East Africa Criminal Justice Civil Society Network
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E-newsletter 10: July  2015


In this month's edition:


Welcome to the July 2015 edition of the East Africa Criminal Justice Civil Society Network newsletter. In this edition we give a round-up of criminal justice news and resources from East Africa and worldwide. The e-network promotes best practice, information updates and dialogue on criminal justice reform in the region, including specific initiatives on alternatives to imprisonment, juvenile justice and the UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-custodial Measures for Women Offenders (the Bangkok Rules).

Please send any news items and information that you would like included for the next issue to Diva at FHRI: by 20th August.





East Africa: Exchange visits between East African NGOs working on juvenile justice
On 27 and 28 May 2015 FHRI hosted a two day exchange visit  between NGO’s working in  the area of Juvenile Justice from Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The activity was carried out and funded by the East Africa Criminal Justice Civil  Society e-network. Participants benefited from an open exchange of ideas, knowledge, and best practices in the implementation of initiatives undertaken to promote justice for children and identified the gaps and how to move forward on these.  The activity was co-hosted by Passion for Community (P4C) and the Uganda Children Center (UCC) and was attended by participants from Undugu Society of Kenya and C-Sema Tanzania among others. For more information on the exchange visit contact Diva at FHRI:


Participants attend a session at the FHRI office in Kampala

*** Due to the success of this exchange visit a second exchange opportunity is being planned for NGOs supporting women in the criminal justice system. See below for details of how to apply ***

Global Study on Children Deprived of their Liberty
The planned new UN global study on children in detention is moving forward. On 13 April, Defence for Children International (DCI) organised a side event on the Study at the Doha Crime Congress This follows a number of advocacy events, including at the Human Rights Council in Geneva in March.

South Africa: Children going hungry in South African prisons. Children in juvenile centers are going without food for more than 14 hours on weekends.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe is considering raising the age of criminal responsibility from 7 to 12 years, as the ACERWC had advised




  • Global: On 6 May, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture hosted a webinar during which practitioners and experts from around the world discussed his recent thematic report on children deprived of liberty. The webinar is now available as a podcast




Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners: Introducing the Mandela Rules  On 22 May 2015, at the UN Crime Commission in Vienna, states agreed on a new set of prison standards, a new and updated version of the already well-known Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (SMR). In this podcast, PRI’s policy director Andrea Huber introduces the new revised Rules (to be called the ‘Mandela Rules’) and explains why the Rules needed to be revised and what the changes could mean for prisoners, prison staff and for prison management.

What does the adoption of the ‘Mandela Rules’ mean for prisons and prisoners in Uganda?  
In this blog which Doreen Namyalo Kyazze from FHRI relays how the new Mandela Rules present an opportunity to reform and improve prison policy and practice in Uganda, and highlights some of the challenges facing the Ugandan criminal justice system. Read more here.  

Kenya:  Engaging pro-bono lawyers and peer legal counselors for expanding access to Justice  
Kituo Cha Sheria (Legal Advice Centre) was founded in 1973 by a small group of legal professionals, the organisation works to combat the lack of access to legal representation by providing free education to the most marginalized communities, particularly prison inmates. Kituo Cha Sheria a empowers prisoners to advocate for themselves by providing legal education in Kenyan prisons Read more here

Kenya: Law behind bars(video)
Most people who face criminal charges in Kenya go to court without a lawyer, this leads to a great deal of injustice. This programme meets an impressive group of prisoners who are acting as lawyers on behalf of themselves and their fellow inmates. Mostly by discovering flaws in the original cases, they are managing to get large numbers of convictions overturned at appeal. Watch the video here.

Uganda: Court strips minister of powers to release mentally ill prisoners. The landmark court ruling has stripped Justice Minister of powers to release mentally ill persons.

Kenya: Picking litter, planting ideas: addressing skepticism about community service in Kenya

South Africa: Prison overcrowding due to remand detainees.

South AfricaInterdepartmental issues add to prison overcrowding

Central African Republic: One UN peacekeeper's mission to improve prisons in Central African Republic

Morocco: Morocco penal code reforms spark fresh debate

Morocco: Morocco accused of prison torture in Amnesty report

Tanzania: Thousands receive presidential mercy



  • Global Prison Trends 2015: This report, by PRI, describes key global trends in the use and practice of imprisonment and identifies some of the pressing challenges facing states that wish to organise their penitentiary system in accordance with international norms and standards.



Uganda: Roundtable on the UN Bangkok rules on women offenders and prisoners and launch of report: ‘Who are women prisoners? Survey results from Uganda’
On 9 July, over 30 stakeholders participated in a roundtable to launch of the PRI-FHRI report: ‘Who are women prisoners? Survey results from Uganda’. The roundtable was organised by FHRI in partnership with PRI  and with financial support from the UK Government. The key note address was delivered on behalf of Hon. Justice Lameck Mukasa, Head, Criminal Division of the High Court of Uganda which outlined the importance of the Bangkok Rules for Uganda and some of the issues and discrimination women offenders and prisoners face.  He stated ‘Very little attention has been given to women in prison and their special needs, mainly because they are a minority.’ 
The roundtable was attended by representatives from civil society organisations and the Ugandan government. agreed to undertake capacity development and training for actors in the Justice Law and Order Sector (police, judiciary and prisons) on gender specific issues in reference to the Bangkok rules among other actions.

Representatives at the launch of FHRI and PRI's new report: Who are women prisoners? Survey results from Uganda.
For further information, including FHRI-PRI report ‘Who are women prisoners? Survey results from Uganda’ and the workshop contact Diva at FHRI: 

East Africa: Exchange visits between East African NGOs working on criminal justice issues.
Are you an NGO working to improve the lives of prisoners and women in the criminal justice system in Uganda, Kenya or Tanzania? We would like to invite you to participate in our exchange visits planned for December 2015. The activity will be carried out and funded by the East Africa Criminal Justice Civil Society e-network. The objective of the exchange visit is to enable organisations to improve programme quality and effectiveness by learning from each other. Click here if you would like to participate.
Tanzania: Women Lawyers’ Association (TAWLA) offers free service to over 5 million women
Sierra Leone: Sierra Leone’s Women Behind Bars: A new documentary about Advoc Aid work
Kenya: In March, PRI worked with the Kenyan Probation Service to run a workshop on the Bangkok Rules for probation and prison staff in Kenya. The training covered the typical backgrounds of women offenders, their special needs, and how the Bangkok Rules can be applied in Kenya. All of the participants surveyed at the end of the course said that they would change the way they worked as a result of the training.



Read more about developments and issues affecting women in the criminal justice system in the latest edition of PRI's quarterly e-bulletin  on women in detention and the Bangkok Rules. To sign up email
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