ASF France Trains Police Officers On Response To Human Rights Violations
Avocats Sans Frontières France (ASF France), through its Promoting the United Nations Convention Against Torture (ProCAT) project, carried out a training for fifteen (15) officers of the Police Complaints Response Unit (PCRU) on response to human rights violations in the FCT.
The ProCAT project is being co-funded by the High Commission of Canada in Nigeria through its Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) and the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture (UNVFVT). Ultimately, the ProCAT project is aimed at ending torture, inhuman degrading treatment or punishment in Nigeria.
The training for officers of the PCRU took place on the 31st January – 1st February, 2023. The 2-day training was aimed at improving the strategies and standard operating procedures of the PCRU with regards to human rights violations in Nigeria. The PCRU was established in November, 2015 to receive complaints from citizens regarding their daily interactions with officers of the Nigeria Police Force while on or off duty. The key role of this unit is to further bridge the gap between police and citizens by ensuring that officers are held accountable for their actions or inactions as provided for in the section 341 of the Police Act.
This training for officers of the PCRU was necessitated by the incessant complaints from Nigerian citizens about the modus operandi of police officers in the country especially with regards to the use of torture in the discharge of their duties.
The training commenced with the Country Director of ASF France in Nigeria, Angela Uzoma-Iwuchukwu giving the welcome address. In her address, she highlighted the need for improvements in the operations of the police especially as it relates to the use of torture in the discharge of their duties and efficient resolution of complaints brought forward. She emphasized that these improvements will further build trust between the Nigerian citizens and the police and ensure a better country with regards to human rights. The opening remarks was delivered by the Canadian High Commissioner to Nigeria, H.E Jamie Christoff. In his remarks, he lauded the training initiative and highlighted the need to continue making such efforts at ensuring human rights in maximally respected in Nigeria, he said “the PCRU is a very important unit in the Police Force, charged summarily with policing the police. We must continue to strengthen our institutions to ensure better results in terms of human rights in Nigeria. Human rights are very important to Canada as a nation, so we support this initiative and look forward to its positive results in Nigeria’. Goodwill messages were also delivered by the representative of the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission.
Over the course of two days, officers were trained on; the role of the police in human rights protection and accountability, international and regional legal framework on torture, inhumane degrading treatment and punishment, Nigerian national legislation against torture i.e., the Anti-torture act (2017), victim sensitive approach to interviewing and complaints response, psychosocial counselling and mental health referral for victims of abuse, effective complaints investigation standards. Officers also participated in practical sessions such as group work on legal texts and role play on interviewing victims. The fifteen (15) officers of the PCRU trained will implement step down trainings for other officers of the PCRU to widen the scope and impact of this intervention.
Avocats Sans Frontieres France remains committed to the promotion of human rights and the rule of law in Nigeria. We will continue to lead efforts in that direction