UN Mission trains South Sudanese police officers on rights-based community policing
This week a total of 35 South Sudanese police officers in Juba are being trained by the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on how to incorporate a human rights perspective in their daily work.
“This human rights training is paramount. Without it, we will create lots of problems for ourselves,” underlined Jubek area Police Commissioner, General Jackson during the training.
Earlier, the UN Development Programme representative Rowland Cole, Irena Angelova from the peacekeeping mission’s Human Rights Department, and the Deputy Commander of the UN Police, and the Police Commissioner had outlined the objectives and hopes for the five-day-long training, as South Sudanese police officers listened intently, brimming with enthusiasm.
And they have cause to rejoice: they are the first to undertake a training on promoting and protecting human rights, based on the aptly named human rights manual “Maintaining Law and Order and Protecting Human Rights”. This reference literature, launched on 15 February, has been proactively developed by the UN Mission, UN Police and the United Nations Development Programme, in consultation with the South Sudanese National Police Service.
These consultations were highlighted by General Jackson, the Jubek area Police Commissioner.
“I requested that we [the South Sudanese police] had a say in the elaboration of the manual, because that gives us a sense of ownership of the material which will make it easier and more natural for us to embrace it in our work,” General Jackson said before adding:
The Police Commissioner mentioned the need to respect the rights of people in detention as one prime example, and also cautioned against arbitrary arrests.
The Deputy Police Commissioner of the UN Mission, Unaisi Lutu Vumi Waga, emphasized the importance of actually using and operationalizing a rights-based approach to community policing once the training has finished, as such a methodology will contribute to durable peace.
“I would also like to stress that the human rights perspective is equally important when dealing with both victims [of crimes] and suspects,” she said.
Equipped with their new knowledge and skills, these pioneers will then teach their colleagues on a rights-based approach to policing, extending the Training of Trainers programme to all states to guarantee that officers with human rights knowledge are available across the country to train their not-yet illuminated colleagues.
To ensure a lasting paradigm shift when it comes to promoting and protecting human rights among police officers in South Sudan, Ms. Angelova nimbly delivered a robust recommendation:
“We (the UN Mission’s Human Rights Department) want to encourage the Inspector General of the Police to take the necessary steps to incorporate a comprehensive human rights training programme based on the manual into the curriculum of the Police Training Academy,” she said.
The ongoing training addresses a variety of pertinent topics, including problem solving through prevention, crowd control techniques, sexual and gender-based violence, customary law and the proportionate use of force.