UNODC encourages cooperation between criminal justice chain actors and the Defense and Security Forces of Liptako Gourma

 

Since 2012, Liptako Gourma, a cross-border region between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, is plagued by insecurity and violence. The situation deteriorated recently, with the proliferation of armed groups, as well as the rise of inter-community confrontations and violent extremism. Women are particularly vulnerable to this upsurge in conflict, which is accompanied by an increased risk of sexual violence, in a region marked by significant socio-cultural inequalities between men and women.. Raising serious concerns at both regional and international levels, this situation demonstrates the need for more effective coordination between security and justice actors in the region, as well as with the communities, regarding cross-border conflict-resolution.

In this context, UNODC organized, from 22 to 23 January 2020 in Tillabery (Niger), a " Cross-border Forum for exchanges between the Defence and Security Forces (DSF) and actors of the criminal justice chain on the complementarities of their respective mandates and roles". The objective of this forum was to analyse the state of collaboration between these different actors by seeking a common understanding on the complementarity of the respective mandates and roles of the SDF and the actors of the penal chain of the Liptako Gourma. Indeed, a better understanding of the remit  of each would improve the judicial treatment of terrorism and transnational organized crime cases through an approach that respects human rights and is gender-sensitive.

This forum is part of the project "Support to Cross-Border Community Dialogue Initiatives with Security and Justice Sector Actors for Peacebuilding", jointly implemented by UNODC and UN Women and funded by the United Nations Peace Building Funds, as well as by Denmark for activities related to Burkina Faso. Burkina Faso was included in this project along with Mali and Niger following discussions during national fora in Mali and Niger in July 2019 and the PBF donors' mission in Niger from 14 to 19 October 2019.

 

 

The forum mobilized 54 participants from the penal chain and the Defence and Security Forces of the different cross-border municipalities of the Liptako Gourma, 10% of whom were women.

During two days, the exchanges brought out points of common interest that could contribute to the improvement of democratic governance of the security and justice sector. The protection of human rights and the inclusion of a gender-sensitive approach within judicial and military services also emerged as a necessity in this cross-border region. A pooling of resources and a synergy of actions between the three countries have therefore been promoted by the various actors.

 

 

This forum was also a major opportunity for participants to identify the challenges they face and to jointly develop a roadmap with recommendations. The main recommendation concerns the strengthening of the relationship between the actors of the three countries (Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger), in order to be able to provide a joint legal and military response to terrorism in the Sahel, while strictly respecting human rights.

Indeed, in the words of one of the actors of the criminal justice chain, addressing its colleagues and the Defence and Security Forces, "We must be human ourselves, if we want to fight against these inhumane people. »

Thus, the fora organised within the framework of this project allow DSF and communities to meet and exchange, paving the way for a more effective contribution to peacebuilding in the Liptako Gourma region.

This project is implemented within the framework of the UNODC Sahel Programme to strengthen the fight against terrorism and transnational organized crime through the inclusion of women and youth in the process of strengthening security. It also contributes to the United Nations Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, as well as to Sustainable Development Goals 16 "Peace, Justice and Effective Institutions" and 5 "Gender Equality".

For more information:

Sahel Programme