Network for Improved Policing in South Asia

New gender policy for the Nigerian police

Nigeria – Gender Policy for Women in Police

Abuja, Nigeria:UN Women in collaboration with the Nigerian Police Force and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (FMWASD) launched “A Gender Policy for the Nigeria Police Force on Thursday 6th September 2012 at Bolingo Hotel Abuja, Nigeria.

 The overall goal of this policy is to eliminate all gender-based discriminatory regulations and practices within the Nigeria Police Force, and ensure that the Police Force, as a major security organ of government is able to effectively deal with gender-based violence within the larger Nigeria society.

Hajia Zainab Maina the Honorable Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development while unveiling the Policy explained that “a central component of this reform process is the focus on ensuring that the security needs of the community is understood and integrated into the structure and operations of the police.”

Mr. Daouda Toure UN Resident Coordinator while commending UN Women and other partners for the development of this Gender Policy for Nigeria Police which is among the first in Africa re-affirmed “the United Nation’s commitment towards supporting the Government of Nigeria and the law enforcement agencies in strengthening their capacity for effective control of violence against women”.

Dr. Grace Ongile the UN Women Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS in her closing remark maintained that “Gender-based violence is a key internal threat to security and national development.” She emphasized that “a clear implementation roadmap should be urgently developed with emphasis on monitoring and evaluation framework.”

Cross-section of police officers and other development partner at the Launch of Gender Police force for Nigeria Police on 6th September 2012 in Abuja (Photo Credit: UN Women)

The Policy is part of capacity development for the Nigerian Police Force necessary for effective response to gender based violence and women’s right. With this policy gender mainstreaming is now seen as integral part of police form and key to operational effectiveness and institutional credibility in Nigeria.


UP Police Inspector sullies the dead, turns body with boot to see bullet injury










Legislation needed to define torture, compensate victims

Original publication:


Legislation needed to define torture, compensate victims

June 25, 2012 by Waseem Ahmad Shah

Two years have passed since the Government of Pakistan ratified the United Nations Convention against Torture (CAT) and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. While the convention provides for taking effective legislative measures, so far no exclusive law has been enacted in Pakistan over this subject. Similarly, no law is available on compensation to the victims of torture.

The International Day in Support of Victims of Torture would be observed on June 26. The day commemorates the signing of the United Nations Charter on June 24, 1946 and the entry into force of the CAT the same day in 1987. This convention was adopted and opened for signature and ratification by the General Assembly Resolution 39/46 of Dec 10, 1984.

The convention defines torture as “any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions.”

Furthermore, Article 4 (1) of the convention provides: “Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.” Sub-article 2 states: Each State Party shall make these offences punishable by appropriate penalties which take into account their grave nature.”

While torture in custody is not permissible under the law, it is almost a norm in Pakistan. The moment a court remands an accused person to custody of police, it is evident to all that the accused would be tortured. The main reason for this practice is the outdated investigation mechanism available with the law-enforcement agencies, especially police. Their main dependence to move forward in a case is mostly through torture on suspects so as to acquire their confession.

Section 167 of the Code of Criminal Procedure permits a magistrate to remand an accused person into custody of police for maximum of 15 days. Similarly, section 21 E of the Anti-Terrorism Act, empowers the anti-terrorism court to remand a person detained for investigation to custody for maximum 15 days, but in case the investigation officer proves that further evidence may be available the court may remand the suspect for maximum 30 days in custody.

The country’s constitution prohibits torture. Article 14 (2) of the Constitution states: “No person shall be subjected to torture for the purpose of extracting evidence.”

While the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) prohibits causing of hurt for extracting confession, no law in Pakistan defines torture.

The offence of causing hurt for extracting confession is punishable with up to 10 years imprisonment. So far invoking this
section of the PPC is very rare and least heard of.

