Thirty-nine Member States of the United Nations and other entities have joined the Group of Friends of the Nelson Mandela Rules. The purpose of the group is to create awareness and promote the practical application of the United Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules). More specifically the group works towards:
- Keeping the momentum which the adoption of the Nelson Mandela Rules created for prison management and reform by raising awareness of the rules as well as by promoting their practical application worldwide;
- Convening events and expert discussions on priority and/or emerging aspects related to prison management and reform in the course of future sessions of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and facilitating common positions and/or draft resolutions, as appropriate;
- Serving as a main support vehicle for the technical assistance delivered by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime under its Global Programme on Addressing Prison Challenges, including by means of financial, technical and/or political support, as appropriate;
- Facilitating the widest possible involvement of Member States in the yearly celebrations of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July) in order to promote humane conditions of imprisonment and the application of the Nelson Mandela Rules.