HERE IS A DETAILED BRIEF ABOUT THE UNITED NATIONS AFRICAN INSTITUTE FOR
THE PREVENTION OF CRIME AND THE TREATMENT OF OFFENDERS (UNAFRI)
A- UNAFRI as an entity of the United Nations system.
UNAFRI is an entity of the United Nations system which presents itself as a satellite body of the United Nations Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at the regional level. This Commission itself is subordinate to the Economic and Social Council of Nations United.
The Commission acts as the principal decision-making body of the United Nations in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. It then works through a network of institutes known as the Institutes of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program (UNCPJP) network. This network includes the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), interregional and regional institutes around the world, as well as specialized centers.
The network was developed to help the international community strengthen cooperation in the crucial area of crime prevention and criminal justice. Its components provide a variety of services, including information exchange, research, training and public education.
The five regional centers of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice are:
(i) The United Nations-affiliated European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control (HEUNI), located in Helsinki, Finland.
(ii) The Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in Asia and the Far East (UNAFEI), located in Tokyo, Japan.
(iii) The African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI), located in Kampala, Uganda.
(iv) The Latin American Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (ILANUD) located in San José, Costa Rica.
(v) The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), located in Turin, Italy.
Other institutes exist all over the world.
UNAFRI was established in April 1989 by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). It became operational in 1990, and is headquartered in Kampala, Uganda.
B- Member States
UNAFRI is open to all member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Of the 54 African countries that are members of the Commission, 28 have adhered to the statutes of the Institute: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Morocco, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
C- UNAFRI Missions
The creation of the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) in 1989 by its founding fathers remains something memorable. Until then, no institution in Africa dealt with crime prevention and criminal justice at the regional level. Today, UNAFRI's expertise is unique on the continent.
The missions of UNAFRI are multiple.
Legal assistance mission to States
Through its legal advisory mission, UNAFRI assists States in developing policies and programs for the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders within the context of overall national development planning. The program also includes a special focus on combating juvenile crime and delinquency and the treatment of juvenile offenders.
The training of trainers constitutes one of the essential activities of UNAFRI. As such, the Institute designs and organizes training programs for different categories of personnel dealing exclusively or partly with criminal justice. These programs are aimed in particular at political decision-makers, administrators, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, police and prison officials, teachers, social service personnel, researchers, etc.
In this framework, special interdisciplinary courses, workshops, seminars, refresher courses, internships, study trips, and conferences are organized in order to strengthen this sector of public service and provide new knowledge and skills.
Study and research mission
Crime prevention and the development of criminal policies are essentially based on studies and research aimed at explaining the criminal phenomenon. In this capacity, UNAFRI is a research center that undertakes studies and research activities focused on policy development, on priority problems in the region. Within the framework of this program, the Institute has several objectives:
collecting information on crime trends and their impact on development and crime prevention and criminal justice policies and programs in the region. The ultimate goal is to provide an empirical evidence base for policy development and decision making.
The creation of a secure framework for the establishment of a database in criminal matters. The main objective here is the promotion, exchange and transfer of knowledge, technical skills and experiences and the dissemination of information to governments, specialists, implementing agents, researchers and organizations dealing with prevention crime and criminal justice.
Mission to promote scientific innovation
As a research center, UNAFRI must be at the forefront of scientific innovation. New methods of preventing emerging crimes must be mastered and taught to law enforcement authorities. In this capacity, the Institute contributes to the promotion of innovations in crime prevention and criminal justice reforms in accordance with United Nations standards and guidelines, drawing on African traditions and policies as well as emerging developments in this field.
UNAFRI is an international institution integrated into the United Nations system. It is part of the family of regional institutes for crime prevention and criminal justice recognized by the United Nations system. Its mission in this context is to promote cooperation between the governments of the region for the development of common policies and the implementation of joint actions on issues of mutual interest, in the field of prevention and fight against crime, including signing of any appropriate legal agreements and practical arrangements, at regional and sub-regional levels. Major cooperation partners include States, the General Secretariat of the African Union, other regional or inter-regional institutes with similar objectives,
D- Organs of UNAFRI
The Institute has the following organs: The Governing Board, the Secretariat, and any other necessary organ that the Conference of Ministers could create for the proper functioning of the Institute.
