Police participate in Human Rights and Leadership Workshop

In a collaborated venture between the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the Rights of the Child (ROC) Commission, a Human Rights and Leadership Workshop for the Guyana Police Force (GPF) was hosted at Herdmanston Lodge, Georgetown, where the spotlight was placed on the rights of children and the roles and responsibilities of the police in protecting them from abuse and neglect.
According to UNICEF Deputy Resident Representative Paolo Marchi, the purpose was to engage the GPF in preventing, identifying and protecting abused and neglected juveniles since research shows that 70 per cent of children are victims of such and the police are entrusted to serve as a form of protection towards them.
He relayed that his belief is that the Force’s involvement will enhance thei capacity of providing protection as they internalise the essential ROC mechanisms to provide a wider comprehension of the realistic and lawful children rights.
While acclaiming the organisations for initiating the learning session, Force Training Officer Paul Williams highlighted, on behalf of the GPF, that there was no such thing as “too much” training in light of the daily occurrences of change. He added that because of the

UNICEF Deputy Resident Representative Paolo Marchi
UNICEF Deputy Resident Representative Paolo Marchi

appropriate training programmes, ranks of all abilities were efficiently trained.
The Training Officer asserted that facilities are in place to ensure Juvenile delinquents are segregated from adult prisoners through a standing order under the Juvenile Offenders Act. He voiced that if a minor needs to be interviewed, members of the Force and faith networks are present. He also noted that the GPF regularly provides assistance to the homeless and impoverished children.
Williams highlighted that the GPF will implement the practices they’ve learnt when engaging with children as law enforcers and vowed that other officers who were unable to participate in the learning sessions would be trained by trainers.
He noted that in relation to child custody, court orders would be enforced and there is an intention to create sustainable relationships with agencies and the ministry in this regard.
Pointing out that the rights of children are often breached in the vicinity of their homes and even the courts, ROC Consultant, Queenla Cameron stressed on the need for the human rights standards to be applied by the police when carrying out their duties. She also voiced that it is necessary for the ROC Convention to be applied without delay in an effort to ensure the best interest of the children.
Cameron added that children should not be used to provide evidence in court and should not be subjected to agony by the police. She also encouraged the GPF to adapt to the policies of ROC.