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From 10 – 12 June 2013, APCOF facilitated an inception meeting aimed at developing capacity in Civilian Police Oversight Investigation skills. Along with South Africa, the Project will work with police oversight practitioners in three east African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda), and two west African countries (Ghana and Nigeria). The meeting was hosted at the Johannesburg office of the South African Human Rights Commission, with project support from the Tri-Lateral Cooperation Fund and GIZ.
The meeting was convened to:
- Identify and agree on key areas for the redevelopment of investigator training manual that was developed and piloted by APCOF, the Tri- Lateral Cooperation Fund, the Kenya National Commission for Human Rights (KNCHR) and the Tanzanian Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance (CHRAGG) in 2010
- Agree on monitoring and evaluation framework for the project;
- Establish a clear baseline for the project; and
- Establish timeframes and agree on roles and responsibilities.
Participants attended the meeting from the Tri-Lateral Cooperation Fund, GIZ, the KNCHR, the Kenyan Independent Police Oversight Authority, CHRAGG, the Ghanaian Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice, and the Ugandan Human Rights Commission, the South African Office of the Inspecting Judge, the South African Human Rights Commission, the South African Department of Treasury, the South African Independent Police Oversight Directorate and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany. The project also involves the participation of the Nigerian Ministry of Police Affairs who were unable to attend the meeting but will participate in the project.
On 25 May 2013, APCOF, in collaboration with the East African Community (EAC) and the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), and with support from the Open Society Foundations, facilitated a meeting to discuss the development of policing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the EAC. The meeting was held in Nairobi, Kenya and attended by APCOF, CHRI, the EAC, the East African Police Chiefs Cooperating Organisation (EAPCCO), representatives from the five East African police services, national human rights institutions, and civil society.
APCOF and CHRI had previously worked with the EAC to articulate Common Standards for Policing in the region. Following the adoption of the Common Standards, the Directorate of Political Affairs at the EAC Secretariat has been developing SOPs to promote implementation of the Common Standards. APCOF and CHRI have been supporting an EAC Police Experts Group to develop the SOPs for Arrest and Detention, Stop and Search, Public Order Policing, and the Use of Force. The consultation in Nairobi on 25 May 2013 was called to map out the key issues and areas to be considered in the further development of SOPs.
The inclusion of civil society these discussions was an important output of the meeting. Despite the challenges presented by this type of regional process, the participation of civil society is both worthwhile to ensuring that human rights issues are reflected in the SOPs, and a valuable opportunity to build relationships with the police and contribute to regional and national policy development.
Key amongst the meeting’s outcomes was agreement by the five police organisations of the EAC (namely, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda) to facilitate at least one national consultation with government, national human rights institutions and civil society on the content of the current SOPs. Those consultations will have particular importance in promoting national dialogue on a number of key aspects of policing
On 20 April 2013, APCOF, in collaboration with the African Commission for Human and Peoples Rights and the SADC Lawyers’ Association, held a Southern African regional workshop to discuss the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Draft Guidelines on the Use and Conditions of Police Custody and Pretrial Detention in Africa (the Guidelines). The meeting was held in Johannesburg, South Africa.