Section 337-K of the PPC states: “Whoever causes hurt for the purpose of extorting from the sufferer or any person interested in the sufferer, any confession or any information which may lead to the detection of any offence or misconduct, or for the purpose of constraining the sufferer, or any person interested in the sufferer, to restore, or to cause the restoration of, any property or valuable security or to satisfy any claim or demand, or to give information which may lead to the restoration of any property, or valuable security shall, in addition to the punishment of qisas, arsh or daman, as the case may be, provided for the kind of hurt caused, be punished, having regard to the nature of the hurt caused, with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years as ta’zir.”

Furthermore, the Police Order, which was introduced in 2002, includes section 156 (d) stating that whoever, being a police officer, inflicts torture or violence on any person in his custody shall on conviction be punished with imprisonment for a term, which may extend up to five years and with fine.

Another aspect of the issue which has so far been ignored is the provision of compensation to the victims of torture.

Appointment of DGP challenged in Indian state of Andhra Pradesh

Arbitrariness in the appointment of the DGP (highest ranking police official in India) has always been a problem. Appointments are made on consideration of personal preference and posts held at the caprice of the political executive has led to uncertainty of office and tenure.  In the Prakash Singh judgment of 2006, the Supreme Court issued a set of six directives which if implemented together would bring about the police reform India needs.

The second directives addresses this problem of frequent transfers. As per the Court, the DGP must be selected from amongst the three senior-most officers empanelled by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the post. The selection will be made on the basis of the candidate’s: (i) length of service, (ii) service record, and (iii) range of experience.

Once recommended on the basis of transparent objective criteria the Chief Minister can choose from amongst the best of the candidates. This way the chosen DGP is assumed to enjoy the trust of the political executive, the police service and the public. It would therefore be anomalous to retain the ability of the executive to remove the head of police at will. Hence the Court has provided for a minimum tenure of two years for the DGP. The grounds for removal prior to the two year period must be in accordance with the laid down law.

Who will punish the protectors?

Originally published in:

Who will punish the protectors?

