Submission by Africa Criminal Justice Reform (ACJR) to the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions

ACJR’s submission is in response to the call from the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions (UNSR) to collect information on practices for the investigation, documentation, and prevention of deaths in custody in the criminal justice context. The UNSR’s report aims to raise awareness about deaths in custody globally and to contribute to the protection of the right to life of those deprived of liberty, including practical recommendations and best practices on the effective investigation, documentation, and prevention of custodial deaths. This submission focuses on South Africa and pays particular attention to custody situations under the control of the police and the Department of Correctional Services (DCS). The submission would inform the UNSR report to be presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2023.


It was reported from Guinea Bissau on 20 March 2023 that a new law will prohibit Islamic leaders using children for begging. The President of Guinea-Bissau, Umaro Sissoco Embaló ordered that from Monday, 27 March 2023, child mendicity will be prohibited and that fathers or Koranic teachers of any child caught begging in the streets of the country would be arrested. The President considers shameful to send children in the streets of Bissau and neighbouring countries to raise support for their Koranic teachers. The regular practice perpetrated by some Islamic leaders have created an alarming phenomenon nationally and in the region. As members of the global Campaign to Decriminalise Poverty and Status advocating for the repeal of laws that target people based on poverty, status or for their activism, we are, however, concerned for those children who beg on the streets not sent by their religious teachers, but forced by their economic and social situation. For those children, mendicity may be the only means of subsistence because the state may not have adequate social, economic and other relief measures in place to combat their poverty. The full joint statement can be found here.

Statement by the DJF on the delay in giving effect to the Sonke decision on the independence of the Judicial Inspectorate

In December 2020, the Constitutional Court confirmed the order of constitutional invalidity made by the Western Cape High Court in Sonke Gender Justice NPC v President of the Republic of South Africa and Others regarding certain provisions of the Correctional Services Act dealing with the independence of the Judicial Inspectorate for Correctional Services. The Court gave Parliament two years to rectify these issues; an approach that has been used previously by the Court. The two-year period will lapse on 3 December 2022, which is less than three months into the future. The Detention Justice Forum calls on all relevant state actors to make public the plan for meaningful public participation on the draft Bill and all steps necessary to ensure that the Sonke decision is substantively given effect to.

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