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Democratic policing: The African and South Asia Context

AAAJD > Democratic policing: The African and South Asia Context

     

    Democratic policing: The African and South Asia Context (May-September 2022)

    The Afro-Asian Association for Justice Development (AAAJD) will convene conferences to deliberate and contribute to democratic policing in Africa and South Asia. The discussion comes at a particularly important time as police, civil society and the oversight community debate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID 19) on policing.
    Despite existing normative frameworks of human rights and democratic policing, police brutality, extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, increased sexual and gender-based violations, forced expropriation, evictions and destruction of houses, excessive use of force in protests, and picketing especially in Africa continue and in efforts to manage Covid 19 have become further complicated.
    Covid 19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March 2020. The international health body called on states to take measures to address the spread of the virus. The first significant response was to apply ‘lockdown’ measures, which included restricting rights regarding freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the freedom of peaceful assembly. Police officers and security forces were deployed to the streets and major public areas to ensure lockdown measures, becoming the frontline risk managers. However, in enforcing lockdown declarations, global human rights organizations reported gross abuse of human rights, use of unnecessary force, and misconduct around the world.

    This reliance in many instances on a policing response fed into existing divides between socio economic classes and between the police and communities. Rights violation, opaque procedures, increased criminalization weakened systems of oversight and an exacerbation of inequality in how procedures to slow the spread of transmission were enforced, were more reminiscent of regime policing. In other instances, the police in addition to enforcement measures were given welfare functions to perform. They were tasked with distribution of food, medicine, organizing mobility of vulnerable migrants and performing the death rites of Covid patients- which were responsibilities outside the policing mandate.

    The challenge lies across the system. Evidently, from their actions during the pandemic, police were ill-prepared, ill-equipped, and inadequately trained to respond and assist in a public health crisis requiring the enforcement of new laws and new roles

    The Conference will be conducted virtually through a series of webinars. Experts from academia, civil society actors, state agencies, will examine democratic policing in Africa, evaluating threats and challenges, identifying gaps in legislative and policy frameworks that weaken the security sector, and suggesting plausible recommendations to strengthen the security sector in the region. Inputs from South Asia will provide a comparative perspective to analyze and explore democratic policing reform. Discussions will revolve around the following themes:

    Sub Theme 1: Pandemic and Police Accountability: Issues, Gaps, And Challenges

    This webinar explores what institutional or policy frameworks are better suited to support a police response to a pandemic or similar complex public emergency? Discussions planned under this sub-theme include:

    a) Reflecting on police response to the pandemic.

    b) Reducing the detention burden – The need to arrest

    c) Planning for the Future; a Public Health approach

    d) Preparing, equipping and supporting police for the future.

    Lead speakers:

    1. Chris Gitari- Justice Advisor at the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, South Sudan.
    2. Dr Akshat Mehta, Associate Professor, University Dean and Head School of Internal Security, Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU), India
    3. Abdirahman Malim Gossar, Project and Research Officer, APCOF, South Africa.
    4. Professor Karl A. Robert, Professor of Policing and Criminal Justice, Western Sydney University, Australia, Senior Research Associate Centre for the Future of Knowledge, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Adjunct Professor of Pacific Policing, University of the South Pacific, Fiji et al.

     

    Date: 11th May 2022

    Time: 10:30 am West Africa time(WAT); 11:30 am South Africa; 12:30 East Africa time(EAT); 3 pm Indian standard time(IST); 3:30 pm Bangladesh

    Hashtags: #democraticpolicing

    Register to participate

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    Sub Theme 2: Police Accountability and Democratic Governance
    With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic gravely resulting in public health and socioeconomic crises in countries across the globe, governments around the world sought to put in place various kinds of multifaceted rapid responses and actions to safeguard the dire situation. These range from efforts to contain the spread of the virus; adopt emergency powers to address the crisis and maintain public safety as well as address food and livelihood insecurity as a result of the stoppage of economic activities and disruption of food supplies.

