“I was one of few female patrol officers in the United Nations Mission in Darfur, Sudan. Every day we were out in the field raising awareness about human rights among displaced persons and other civilians,” recalls Eman Alnajdawe, now a Major in Jordan’s police force.
“The next generation of UN police officers need good human rights training for this type of work,” she says.
Major Alnajdawe was one of 20 police officers from Jordan who participated in the new Human Rights in United Nations Policing Course that recently took place in Amman. They were also joined by three police officers from Morocco and Turkey.
She proudly received her training certificate from Major General Fadel al-Hamoud, Director of Public Security for all of Jordan.
Developed by UN Human Rights together with the international law enforcement experts of the UN Standing Police Capacity, the new course prepares police trainers to competently cover human rights issues. This is in line with UN requirements on training that all police officers must receive before being sent to a mission.
Human rights key to successful peacekeeping
In peacekeeping missions, the importance of human rights has steadily grown. “The success of a mission is increasingly measured by how well it protects civilians and their human rights,” said Ekkehard Strauss, the UN’s Senior Human Rights Adviser in Jordan. “UN Police is heavily involved in important tasks such as ensuring protection in camps for internally displaced persons.” Strauss also underlined UN Human Rights’ readiness to foster engagement with Jordan on domestic human rights and law enforcement issues.
A hands-on training reflecting reality
“We focused on case studies and practical exercises that reflect what police officers will actually see in the mission,” explains course director Jan Hessbruegge from UN Human Rights’ Methodology, Education and Training Section.
In one exercise, participants had to observe real-time simulations on the use of firearms to determine whether human rights standards were violated or not. Participants discussed case studies on sensitive cooperation issues with the local police such as handing over suspects or handling local requests for support in handling demonstrations without becoming complicit to any violations.
Police reform such as vetting national officers for involvement in human rights violations, integrating more women into the police force or building internal and external accountability mechanisms also featured prominently in the agenda.
Jordan’s Peacekeeping Training Centre trains some 1000 police officers every year. Its staff are determined to integrate the insights of this training into the more than 50 courses the Centre runs annually.
"We will carefully look at the course curriculums and make adjustments so that our police officers have the human rights skills to make a real difference in the field,” said Major Marwan Al Fawair, one of the senior instructors at the Centre. And the course will also be relevant for Jordan itself -- Captain Ann Altwal of the Jordanian Police notes: “Many of the exercises I can adapt and use for human rights training in our Family Protection Department.”
With the support of the German Government, the UN Standing Police Capacity and UN Human Rights will deliver the new course in more countries in 2020, and is also reaching out to countries who contribute police to peacekeeping missions to gauge their interest in hosting it.
23 December 2019