Thursday, 20 April 2017
The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) will host a Dialogue on Policing and Human Rights in South Africa at the SAHRC Offices in Braamfontein on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 April 2017.
In 2016 the United Nations (UN) Committee on Human Rights, raised serious concerns about the state of policing in South Africa. The SAHRC, APCOF, the SAPS, and other stakeholders will address these and other concerns during the Dialogue.
The Dialogue is aimed at building and promoting rights-based policing in South Africa in the wake of police violence at Marikana, the death of Andries Tatane, the Fees Must Fall protests across South Africa, and in view of the high numbers of civil claims and allegations of corruption levelled against the SAPS.
These indicate an urgent need to identify and understand what is required to change in order to strengthen respect and observance of human rights, and what the Commission and other bodies can do to support the development of a culture of respect for human rights within the police service. This need is particularly pronounced in view of the volatile conditions within which law enforcement agencies, such as the police, are regularly expected to operate.
The Commission recognises that in order for South Africa to achieve the highest standards of human rights based policing it is imperative to engage the SAPS in order for the police to share their challenges in policing. The Dialogue is intended to create the space for discussions of these challenges between the SAPS, civil society, government, and other Chapter 9 Institutions.
The two-day Dialogue extends the discussions with the SAPS, APCOF, and other stakeholders initiated during the Commission’s first Dialogue on Policing convened in April 2016. It is intended to strengthen the practise of human rights based policing and to reinforce a culture of professionalism, and to encourage the demilitarisation of the SAPS.
Led by SAHRC Commissioner Chris Nissen, other high level participants include Mr Fikile Mbalula, the Minister of Police, Lieutenant General Kgomotso Phahlane, the Acting National Commissioner of Police, and Professor Christof Heyns, the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions and current member of the UN Human Rights Committee.
Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission.