Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Personnel in Lebanon on Human Rights
The Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at Lebanese American University (LAU) collaborated with the Restart Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture (RESTART) to conduct a two-year training program for law enforcement personnel in Lebanon who handle investigations with detainees and prisoners and those who supervise prisoners throughout the country. The purpose of the project was to train law enforcement personnel in how to apply internationally recognized human rights-based approaches related to the treatment of detainees and prisoners, with a particular focus on the needs of women. Furthermore, the project prepared a selected group from the most successful trainees to become “trainers of trainers” to bolster the culture of human rights to the different units of the ISF.
With this program, IWSAW and its implementing partner RESTART intended to foster a culture of respect for human rights within the Lebanese detention system. In order to achieve this objective, IWSAW and RESTART shared their expertise and knowledge gained while providing services to support detainees in Lebanese prisons with law enforcement officers in the country. Participants from security services, judicial police forces and prison guards were all expected to demonstrate awareness of international standards involving human rights in prison, including prisoners’ rights and needs, as well as the capacity to enforce the domestic law while protecting human rights in prison. As part of the present action, the two Lebanese partners distributed the training material to all organizations involved in the Lebanese detention system.
In order to further the sustainability of this intervention, the most successful trainees were selected to become “trainers of trainers” through advanced training sessions and will continue to support this capacity-building process through an internal supervision of prison officers.
IWSAW and RESTART agreed on a comprehensive training program with the interior ministry, judiciary police leadership, the director of the ISF and unit heads within these organizations. A group of experts on the fields in question were hired on a consultant basis and proposed a set of subjects in line with our thematic priorities. These included:
- International standards and mechanisms
- Investigation techniques
- Human rights in prison
- Standards-minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners
- Code of conduct for law enforcement
- Women in prisons
- Psychological consequences of torture
The trainees were selected with the collaboration of the ministries and organizations that took part; collectively, IWSAW, RESTART and the government selected 150 law enforcement officers, who were involved directly in investigations and prison management. The project included newly recruited and well-motivated prison officers. The group of trainees was also gender balanced, with the ISF focusing on selecting a representative group of women to take part.
A training-the-trainers session also focused on leadership techniques, communications strategies and non-verbal dialogue, allowing our trainees to better explain this humanitarian viewpoint to a wider audience in Lebanon’s security organizations, as well as practice it in the field on their own.
The closing ceremony was attended by representatives of the ministries and directorates that took part in the training modules, along with the president of LAU, Dr. Joseph Jabbra and representatives of NGOs that also work in the Lebanese prison system.
The closing ceremony was also well attended by the Lebanese press, ensuring that the project’s goal of improving human rights in Lebanese prisons was well-highlighted.
During the closing ceremony, government representatives pledged to provide training material from our workshops, namely CDs and manuals, to newly recruited officers as part of a new internal curriculum as a substantial component. It will also be adopted by the ISF’s human rights institute. This will lead to the formal integration of all inherent subjects, already addressed during the training implemented by IWSAW and RESTART, within the academic background of ISF members and officials, as a compulsory course towards getting the diploma from the ISF Directorate.