The members of the 8th International Conference on Human Rights & Prison Reform Held in May 21-25 in Kigali, Rwanda declare:

WHEREAS the Rwanda experience is one of profound restorative justice and reconciliation in response to the genocide of 1994;

WHEREAS the Preamble of the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, identifies the process of restorative justice as reflected in the “virtues of their historical tradition and the values of African civilization”;

WHEREAS mass incarceration has become a global pandemic;


that we affirm the UN declaration of Basic Principles of the use of Restorative Justice in Criminal Matters (2002) and recommend that retributive justice policies be abolished immediately; 

that we recommend that the UN strongly encourage member states to implement the Mandela Rules;

We further recommend that:

(1) Incarceration should only be used as a last resort.

(2) Member states abolish the use of the death penalty and life without parole immediately throughout the world.

 (3) Member states abolish the use of “virtual life without parole” which only considers the crime and not the rehabilitative record of the person during his or her incarceration.

(4) Member States abolish long sentences, especially for young adults.

(5) Member States abolish trying juveniles in adult courts.

(6) Member States abolish the use of incarceration for noncriminal behaviors.

Finally, we strongly recommend that this theme of restorative justice permeate the upcoming Crime Commission scheduled for Kyoto, Japan, in April 2020.

*List of countries participating

Burundi, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Poland, Rwanda, Sweden, Trinidad & Tobago, Uganda, United States of America, Zambia

For more information, contact Charlie Sullivan, president of International C.U.R.E. at

 See below photograph, by Alan Pogue, of the participants: