Contra Nocendi International and Contra Nocendi Cameroon have submitted their collective views on the decriminalization of petty offenses in Africa, to the Special Rapporteur on Prisons, Conditions in Detention and Policing in Africa. The views were in response to the Special Rapporteur’s Zero Draft of the Guidelines, which is to be presented to the African Commission for approval. Overall, we were impressed with what we found to be a progressive and courageous stance of the Zero Draft.
Hence, our letter to the Special Rapporteur was generally supportive of the Zero Draft. We praised the recognition of LGBTIQ persons as vulnerable persons that can be marginalized by petty offenses. We further agreed with calls to decriminalize sexual conduct between partners of the same sex, and re-asserted our view that such criminalization is absurd and contrary to international human rights law, and as such our continuing support for SOGIE rights.
Our views expressed support for States to seek alternatives to arrest and detention of children, and that appropriate considerations should be undertaken prior to arrest and detention whenever possible. This includes making sure that the best interest of the child is a primary consideration. We also urged States to recognize that acknowledging and respecting the rights of children in situations of potential arrest and detention, can help combat juvenile recidivism and foster an atmosphere of deeper respect and cooperation between juveniles and law enforcement agencies.
We wish to thank the Special Rapporteur for making the Zero Draft available and the opportunity to express our views, and those of our partners and the people we support in Cameroon and Burundi. Contra Nocendi stands firmly in support of the decriminalization of petty offenses in Africa.