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May 8, 2023

Human Rights Training for the Belize Police Department

A human rights capacity building training with police officers began today in Belmopan, following an opening ceremony at the National Police Training Academy. For the remainder of the week, a Human Rights Officer from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, attached to the Global Policies and Security Forces Team, will be facilitating the training.  Those sessions will seek to strengthen the department to improve the service of the department. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

Police brutality and abuse of power at the hands of law enforcement officers is a human rights violation. Under the leadership of Commissioner of Police Chester Williams, the Belize Police Department has been engaging its officers on issues relating to human rights, as well as the use of force policy. During this week, police officers will participate in training that will strengthen their capacity to integrate a human rights-based approach to policing.


Bart Jones

DCP Bart Jones, Commander, Research, Planning Legal Affairs & Compliance Branch

“We had engaged the UN Human Rights to look at our use of force policy that we had in place and to see how we could revise that and make it even more from a human rights perspective. With the aid of UN Human Rights and our academic advisor, Doctor Brown, we revised the curriculum on Humans Rights and Use of Force and that created the Human Rights and Use of Force Policy that we have been imparting to police officers across the country. We also recognise that we need to bring a broader scope into it and we engaged again human rights and we are looking at particularly throughout this week, from the executive level as well, we’ll have sessions for the senior officers so that not only the junior ranks are sensitized on policing from a human rights perspective, but the commanders who will give the instructions that they recognise that it is important to put human rights at the basis of what we do.”


The workshop is being done in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights which is providing technical cooperation assistance. Johan Olhagen is the Human Rights Officer for the Global Policies and Security Forces Team.

Johan Olhagen

Johan Olhagen, Human Rights Officer, Global Policies & Security Forces Team, OHCHR

“A lot of work has already been done in the Belize police, but we are going to study a little bit more in detail how in particular areas we can learn from some of the global practices in human rights and what room there are for working on some of those practices here in Belize.”


It’s an approach that looks beyond the crime committed against an individual, but whether the rights of the citizenry, including police officers themselves, are violated while carrying out the mandate of the department. Human rights should enhance the work of the department.


DCP Bart Jones

“We must not see human rights or human rights concern as a deterrent to our jobs, but to enhance our professionalism. We recognise that when in fact that a person’s rights were not observed in the initial stages of an investigation, it could affect the case at the end of the day. So all of this is…of course we’ve had the unfortunate incidents where persons would have lost their lives while in police custody or interacting with police and certainly that is also one of the driving forces behind the commissioner’s push to ensure that officers are more sensitized.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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