Abu Dhabi: efforts to improve law enforcement and response to crime in MENA region supported by UNODC

Abu Dhabi: efforts to improve law enforcement and response to crime in MENA region supported by UNODC Photo:UNODC2 May, 2017 - The excessive use of force by law enforcement officials at the global level remains a topic of concern, particularly with regards to the application of the United Nations (UN) standards and norms on the conduct of law enforcement officials. To address this issue, UNODC and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have been working together to develop a resource book on the use of force and firearms for law and policy makers in charge of designing law enforcement regulations and training curricula.

In this context, UNODC recently organized, in Abu Dhabi, a three-day regional training workshop on the "Conduct of Law Enforcement Officials in Maintaining Order and Responding to Crime in the Middle East and North African (MENA) Countries".

The sessions were led by experts from UNODC, OHCHR and the Swedish Police, and covered topics such as the legal and regulatory framework on the use of force and firearms, a human rights based approach to law enforcement, and the main instruments of force as well as their use in policing situations, including public assemblies and arrests.

At the opening of the workshop, Hatem Aly, UNODC's Head of its Office for the Gulf Cooperation Council Region said: "This workshop provides us with a very good opportunity to share and exchange the views between the UN and the participating experts from the Arab nations on the best possible implementation of the UN standards, norms and measures related to criminal justice and human rights."

Similarly, Major General Khalifa Hareb Al Khaili, Acting Assistant Undersecretary of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Interior for Citizenship, Residence and Ports, underscored the importance of finding solutions and providing practical recommendations to help law enforcement better respond to crime. He added that hosting this workshop in the UAE was embodying the vision and aspirations to become the best country in terms of safety and security.

Lastly, Colonel Saleh Ali Mohamed Essmaio, Deputy Minister of Interior of Libya, emphasized that while the legal framework existed in Libya on the use of force and firearms, a large supply of firearms and the difficulty to fight organised crime and terrorist groups remains a concern for law enforcement officials given limited resources.

The workshop concluded with a series of recommendations, including the designing of new training curricula for police academies, strengthened accountability and oversight of law enforcement agencies and enhance dialogue between law enforcement agencies and the public. The workshop was organised in partnership with the Ministry of Interior of the United Arab Emirates and policy makers and law enforcement officials from Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and the GCCPOL/Secretariat of the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC). 

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UNODC's work on crime prevention and criminal justice