Awareness-raising event on ethics and integrity for the National Gendarmerie Academy  

Bobo-Dioulasso (Burkina Faso), 28-29 July 2022 – Law enforcement authorities play an essential role in ensuring the safety of citizens and, as the main actors responsible for the detection of crime and illicit trafficking, they are an important  link in the fight against corruption. However, the prevalence of corruption risks within these institutions poses a threat to their effectiveness and legitimacy through decreased trust in state and security actors within the population.

In this context ,UNODC Regional Director for West and Central Africa, Dr. Amado Philip de Andrés, asserted that: “Corruption within the law enforcement and the consequent undermining of the rule of law weaken the already tenuous confidence many citizens of the Sahel region have in their governments.”

Hence, it is fundamental to strengthen the integrity of future law enforcement officers in order to ensure respect of the rule of law and to guarantee peace and security. Even more so in the Sahel region, where the complexity of the current security challenges requires strong and effective state responses and institutions.

In this regard, and in partnership with the Superior Authority for State Control and the Fight against Corruption (Autorité Supérieure de Contrôle d’État et de Lutte contre la Corruption, ASCE-LC) and the National Coordination of Police Forces Control (Coordination Nationale de Contrôle des Forces de Police, CONACFP), UNODC gathered over 600 students from the National Gendarmerie Academy in Bobo-Dioulasso for an awareness-raising workshop on 28-29 July 2022.

The activity was conducted by the Young Unitarians of Burkina Faso Network (Réseau des Jeunes Unitariens du Burkina Faso) within the framework of the Sahel Programme, and more specifically as part of the implementation of Phase II of UNODC’s “Strategic support project for Security Sector Reform in Burkina Faso”, with the financial support of the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Peacebuilding Fund. The session aimed at fostering a culture of integrity amongst future law enforcement officers in Burkina Faso and was further delivered in the margins of the International Anti-Corruption Day 2021 held under the theme: “Your right, your role: say no to corruption”, despite the delay accumulated due to the recent political situation in the country.  

The two-day awareness-raising session included a screening of the film “Republic of the corrupt”, as well as debates, panel discussions and a round-table on the topic “Right to security: Is a zero-tolerance policy for corruption amongst Defense and Security Forces possible?”. The participants engaged in discussions on topics related to citizens’ right to security, identifying corrupt practices and their harmful consequences, as well as good practices and solutions to reduce the risks of corruption within their own institutions.

A key objective of this awareness-raising workshop was for participants to develop an increased understanding of the existing links between corruption and insecurity, as well as to be better equipped to recognize and address corruption risks in their daily endeavors. It ultimately highlighted the substantial role of future law enforcement officers in contributing to peace and security in Burkina Faso and more globally in the Sahel region, as well as the crucial importance of restoring the population’s trust in national public institutions.