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Democratic Republic of the Congo : Raising police awareness of humanitarian law and human rights

24-03-2006 News Release 06/11

The ICRC and the Congolese national police force are jointly organizing a series of events to teach the principles of international humanitarian and human rights law applicable to law-and-order operations.

The first will be held on Saturday, 25 March at the joint national police headquarters in Kinshasa.

This is the first time that the ICRC has worked with the national police on a country-wide campaign to prevent abuses. Previous ICRC awareness-raising work was confined to the provincial level. The national police and the ICRC hope that the campaign will influence the way police go about law-and-order operations, i.e. preventing and detecting crime and arresting and detaining suspects. Special attention will be paid to situations involving the use of firearms and other force, and to the care with which particularly vulnerable people such as women, minors, refugees and the displaced must be treated.

If the ICRC is to be effective in protecting and aiding people affected by armed conflict and internal violence, it must work together with the police and other security forces. The best way to protect people is to ensure that everyone respects the fundamental principle of humanity – a principle enshrined in both national humanitarian law and human rights law – when security operations are under way.

A similar project, intended to incorporate humanitarian law into military training, is already being carried out by the Congolese armed forces and the ICRC.

The ICRC is responsible for promoting international humanitarian law throughout the world and endeavours to make the basic rules know to all those who carry weapons.

 For further information, please contact:  

 Sadia Shafaqoj Kaenzig, ICRC Kinshasa, tel. +243 99 990 00 74 or +243 81 700 85 36  

 Marco Jiménez Rodríguez, ICRC Geneva, tel. +41 22 730 22 71