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Regional Validation Workshop for Security Forces Training Managers

The Director General of the National Police, the Minister of the Population, Advancement of Women and Child Protection, the Minister of State, the Interior and Public Security – Opening of the workshop

In November 2009, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (OHCHR), an initial brainstorming workshop was held in Ouagadougou. It brought together the IBCR, representatives from non-governmental organisations, such Francopol and the International Organisation of La Francophonie, as well as representatives from some 10 police and gendarmerie schools in French-speaking Africa. The goal of the meeting was to raise participants’ awareness on children’s rights in general, and more specifically, on the application of the principle of the best interests of the child in police practice. The discussions held at this workshop revealed certain shortcomings among police and gendarmerie forces in their application of child protection standards, as well as a lack of consistent child rights training in educational institutions. Thus there was an urgent need to remedy this problem by working toward the development of a common strategy.

In response to the enthusiasm generated by this first workshop, the initiative was replicated the following year in Cotonou, and then in Dakar in September 2011 (link to the Report on the Expert Workshop in Dakar). In November 2011, the city of Niamey in Niger hosted the third regional workshop on child rights training for law enforcement officers. On this occasion, approximately 60 representatives of police and gendarmerie schools from 15 French-speaking West and Central African countries, as well as Haiti, met under the auspices of the International Bureau for Children’s Rights, the UNICEF office in Niger, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, and the Republic of Niger's Minister of the Interior, Public Security, Decentralisation and Religious Affairs.

Goals :

The workshop aimed to provide updates on the status of security forces training on children’s rights in each country represented at the meeting. The representatives of the various schools were therefore asked to give a 10-minute presentation on how children’s rights have been included in their training curricula.
The meeting led to the adoption by consensus of six core child rights competencies to be taught to all police and gendarmes. Each of the competencies was then described in detail. Participants were asked to discuss a 40-hour (5-day) training programme that includes these core competencies.

Finally, at the meeting, the various delegations in attendance were able to develop or refine national action plans, which identified the steps that must be followed to implement at least one mandatory basic course taught to all police and gendarmes at their training institutions (link to the other Niger fact sheet). In early 2012, six of the action plans prepared were implemented under the organisational leadership of the IBCR in partnership with UNICEF, Save the Children Sweden and the International Organisation of La Francophonie. The goal was to help six of the most advanced countries develop initiatives to get their schools to offer courses on child protection using the competency-based approach defined during the workshop.

The following six core competencies for security forces working with children were approved at the Niamey workshop

  • Knowledge, promotion, and implementation of children’s rights
  • Knowledge and application of the rules of ethics and professional conduct
  • Knowledge of children
  • Interaction and communication with children, their families and communities
  • Collaboration with all formal and informal stakeholders towards a coordinated intervention
  • Efficient use of working tools adapted to children
  • Intervention locations : Niamey
  • Project duration: October 31 to November 4, 2011
  • Partners :
    • The Minister of the Interior, Public Security, Decentralisation and Religious Affairs of the Republic of Niger, UNICEF Niger, the International Organisation of La Francophonie, Save the Children Sweden, Terre des Hommes Mauritania and 11 other UNICEF country offices and the UNICEF West and Central Africa Regional Office
  • Highlights:
    • Approximately 60 representatives of police and gendarmerie schools were brought together for the occasion
    • 15 African delegations (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Guinea, Haiti, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Chad and Togo).
  • Fields of activity and expertise :
    • Capacity building
    • Advocacy and institutional support
    • Children and the justice system

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