By editor
Created 18 Jun 2012 – 00:00

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?” wrote the Roman poet Juvenal. Who will guard the guards themselves? In a time where policemen find themselves besieged by complaints ranging from custodial torture to dereliction of duty, the Latin phrase has never been more relevant.
According to a survey by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Maharashtra recorded 250 custodial deaths in police custody from 2001 to 2011, the highest among all states, with the second being Uttar Pradesh, having recorded 174 such deaths. Maharashtra is also one of the states that is yet to comply with the Supreme Court’s directive to form a Police Complaints Authority (PCA); a body that was conceived precisely due to the rising malpractices by policemen across India.
“The PCA was envisioned to be a body that was easily accessible, not complex and complicated like courts, which essentially meant it would be easy on complainants who need to gather a lot of courage before complaining against a powerful police officer. The power imbalance between the two is huge, so it was intended to facilitate access. The PCA would entertain serious complaints like death or rape in custody, torture, grievous hurt to the lesser of the evil of non-registration of complaints, improper investigation, bad behaviour, bribes etc,” says Navaz Kotwal, programme coordinator, police reforms programme, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI).
The directive was one of the six laid down by the Supreme Court for police reforms in 2006. PCAs were supposed to be set up at state as well as district levels. While complaints about policemen of deputy superintendent of police and above ranks were to be handled at state level, those about junior policemen were supposed to be looked into by the district level PCAs.
However, PCAs till date exist only on paper, despite government resolutions to the effect having been issued in July 2008. Scant movement has occurred on constituting the PCAs after that. The CHRI in 2010 visited Maharashtra to get an overview of the current state of police reforms directives. The report states that not only are PCAs still being constituted, they do not even follow the composition and method of selection as laid down by the SC.
The recent clamour by Mumbaikars against the alleged high-handedness of the social service branch (SSB) — spearheaded by controversial assistant commissioner of police Vasant Dhoble — has once again brought into spotlight the need for a strong body that can be approached for complaints against the police.
The SSB is currently in the eye of a storm, after two sisters who were charged for prostitution moved the Bombay high court seeking immediate relief and compensation for the defamation caused to them. One of the sisters has an autistic son, and the women will have to spend at least 20 more days in the women’s reform home in Mankhurd before they can be reunited with the families.
“Common man today knows that the courts are overloaded with a huge backlog of cases, which makes us hesitant to approach the court for a complaint against a policeman, and then wait for years together for action. Approaching the concerned policeman’s superiors is one option, but you never know who you can trust in the police force. In such a scenario, an independent body will surely be helpful,” says Saurabh Damle, a Pune resident.
Ms Kotwal, however, adds a caveat. “If the PCA is to look at such cases it needs to be strong, have powers, have teeth and have independent members and financial independence. These are vital to its success. If these basic minima are not there, then PCAs like the many other bodies, will be one more toothless tiger, one more fraud that is eating away at public money,” she says.
The police, on its part, has claimed that it already has enough bodies to answer to.
“We have bodies like the national and state level human rights commissions watching our every move. In cases of custodial death and other such cases, independent bodies like the crime branch or the state CID carry out investigations. Add to that, the myriad internal inquiries, the numerous accusations that come up during trials and the appearances before bodies like the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal… we can’t help wonder if one more such body is really the answer,” says a senior officer with the Mumbai police.
The police’s second worry is that the PCA, like the existing watchdogs, might be used by troublemakers to settle personal scores. There have been cases of criminals approaching the Anti-Corruption Bureau, alleging graft against the very officers who are investigating the case against them. The purpose is to simply add to bureaucratic hurdles and delay the course of the investigation.
“Whatever comes out at the end of an inquiry is immaterial once you’re tainted,” says another officer.
The state government maintains that setting up PCAs is among its top priorities, and that action will be taken on it soon.
“There was a proposal submitted to the chief minister’s office about setting up of PCAs two years ago. However, the proposal was withdrawn after it was thought that PCAs were not being set up in that way that they should be. These authorities should be set up after taking into consideration what other states have done so far and how they have done it. Secondly, we also need to have proper officers to constitute them. There are also several other factors that need to be thought about,” said Amitabh Rajan, additional chief secretary, home department.
Mr Rajan added that definite action would be taken on setting up of PCAs within a couple of months, as the process is a detailed and lengthy one. Both the chief minister and the home minister are also taking a personal interest in the matter, he said.
What now remains to be seen is how much longer it takes to have fully functioning PCAs and whether they would actually turn out to be what they are supposed to be.

List of Criminal Police Submitted Before HC

Kochi: The list of 605 police personnel facing investigation in various criminal offenses has been finally submitted before the High Court judge in a sealed envelop.

A strong legal battle has reportedly been the force behind the Police Chief’s compulsion to present the list before the High Court.

The higher ups in the police hierarchy had reportedly pitched a number of weak arguments in its early stage to stop it from being published. However, the list finally appeared before the public following the directive issued by a division bench of the high court.

The lawyers, including D.B.Binu, who spearheaded the battle for the past one and a half years towards bringing out the list, disclosed to Manoramaonline that court’s strong intervention will be inevitable for ensuring punitive action against the offenders. Binu is a senior counsel at the High Court and the general secretary of Human Rights Forum of RTI Kerala Federation.

The senior police officers at first had argued that, the details of criminal backgrounds of the police officers facing such charges cannot be obtained through RTI Act. They had reportedly twisted some sections of the act for that. Further, they argued that such cases were of the nature of secret intelligence and their details could not be divulged.

The enlisted police personnel faced charges that ranged from murder cases to abuse of women. However, the DGP, Jacob Punnoose submitted in a sealed envelope the list of 605 police officers charged with criminal offenses in the High Court following the landmark verdict issued by the division bench, which included Justice, Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and C.T. Raveendran.

Amnesty raps govt for ‘unlawful killings’

Thu, May 24th, 2012 10:59 am BdST

London/Dhaka, May 24 (—Amnesty International has blasted Bangladesh for its ‘failure’ to live up to the pledge to end extrajudicial killings.

In its annual report, the global human rights group blamed the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) for such incidents as it recorded ’54 unlawful killings’ by the elite anti-crime agency in 2011.

