CHREAA director to attend UN Criminal Justice Congress

Centre for Human Rights Education, Advice and Assistance (CHREAA) executive director Victor Mhango has been invited to partake in a United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice to take part in Doha, Qatar from April 12 to 19 April 2015.

Victor Chagunyuka Mhango, Executive Director.
Victor Chagunyuka Mhango, Executive Director.

Mhango has been invited to the conference by the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) to participate in the upcoming 13th United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice.

The Congress takes place every five years and has the potential to set priorities and steer action around criminal justice issues for the coming five-year period.

For example, the commitment to develop UN Principles and Guidelines on Legal Aid stemmed from the 2005 Congress and the 2010 Congress catalysed work around the UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners.

The Congress brings together thousands of criminal justice experts, from government departments, academic institutions and civil society.

There is a formal programme comprising working items and day-long workshops and a declaration is adopted by the governments at the end of the five days. Alongside this are a series of side events organised by civil society in collaboration with governments.

The theme for the 2015 Congress is ‘Integrating crime prevention and criminal justice into the wider United Nations agenda to address social and economic challenges and to promote the rule of law at the national and international levels, and public participation’.

Following increasing recognition from Member States around the inter-relationship between the rule of law and development, the role of criminal justice systems in the post-2015 development agenda will be prominent in the discussions and recommendations.

Activities and events at the 13th congress

APCOF has a programme of work to promote the implementation of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) Guidelines on the Conditions of Arrest, Police Custody and Pre-Trial Detention in Africa (‘the Luanda Guidelines’), adopted by the ACHPR at its 55th Ordinary Session in Luanda, Angola from 28 April to 12 May 2014.

As part of its implementation strategy, APCOF and its partners, including the Open Society Foundations, will participate in activities as part of the formal programme, and in side events, to:

Increase awareness and visibility of new international and regional standards on criminal justice, including a particular focus on the Luanda Guidelines.

  • Launch a high level discussion on: the implementation of regional standards (such as the Luanda Guidelines); the concrete opportunities to translate new standards into practical improvements; and some of the factors for success identified from previous experience.
  • Secure commitments from states to promote implementation of standards, including through recommendations from the formal workshops.