Developing a human rights manual for police officers

Moises Nazario Pereira works in the Human Rights Education and Promotion department at the Provedoria for Human Rights and Justice of Timor-Leste. He’s working on developing a human rights manual for police officers during his fellowship at the Institute in Lund.    

Why are you working on a human rights manual for police?

We know that police officers commit the highest number of human rights violations in our country. We have that data and we’ve seen the documents and complaints.

The manual will be for us, as educators and trainers, to use to train the police officers about human rights. Police officers need to know that they should protect and promote human rights.

What do you hope the manual can change?

In my opinion, many police officers don’t have enough knowledge about human rights. Some think it’s normal to detain people who haven’t done anything wrong or to use excessive force.

I think the manual will be very useful because many of these police officers graduated from high school recently and have only a very basic knowledge of human rights for policing. Even if they have a lot of experience working as police officers, most have little knowledge about human rights and have not completely implemented them into their daily lives. So it’s good for us to give them this training now so they learn how to be professional police.


How are you conducting your research?

Before I develop the manual, I have to do research from resources and books here, as well as from my institution and from UN materials. I’m meeting with other researchers at RWI and my fellowship colleagues here to learn more and network. I’ve been using the RWI library and am finding great resources on human rights policies.

I’m writing the project in English here and then it will be translated once I’m home.

After that, we will start to train police officers. We have around 1.3 million people in the country but not many police officers. Last month, the police recruited 500 new police. We plan to train the new recruits and police officers sometime in 2015.

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