“Extrajudicial executions continued despite a government pledge to end them,” the Amnesty International Report 2012 says.

The London-based group says the government has failed to ‘credibly’ investigate those killings and the responsible have not been brought to justice.

It says the RAB has allegedly killed more than 700 people since its formation in 2004.

“RAB injured or tortured scores more. In many cases, family members told Amnesty International that victims died after being arrested by RAB and not in an encounter as RAB claimed. The authorities failed to investigate these incidents credibly,” the report says.

It highlighted the case of Limon Hossain, 16, who was shot in the leg by RAB officers in Jhalakathi on March 23 last year.

It says RAB officials alleged that he was a member of a criminal gang and that he was injured when RAB officers returned fire after the gang shot at them but Limon said he was alone, bringing cattle home, when RAB personnel arrested and shot him.

The conclusions of a separate government inquiry – never made public – reportedly confirmed his claim, and police charged Limon with trying to kill RAB officers, it says.

Amnesty International’s researcher Abbas Faiz criticised the government for its indifference to curb the incidents of human rights violation.

“We are worried about the human rights situation in Bangladesh. The issue of the disappearance of BNP leader M Ilias Ali has not been included in the report as this is a very recent incident. But the question has arisen: is it a new tactic in Bangladesh,” he tells’s London correspondent Nahas Pasha.

Faiz blamed both the ruling Awami League and the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) for the present human rights condition.

“They forget their pledge to improve the human rights condition after they assume office. Before election, the Awami League had said it would stop crossfire killings. But allegations have it that more than 50 people were killed by RAB last year,” he said.

War crimes trial

Amnesty is apparently at ease with the amended Rules of Procedure involving the trial of crimes against humanity committed during Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971, but raised the issue of the right to challenge the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

“Its amended Rules of Procedure provided for bail, presumption of innocence before guilt is proven, and measures to ensure the protection of witnesses and victims. However, a constitutional ban on the right to challenge the jurisdiction of the Tribunal remained in force,” the report says.

Matiur Rahman Nizami, Ali Ahsan Muhammad Mojaheed, Muhammad Kamaruzzaman, Abdul Quader Molla and Delwar Hossain Sayedee from Jamaat-e-Islami, and Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Abdul Alim from the BNP, were indicted for war crimes.

All but Alim, who was released on bail, remained detained. Five of the detainees were in custody for more than 18 months without any charges being brought against them, the Amnesty report pointed out.

Sayedee was formally charged in October for allegedly assisting the Pakistani army to commit genocide; kill, torture and rape unarmed civilians; torch houses of local Hindus; and force Hindus to convert to Islam.

Rights of indigenous people

The international rights body also points out that the government had ‘failed’ to secure the ‘right to livelihood and land’ of the indigenous residents of the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

The report attributes the failure to the government’s inability to prevent confiscation of land owned by the indigenous people by Bengali settlers.

“This led to violent clashes between the two communities, ending in loss of property and, at times, loss of lives.”

According to the report, the Bengali settlers usually entered indigenous peoples’ land and appropriated it for agricultural use.

The report also quotes indigenous residents telling Amnesty International delegates visiting the area in March that ‘Bengali settlers, emboldened by the army’s tolerance of their actions, had frequently set fire to Indigenous homes, usually in clear sight of soldiers or other law enforcement personnel, without being stopped.’

Around the same time, residents from Rangamati’s Langadu told Amnesty International that “local officials and soldiers from the local Border Guard Bangladesh unit failed to prevent an imminent attack by Bengali settlers against them in Rangipara village.”

“They said that soldiers stood by while the settlers torched their homes on 17 February,” the report adds.

What Post-Osama Pakistan Really Needs: Police Reform

May 2nd, 2012 by Hassan Abbas


A year has passed since the May 2, 2011 operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and we still do not understand why the raid was needed in the first place — or why it took 10 years to put together. What is clear is that it was the United States that had to go after Bin Laden, given the critical inadequacies of law enforcement and related intelligence in Pakistan.

