Pursuant to various resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, the Organization of African Unity, the Conference of Ministers of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), between 1980 and 1989 and the supportive decisions by the United Nations Congresses on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, the idea of founding the United Nations African Institute for the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders (UNAFRI) was realized.
The Statute for its establishment was adopted in April, 1989 by the Conference of Ministers of ECA. The establishment of UNAFRI with specified statutory objectives arose out of the recognized urgent need to start servicing, on continuous basis the increasing crime prevention and control problem in the African region.
The justification for its establishment remains the need to endeavor to prevent the problem of crime and delinquency from subverting development and gains of development of the countries of Africa. The establishment of UNAFRI was in fact long overdue considering in the first instance that comparable Institutes had been established for Asia and Far-East (UNAFEI) in 1961, Latin America (ILANUD) in 1975, European countries (HEUNI) in 1982, and the effects of their work underline the suitability/appropriateness of the regional approach to problems of crime prevention and criminal justice.
Consequently, UNAFRI is a useful mechanism in the African region for promoting the active cooperation of Governments, academic institutions and experts in the field, in addition to assisting the countries in mobilizing their human and administrative potential, and deploying efforts for harmonious growth with a view to promoting self reliance and sustained development, while responding at the same time, to the crime problem with dynamic programs