Police in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville have committed to furthering the promotion and protection of human rights through their role as duty bearers.
This commitment follows a series of human rights and law enforcement workshops conducted in Buka, Arawa and Buin over 13 to 22 March 2019. Led by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the training was also supported by Erwin Maritua, Chief Training Instructor of the Bomana Police Training College, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The workshop enabled participants to strengthen their capacity to apply human rights in their daily responsibilities at their duty stations in the context of the referendum on the future political status of Bougainville,whose polling is scheduled to start on 12 October 2019.
During his opening remarks in the workshop in Buka, the OHCHR Human Rights Adviser to the UN Country Team, Kedar Poudyal, stressed the importance of the training, saying that, “The Referendum in itself is a human right under civil and political rights. The police has an important role as a duty bearer to maintain peace and order at different phases of the referendum in Bougainville.”
A total of 67 participants attended the trainings. Over a quarter of the participants were female police officers, and 24 participants were Community Auxiliary Police. The workshop centred on the role of police in the promotion and protection of human rights and best practices around the world.
During the closing ceremony in Buka, Deputy Commissioner of Police and Chief of Bougainville Police Service, Francis Tokura, told participants:“I want to see the implementation of human rights knowledge and skills in your working station so that there will be no complaint about the role of the Bougainville Police Service”.
OHCHR has been working closely with Bomana Police Training College on human rights since 2015. These workshops were delivered as part of the Gender Youth Promotion Initiative, a Peace building project implemented jointly by OHCHR with UN Women and UNFPA, to promote the empowerment and participation of women, youth, and persons with disabilities in the referendum.