After the evaluation of the organizational structure of UNAFRI in 2014, the experts proposed that the Conference of Ministers be endowed with precise attributions above the Governing Board in order to play a real role of impetus in terms of search for funding. It was also proposed the creation of the Technical Advisory Committee responsible for studying the draft texts before their submission to the Governing Board.
These proposals have been validated by the Governing Board and deserve to be integrated into the statutes of UNAFRI in order to have a legal existence. In the meantime, the Technical Advisory Committee is already up to the task.
One of his recent actions has been to organize the recruitment of the new Director of UNAFRI. In June 2023, it also held a restricted session in Kampala to examine ways and means to boost the activities of the Institute and increase the collection of state financial contributions.
E- Financing of UNAFRI
The Institute benefits from two main sources of funding: the annual grant from the United Nations General Assembly and annual contributions from Member States. In addition, the Institute can benefit from donations and other support mechanisms from its partners.
The UNAFRI Secretariat has high hopes on the increase of the annual subsidy from the UN General Secretariat in order to better secure the remuneration of professional staff and stabilize the financial health of the Institute.
II- Cooperation mechanisms implemented by UNAFRI
In terms of international cooperation, UNAFRI's platform is very broad and enables it to develop cooperative relationships with States, international organizations and universities. Article XIII of the UNAFRI Statutes refers mainly to cooperation with States, institutions and organizations. Article VII (1-g) of the UNAFRI Statutes goes further and authorizes the Director of the institute to establish and maintain close and collaborative relations with governments, the United Nations and its specialized institutions, institutions, professional associations, individuals and other bodies.
A- Cooperation with States
UNAFRI cooperates with States in particular by offering them legal advice in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice. This most often involves helping States to domesticate international conventions and follow the various UN recommendations in this area.
States can also request UNAFRI's expertise to build the capacity of their law enforcement personnel: police, gendarmerie, judges, prosecutors, etc.
The terms of cooperation differ depending on whether or not the requesting country is a member of UNAFRI.
1- Cooperation with non-UNAFRI member states
The pan-African nature of the Institute enables it to make itself available to all African countries, including those which are not members. It is for this reason that the international conferences organized online by UNAFRI are open to the general public in order to sensitize all stakeholders on the activities of UNAFRI.
According to Article XIII-1 of the Statutes, ‘the Institute shall seek to establish and maintain active cooperation with States which are not Member States but are willing to assist the Institute in achieving its objectives’. Thus this is obvious, not only can non-member African States assist the Institute in achieving its objectives, but they can also call upon it to implement their policies and programs in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice.
When the Institute is called upon to carry out programs in favor of non-member countries, the procedures for implementing these programs are discussed and decided upon by the Institute's Management and the State receiving the services.
2- Cooperation with UNAFRI Member States
Member States of UNAFRI automatically benefit from the services provided by the Institute, particularly in terms of information, awareness-raising and training. Training generally focuses on building the capacity of actors in the criminal justice system. Emphasis is placed on training the trainers in order to obtain the leverage effect.
In principle, UNAFRI organizes two regional workshops per year, one workshop for the French-speaking people and one workshop for the English-speaking people. These workshops can take place at headquarters or in another country chosen by the secretariat.
UNAFRI may also, at the request of a Member State, provide advisory services or organize training sessions for criminal justice personnel. To this end, Article XI (b) of the Statutes invites the Member State concerned to make available to the Institute training and research resources according to the terms and conditions which may be agreed with the competent bodies of the Institute.
As part of the cooperation with Member States, a team from the UNAFRI Secretariat visited Seychelles in June 2022 to assess the performance of this country on the progress made in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16, in particular on the decongestion of prisons, the implementation of the Nelson Mandela Rules on the treatment of prisoners, the prevention of violence against women and children, equal access to righteousness, etc. This mission also made it possible to examine the possibility of organizing a training session on international human rights law and preventive detention, for judicial and prison staff.
