CTI recommends 10 rudiments for rights-compliant, professional police

The Convention against Torture Initiative’s (CTI) Secretariat submitted a contribution to an upcoming report addressing systemic racism, violations of international human rights law against Africans and people of African descent by law enforcement agencies, which H.E. Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner for Human Rights, will present during the 47th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2021. CTI’s contribution recommends 10 fundamental elements constituting a professional police and law enforcement service, and compiles a total of 35 examples from 27 different countries around the world.

SAPS police officers_Stellenbosch Wine Expo 2014_HelenOnline (Wikimedia)
SAPS police officers_Stellenbosch Wine Expo 2014_HelenOnline (Wikimedia)

The exposure of and protests against racially motivated police violence in a growing number of countries this year has called for urgent action to be taken. Something fundamental needs to change how police and law enforcement officials are recruited, trained and the standards they apply. As many police services embark on needed reforms, the UN Convention against Torture can help steer those discussions towards more professional, rights-respecting and people-centred policing, underpinned by the absolute prohibition against torture and ill-treatment. Although it is regrettable that challenges remain everywhere, there are also good practices from around the globe which can be shared and replicated.

During an Urgent Debate on “Current racially inspired human rights violations, systemic racism, police brutality and the violence against peaceful protest”, held at the 43th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2020, CTI addressed the Council and underscored the crucial role that police and law enforcement play in keeping our communities safe and as advocates of human rights. The resolution that was adopted requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on the topic and report back on developments in June 2021.

Speaking on the contribution from the CTI Secretariat, Dr. Alice Edwards, Head of the Secretariat said:

CTI is pleased to contribute to this important report. Our submission highlights what, in our view, constitute some of the positive lessons, practices and standards that make up a modern and professional police and law enforcement sector.”

In particular, building the capacity, knowledge and integrity of police officers in all our societies, and imbuing them with a strong sense of justice and equality in all its forms, is at the heart of peaceful and stable communities,

she added.

Isn’t this what we all aspire to? To trust and be able to rely on our police officers? CTI’s contribution sets out 10 rudiments of a modern and professional police and law enforcement sector. Adopting such rudiments should minimise risks and incentives for aberrant behaviour and misconduct. How do you rate your local police?

CTI’s contribution is available for download here.

Read more about CTI’s advice in its UNCAT Implementation Tools here.

For States interested in how CTI can offer technical assistance and advice for ratification and/or implementation of UNCAT, please contact advicehub@cti2024.org. For general queries, you can e-mail the CTI Secretariat at info@cti2024.org.

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