Reform arranged a one-day training session in Kairouan in collaboration with Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) in Tunisia on human rights and law enforcement. Dr. Ahmed Karroud, a Tunisian sociologist and human rights expert, led the training. 14 representatives from civil society organizations, media institutions, and academic backgrounds participated in the training. This training session ‘comes at an important transitional phase, from dictatorship to a new era of reform’, said Dr. Karroud.

The participants learned about the theoretical and legal framework of human rights and how to implement these frameworks in the security sector reform process. Participants discussed the need for law enforcement and respect for human rights which are both important in a transitioning Tunisia. Dr. Karroud explained that law enforcement and respect for human rights human rights are the main concerns for executive authorities, the police and security system being the authorities that most frequently deal with citizens.

Within the framework of security sector reform, participants discussed the ideal role of police in a democracy contrasted with its role in an autocracy. Through several practical exercises participants also explored their role as civil society activists, in reforming the security system. The exercises highlighted that civil society should have specific goals and defined activities, and should be based on a foundation of values.

Participants applied human rights to the context of the Tunisian transition, and brainstormed on how civil society can most efficiently promote respect for human rights. At the end of the training session, participants defined three entry points to security sector reform to increase the commitment to human rights; in structure, legislation, and capacity-building.

This training session provided attendees with a necessary legal and academic understanding of human rights, and how they apply in security sector reform. The session also provided participants with ideas of how to practically and efficiently take part in the democratic transition through their civil society activities. The training also provided an important platform for different members of the civil society in Kairouan to meet and discuss their respective experiences, and to connect with others working on realizing similar goals.

Evaluation:

Three participants agreed that a one day training is not sufficient to deal with the major topics of security sector reform within the context of human rights and rule of law. In addition, one participant said that some of the concepts were not sufficiently deconstructed for participants to understand them.

When asked about what they have learned from the training, participants responded:

  • Learning about the different points of view when it comes to advocating for human rights and rule of law within security reform
  • The need to improve the relationship between citizens and security officers
  • Better understanding of human rights and their legal framework
  • Better understanding of security sector reform and its different entry points
  • Learning more about the practical role that civil society can play in security sector reform

When asked about their interest in participating in other training sessions organized by Reform, all the ten participants responded positively.

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Training session about law enforcement and human rights (trainer: Professor Ahmad Karoud).