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Senior officials from 16 countries to discuss challenges of law enforcement

29-11-2010 News Release 10/215

Geneva (ICRC) – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is set to play host, for the first time ever, to a conference on international standards for law enforcement.

More than twenty high-ranking officials and experts from 16 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America are expected to participate to the event, which will take place from 30 November to 2 December in Geneva.

"In the face of unprecedented crime and violence, police officers are risking their lives to protect others," said Christine Beerli, vice-president of the ICRC, on the eve of the opening ceremony. "It is a huge challenge to enforce the law in dangerous environments and to follow the rules even when others do not. That is the key, however, as law enforcement is right and just only if the enforcers themselves comply fully with the law."

During the three-day conference, participants will share their views on such issues as how to maintain law and order amid massive violence, how to counter internal security threats without curtailing the fundamental rights of individuals, and how to put international standards into practice in everyday law enforcement. The conference will be rounded out by a visit to the Geneva gendarmerie.

"It is not enough for law enforcement officials to be well versed in the law – discipline, supervision and a functioning criminal justice system are also needed to ensure that law enforcement operations comply with international rules," said Fabio Manhães Xavier, a Brazilian police colonel who has been invited to speak on how to ensure that applicable law is reflected within policy guidelines governing police work.

The ICRC maintains a confidential dialogue with law enforcement officials in more than 80 countries on maintaining law and order in armed conflict or other situations of violence. It supports police forces in their efforts to incorporate international rules and standards in police doctrine and training.

For further information, please contact:
Marçal Izard, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 2458 or +41 79 217 3224