    Reflecting on the outcomes of police response in the pandemic and the impact on citizens’ rights as stated above, the webinar seeks to:

    a) assess the protection of individual citizens’ rights against public welfare in the enforcement of present governance and institutional frameworks. Within this, some of the barriers to attaining a balance and the role of police and police accountability in the attainment will be examined.

    b) carefully deliberate key learnings to shape future police responses from a rights-based approach in the policing of emergency and crisis situations. The deliberations will be based on the premise that the promotion and protection of human rights is one of the key functions of the police.

    Lead speakers:

    1. Prof Isaac Mbachu, Department of Political Science and Defence Studies, Nigeria Defence Academy, Kaduna State, Nigeria.
    2. Prof Arvind Tiwari, Dean- School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance Chairperson – Centre for Police Studies and Public Security, School of Law, Rights and Constitutional Governance, TISS India.
    3. Themba Masuku, Programme Manager, APCOF, South Africa.
    4. David Bruce, Independent Senior Researcher on Crime and Criminal Justice , South Africa

     

    Date: 15th June 2022

    Time: 10:30 am West Africa time(WAT); 11:30 am South Africa; 12:30 East Africa time(EAT); 3 pm Indian standard time(IST); 3:30 pm Bangladesh

    Hashtags: #democraticpolicing

    Register to participate

    Follow us on Twitter: afroasiajd

     

    Sub Theme 3: Gender Rights and Democratic Police Governance: Covid 19 Insights and Challenges
    The socio-political and economic developments unfolding under the COVID-19 pandemic have thrown up new challenges for democratic and gender responsive policing. The decision to treat the health pandemic by lockdowns, contract tracing, quarantines, social distancing and use of masks put in control an ill-prepared police force with fragile public-police relations to maintain order by regulating the everyday lives of citizens impacting on domestic gender dynamics. There are two separate themes planned under this section, being held in two separate webinars. The purpose of the first of the two webinars is to explore the deeper questions of democratic policing from a gender lens and, at the same time gain insights, identify best practices and locate pathways to secure gender rights. The second will explore what approach, mechanisms or models can be institutionalized for responsive service delivery for GBV survivors.

    Lead speakers:

    1. Prof Rainuka Dagar, Program Director, AAAJD, India. And Dr Ipsita Sapra, Associate Professor Hyderabad campus, Chairperson School of Public Policy and Governance.
    2. Dr Tarryn Bannister, Project and Research Officer, APCOF, South Africa.
    3. Dr Trupti Panchal Head Special cells, School of Social Work, TISS India.
    4. A. George – Research Fellow/ HoD, National Defence College Abuja, Nigeria.

     

    Date: 13 July 2022

    Time: 10:30 am West Africa time(WAT); 11:30 am South Africa; 12:30 East Africa time(EAT); 3 pm Indian standard time(IST); 3:30 pm Bangladesh

    Hashtags: #democraticpolicing

    Register to participate

    Follow us on Twitter: afroasiajd

     

    Sub Theme 4: Legitimacy and access to justice at local level
    The global health and economic crisis of the COVID 19 and the extent to which this has pitted police against poor marginalized communities has been particularly stark. Marginalised communities have historically been subject to ills of both over and under policing. They continue to bear the brunt of the restrictions to contain C19 but have the least opportunity in seeking alternatives. It is therefore not surprising that in the wake of the unprecedented impact of COVID 19 on modern life, there has been a global backlash against the police. Calls to disband and defund the police from the United States to Nigeria have never been more vocal. As we build back better, how do we build police that is legitimate in the eyes of local community.
    This webinar explores several key questions sat the heart of promoting accountability at local level.

     

    1. Is there a place for procedural justice in managing policing in a state of emergency or disaster?
    2. Trust as a prerequisite in promoting access to justice.
    3. Using Data to build police community relation.
    4. Co Creating measures for the ground up.

    Lead speakers:

    1. Prof Ignacio Cano, State University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    2. Sean Tait, Director APCOF South Africa.

     

     Date: 6th September 2022

    Time: 10:30 am West Africa time(WAT); 11:30 am South Africa; 12:30 East Africa time(EAT); 3 pm Indian standard time(IST); 3:30 pm Bangladesh

    Hashtags: #democraticpolicing

    Register to participate

    Follow us on Twitter: afroasiajd