Pakistan is going through a tough political transition, and critical issues such as effective tax collection, expansion of energy generation, and — perhaps most importantly — law enforcement reform continue to hang in the balance.

The Bin Laden episode embarrassed Pakistan deeply, and the debate that followed centered largely on whether Bin Laden’s presence in the country was a result of incompetence or connivance on the part of Pakistan’s security and intelligence services. The U.S. has acknowledged that it has no evidence showing that top Pakistani military leadership helped hide Bin Laden. And Pakistan is happy to share an extensive list of its security officials who bravely sacrificed their lives in various counterterrorism operations.

Both of these points are noteworthy — but none of it explains how Bin Laden and his large family survived for more than five years in a town surrounded by tourist resorts and in close proximity to the country’s premier military academy. Disclosures from Bin Laden’s younger wife about how she freely traveled across the country only raise eyebrows further. As of yet, no senior Pakistani security or intelligence officials have lost jobs for any dereliction of duty.

What we are missing is that counterterrorism, in essence, is a law enforcement issue. An efficient criminal justice system is a more important tool for defeating extremism and violence than any fighter aircraft or nuclear submarine. An agile and resourceful law enforcement structure in Pakistan could have made Bin Laden’s life very difficult. This, however, was not the case.

Today, the nexus between organized crime and terror outfits is what plagues South Asia in general and Pakistan in particular. But tomorrow, more terrorists will probably choose to hide behind their laptops — computer viruses will become the new car bombs. The common sense response to these new challenges lies in better police work, supported by systematic investigation, intelligence sharing and forensic tools. Approaches that were useful, and in some ways defensible, in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks are no longer relevant.

Ironically, Bin Laden and many of his counterparts throughout the world faced little discomfort in pursuing their nefarious agendas. This is because the nature of the terrorism challenge has evolved in the last decade, and governments are failing to adapt.

Developing countries, especially those particularly affected by terrorism, need to invest in the improvement of their criminal justice systems and focus on enhancing the capacity of police organizations. Having served on Pakistan’s police force and having lived in Abbottabad, I can confidently argue that a more resourceful and skilled police force there could have nabbed Bin Laden much earlier. But, there is no point arguing that now. Eventually, Bin Laden met his fate.

The question now is how to ensure that such a criminal lapse doesn’t happen again. Police reform is the answer.

Asia Society Senior Advisor Hassan Abbas is directing a project on police reform in Pakistan, with a report to be launched in June 2012. The report, a product of collaboration with experts from both Pakistan and the United States, seeks to provide a framework for police and law enforcement reform throughout the country. More details can be found here.

Govt to Compensate Kin in Custodial Death Cases


Pune: The state home department recently decided to give compensation ranging from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.5 lakh to relatives of custodial death victims.

The department laid down that the criminal investigation department (CID) will conduct an inquiry in all deaths in police custody. If a person dies due to police negligence, the government will offer Rs 1 lakh compensation to the victim’s relatives.

Moreover, if the CID inquiry reveals that the person died due to police torture, then a criminal case would be registered against the officer. In such cases, the victim’s relatives will get Rs 1.5 lakh as compensation from the government.

A senior police officer attached to the state CID told DNA, “This issue was discussed by the senior police officers and home department in February last year. The decision would help the victim’s relatives,” he said. Moreover, the state CID has ordered all police commissionerates and police units in the state to follow the 14-point guidelines prepared by the CID.

The guidelines emphasise the use of latest investigation techniques. The guidelines underline the need to deploy adequate number of guards for lock-up duty, daily rotation of duty, ensuring that alcoholic policemen are not deployed for such duty, ensuring that the lock-up duty guards perform their duties regularly and attentively by carrying out checks every two hours and strict action against delinquent guards.

Considering the possibility of prisoners committing suicide or escaping during transit, the guidelines deal with the manner in which the prisoners should be transported. They prescribe deployment of healthy, attentive and smart policemen to escort prisoners and ensuring that the same policemen are not deployed for prisoner escort duty too frequently.

Now, residents of Haryana can access the Police Complaints Authority on the Internet.

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