B- Cooperation with international organizations
According to Article XIII (2 and 3) of the Statutes:
“The institute works closely with the General Secretariat of the African Union in pursuit of its objectives.
“The Institute maintains close working relations with other regional or inter-regional institutes with similar objectives, with specialized bodies and agencies of the United Nations, universities and non-governmental organizations dealing with questions affecting the prevention of crime and the treatment of offenders”.
Under these provisions, UNAFRI has established cooperative relationships with certain UN agencies and partner institutions of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Program Network Institutions (PNI or Program Network Institutions).
1- Cooperation with the PNI network
The PNI offers opportunities for collaboration with other institutes whose experts promote the sharing of good practices, knowledge and strategic achievements of the program. UNAFRI works closely with UNODC, ILANUD, UNICRI, UNAFEI, RWI and HEUNI.
Since 2021, UNAFRI has been part of the editorial board of the PNI Network Newsletter. This Newsletter publishes information relating to the institutional activities of the members of the network, thus ensuring the visibility of UNAFRI.
On June 16, 2023, the United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI) based in Turin, Italy, asked UNAFRI to be part of a working group of experts to study the impact of new technologies on the rehabilitation of prisoners and the reduction of recidivism. The physical meetings of this working group are scheduled for October/November 2023 in Turin and March 2024 in Tokyo. Other meetings have already been held by videoconference.
In June 2022, a team from the UNAFRI Secretariat visited the Regional Center for Small Arms (RECSA) in Nairobi, Kenya to explore prospects for cooperation in the implementation of joint programs.
On June 21, 2023, UNAFRI held a working meeting via Zoom videoconference with officials of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) of the United States Department of State to examine the prospects for a collaboration in the field of combating the proliferation of small arms which aggravate insecurity on the African continent. The meeting revived the discussion on the project to establish a Regional Center for combating small arms and light weapons at UNAFRI. Discussions are continuing with a view to signing a memorandum of understanding.
2- Cooperation with UN agencies
UNAFRI regularly takes part in major meetings organized by United Nations bodies, including the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and some specialized working groups.
From 22 to 26 May 2023, a team from the UNAFRI Secretariat took part in the 32nd session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice which was held in Vienna (Austria). On this occasion, UNAFRI presented two sub-themes, one within the framework of the NIP working group and the other within the framework of a simultaneous workshop organized by the United Nations Institute for Asia and the Far East (UNAFEI).
From June 12 to 16, 2023, the UNAFRI Secretariat also took part as an observer in the 14th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Prevention of Corruption which was held in Vienna.
C- Cooperation with universities
1- Establishment of a database of experts
As part of the cooperation with universities, the Secretariat launched a call for experts in March 2023 aimed at academics and other legal professionals, with a view to building a database of experts who can be called upon in the context of institutional activities and to constitute the Scientific Committee in charge of evaluating the academic articles to be published in the future Review of UNAFRI. Many experts from French-speaking countries have sent their curriculum vitae (CV) to the Secretariat. The response to this appeal remained timid from experts in English-speaking countries. The Secretariat took advantage of the restricted meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee convened on June 26 and 27, 2023 in Kampala to send the said press release to the members for wide distribution in their respective countries.
2- Cooperation with the University of Birmingham
Cooperation with the University of Birmingham Law School started in 2016 on the Digital Assets Regulation Project. The project experienced an interruption with the Covid-19 pandemic. On 11 July 2023, the University of Birmingham, represented by Dr. Maureen Owor-Mapp, organized a workshop on indigenous approaches to digital asset regulation and artificial intelligence in Africa at Protea Hotel by Marriott Kampala Skyz in collaboration with UNAFRI.
The workshop was intended to enable UNAFRI and the University of Birmingham to plan an international conference in 2024/2025 to assess the progress of the Kampala Declaration of Basic Principles (2017) on distributed ledger technologies, and Fintech policy (2019) that were presented to the Ministry of Finance by the working group of which UNAFRI is a member.
