Madagascar: 400 officers enhance their knowledge of rules governing use of force

24-10-2011 News Release 11/214

Antananarivo (ICRC) – The last in a series of 10 training seminars ended last week at the national police academy in Ivato. The seminars, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), gave 400 officers of the security forces, police, gendarmerie and armed forces involved in maintaining public order the opportunity this year to enhance their knowledge of the rules on the use of force under human rights law.

"We organized the training at the request of the Malagasy authorities with a view to ensuring that law enforcement officers behave appropriately towards the population," said Olivier Jenard, the head of the regional delegation of the ICRC in Antananarivo.

The officers discussed the reality of peace-keeping operations and the attendant difficulties with ICRC delegates. In addition, they examined the specific principles of human rights and professional ethics that must be complied with in these operations. The Malagasy Red Cross Society, which also took part in the meetings, emphasized the respect that is due to first-aid workers who treat or evacuate people injured in demonstrations.

"The difficult times the country is going through also present an opportunity to highlight the positive image that law enforcement personnel can have when these principles are upheld," said Anand Appadoo, an ICRC delegate in charge of relations with the armed and security forces.

The seminars for officers of the armed forces were organized in close cooperation with the ministerial commission on international humanitarian law. Those intended for officers of the police and gendarmerie are part of a training programme that has been run by the French embassy for several years.

The ICRC has been working in Madagascar without interruption for the past nine years. Earlier this year, it opened a regional delegation for the Indian Ocean in Antananarivo covering Madagascar, the Comoros, Mauritius and the Seychelles. One of the ICRC's many activities in the region consists in working in places of detention in Madagascar and in the Comoros to improve the treatment of people held there and their living conditions. In addition, it provides support for the humanitarian action taken by the Malagasy Red Cross in situations of violence.

For further information, please contact:
Olivier Jenard, ICRC Antananarivo, tel: +261 20 22 303 10