for a New Drug Policy, Brazil) and Dr. Janeille Zorina Matthews (University of the West Indies) described the urgent need for, and ongoing initiatives towards, decriminalisation of poverty and status. There were clear calls for an international meeting of experts, a resolution at the Crime Commission, and international partnerships to support states to address common ways in which poor and marginalised people are criminalised worldwide. The event was available in English, French and Portuguese, and moderated by Jennifer Smith (International Legal Foundation).