LebaneseUK partnership: Human Rights at the heart of Internal Security Forces’ Mission

On the occasion of Human Rights Day, the Ministry of Interior and Municipalities and the British Embassy announced their joint intention to work together on improving protection of human rights by the Internal Security Forces, within the framework of the strategic MOU they signed in July of this year to enhance the ISF’s capabilities and create a modern, professional police force.

In a press release by the British Embassy in Beirut, it said: “The cooperation between the Ministry and the Embassy, valued at £13m ($16.5m), is aimed at creating a police force that is able to deliver better policing and greater security because it has the trust of the community it serves. In addition to enhancing the capabilities of the ISF, the partnership aims to strengthen the ISF’s Human Rights Division; fully incorporate human rights into the ISF’s training programme; and spread best practice in community policing, including building model police stations which include renovated cells and disabled access.”

Release added: “The British Policing Support Programme will continue to support the implementation of the UN-approved Code of Conduct; implement recommendations to improve the treatment of detainees; and develop a Public Order Manual for the Mobile Forces to place human rights at the centre of public order training. In addition, it will develop the ISF’s capacity to receive and respond to complaints from the public. Finally, the Human Rights Division looks forward in the new year to hosting a series of outreach events with civil society, on topics such as gender-based violence, pre-trial detention and prevention of torture.”

Commenting on the cooperation between the Ministry and the Embassy, Minister Nohad Machnouk said: “Our ongoing work in maintaining the community’s security, protection and safety reflects on our continued commitment to ensure the rights, freedom and integrity of the citizen. That’s why the workshops to develop the Internal Security Forces’ capability and expertise technically and logistically – supported by the British Embassy within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding signed last June – must be accompanied by and compliment the process of capacity building, prioritising Human Rights in order to reinforce the relationship of trust and communication between the people and the ISF”.

British Ambassador Hugo Shorter said: “We are proud to support the Internal Security Forces in their mission to protect Lebanese communities up and down the country. A modern, professional police service is one that respects and protects human rights, and as a result is more effective because it is trusted by the community. For that reason human rights is a key component of our support, and we look forward to seeing the results over the next three years.”