3- Cooperation with the University of North Carolina
On 24 July 2023, a delegation from the Central University of North Carolina in the United States, led by Dr. Harvey L. McMurray, Professor of Criminal Justice in the Department of Criminal Justice and Director-General of the Institute for Homeland Security & Emergency Management, paid a working visit to the UNAFRI Secretariat. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the prospects for cooperation in the area of combating communal violence, radicalization and violent extremism, as well as other topics related to the mandate of UNAFRI. Discussions are continuing with a view to the signing of a memorandum of understanding.
4- Cooperation with the Faculty of Social Sciences of Makerere University in Uganda
On August 03, 2023, the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Makerere University led a delegation from his faculty to UNAFRI with a view to considering avenues of collaboration to work on subjects of mutual interest. After discussions, the two parties agreed to undertake a study on the circulation and illicit use of drugs in schools. The terms of reference have been drawn up and a memorandum of understanding is under consideration to determine the conditions for implementing the study and finding appropriate funding.
III- The strengths of UNAFRI
UNAFRI has undeniable assets that make it a benchmark institute in crime prevention and criminal justice.
A well-stocked documentation center
The UNAFRI documentation center includes about 4000 documentary resources that can facilitate the work of researchers. These books can be consulted online on the Institute's website. The new governance of UNAFRI intends to strengthen this documentary collection by acquiring new works on crime prevention and criminal justice in order to transform this center into a reference research center in Africa.
A 100-seat conference room
A high-speed Internet access via Wi-Fi
The new governance of the Institute has just carried out a complete reconstruction of the UNAFRI Internet network in order to offer users the best conveniences for their activities. The line that had been built for more than twenty years had become defective and no longer allowed it to work well, let alone satisfy the participants in the training sessions. Urgent action was needed to adapt the connection to training facilities through videoconferencing. Indeed, since 16 May 2023, UNAFRI has entered a new progressive phase with the implementation of international conferences via Zoom. This successful experiment must continue with a high-speed Internet connection. With a view to the continuous improvement of the reception infrastructure, it is even planned in the future to build a new, more modern and more spacious classroom in order to take full advantage of the space offered to the Institute by Uganda, the host country.
Sufficiently spacious and unbeatable parking
One of the peculiarities of UNAFRI is to have benefited from the host country of a site located in the heart of Kampala, particularly in Naguru, near the police headquarters. This site has a large green area with trees of all kinds and well-trimmed grass. The car park in a secure perimeter can accommodate up to 200 vehicles. This is an exceptional offer that defies all competition since such facilities are rare in Kampala. Users of the UNAFRI conference room are fully entitled to other facilities such as high-speed Wi-Fi and secure parking.
A 20 KVA power generator
Nothing is more shocking than to suspend or stop a training session or simply work because of a power outage! The new Director of UNAFRI has made continuity of service a priority. By purchasing a 20 KVA power generator, he intended to definitively solve the problems of power failure that were hampering the proper functioning of the service.
A downloadable Newsletter
To publicize its activities worldwide, UNAFRI publishes its Newsletter quarterly. The magazine highlights institutional activities and informs the public about what is happening in African countries in terms of crime prevention and criminal justice. It is distributed free of charge to public authorities and can be freely downloaded online. Now, to strengthen the momentum of perseverance and support the Institute in its activities, States, societies, organizations, institutions and all souls of goodwill can donate to the Institute, by contacting it through one of the references below. As the Newsletter is initially targeted at the ruling elite on the continent, large companies, banks and other important organizations can publish their products and services as additional support.
In view of these numerous advantages, partner institutions and organizations may request the facilities of UNAFRI for the organization of training, workshops, seminars, conferences and other scientific events. The choice is yours!
Visit us to find out about our recent and upcoming activities:
PO Box 10590, Kampala, Uganda
You can support UNAFRI's activities by making a donation and insert your company or organization's advertising in this Newsletter using the contact details provided.
As the window of United Nations Crime Prevention strategies and framework to Africa, the Institute derives its legitimacy for its operations from the needs of Member States in Crime Prevention, particularly as Crime has been noted to be a major impediment to sustained social development.