Kadoma Declaration on Community Service

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The Kadoma Declaration on Community Service and Action Plan were adopted in November 1997 at the International Conference on Community Service Orders in Africa. It was adopted then by the UN Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1998/23 on International cooperation aimed at the reduction of prison overcrowding and the promotion of alternative sentencing, during its 44th plenary meeting on July 28th, 1998.

1. Kadoma Declaration on Community Service

Recalling the 1996 Kampala Declaration on Prison Conditions in Africa, which takes into account the limited effectiveness of imprisonment, especially for those serving short sentences, and the cost of imprisonment to the whole of society,

Noting the growing interest in many countries in measures that replace custodial sentences and the promising developments across the world in this regard,

Noting with appreciation that the importance of the Kampala Declaration was recognized by the Economic and Social Council in its resolution 1997/36 of 21 July 1997 on international cooperation for the improvement of prison conditions, to which the Kampala Declaration was annexed,

Bearing in mind the 1990 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules) 4/ and the 1985 United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), 5/

Considering that, in many countries in Africa, the level of overcrowding is inhuman,

Recalling that the African Charter on Human and Peoplesþ Rights 6/ reaffirms the dignity inherent in a human being and the prohibition of degrading punishment and treatment,

Welcoming the success of the Zimbabwe Community Service scheme and its adoption by the Government of Zimbabwe following a three-year trial period,

Noting with appreciation that other African countries, including francophone and lusophone countries, are interested in introducing community service as a penal sanction in their criminal justice systems,

The participants at the International Conference on Community Service Orders in Africa, held in Kadoma, Zimbabwe, from 24 to 28 November 1997, make the following Declaration:

1. The use of prison should be strictly limited as a measure of last resort. Prisons represent a waste of scarce resources and human potential. The majority of prisoners who occupy them pose no actual threat to society.

2. The overcrowding in our prisons requires positive action through, inter alia, the introduction of community service.

3. Community service is in conformity with African traditions of dealing with offenders and with healing the damage caused by crime within the community. Furthermore, it is a positive and cost-effective measure to be preferred whenever possible to a sentence of imprisonment.

4. Community service should be effectively implemented and supervised and involve a programme of work where the offender is required to carry out a number of hours of voluntary work for the benefit of the community in his or her own time.

5. Governments, donors and civil society organizations are invited to support research, pilot schemes and other initiatives in this important area.

6. Countries that already have community service should take into account lessons learned from elsewhere and review their own schemes accordingly.

7. There should be promotion of community support through sensitization campaigns targeting public opinion; and the development of statistical databases to measure the effectiveness of community service.

8. We encourage those countries that have not yet done so to develop non-custodial sentencing alternatives and to this end we commit ourselves to cooperating with, and coordinating our action through, other national committees on community service, and/or interested groups, in order to better promote the scheme.

9. We adopt the Plan of Action attached hereto.

2. Plan of action for the Kadoma Declaration on Community Service (Appendix)

Further to the Declaration made by participants at the Kadoma Conference on Community Service Orders in Africa, held in Kadoma, Zimbabwe, from 24 to 28 November 1997,

The participants adopt the following Plan of Action:

1. Network

Establish a network of National Committees on Community Service and other interested groups to provide mutual support and encouragement through:

Providing resource persons to assist at seminars in the subregion and elsewhere; Sharing documentation (legislation, guidelines, administrative forms) and ideas; Coordination and support of new projects; Cooperation and assistance in administering the scheme; Assistance in staff training; Exchange visits.

2. Community service directory

Compile a community service directory. To this end, a home page will be established on the Internet informing interested persons of developments in this area; and a book will be produced that includes:

The contact points and addresses of all National Committees on Community Service and those contacts engaged in community service schemes; List of experts and resource persons; Contacts in interested countries; Interested groups and organizations around the world; Donor contacts and government contacts.

The book will be distributed in other languages, including in French and English translations.

3. Newsletter

Issue a newsletter:

To be produced by each National Committee on Community Service at regular intervals and circulated to the network; To include: initiatives undertaken, problems encountered, solutions found, reports on workshops, calendar of events, requests for support (for example, resource persons), statistics and other information; To be disseminated through the Internet or the mail (or both).

4. Research and data-gathering

Set up mechanisms for research and data-gathering:

Research findings and data gathered to be shared through the Newsletter or via the Internet; Research projects identified (for example, on cost-benefit analyses) and funding application supported by the network; Joint research projects on the benefits, problems and effectiveness of community service where the scheme is applied -- undertaken regionally and internationally.

See International Law