Police, gendarmerie, and customs, all engaged in the fight against corruption in Burkina Faso
Aware of the fundamental role that police, gendarmerie and customs play in addressing security challenges in the Sahel region, UNODC technically supports these defense and security forces. Part of this support focuses on capacity building in terms of developing strategies to promote integrity and the fight against corruption within these services.
From 22 to 23 March 2017, a national workshop on "Police, Gendarmerie and Customs: integrity and combating corruption" was organized in Ouagadougou, in cooperation with the High Authority for State Control and Anti-Corruption (in French, " Autorité Supérieure de Contrôle de l'Etat et de Lutte contre la Corruption", ASCE-LC).
This workshop gathered Burkinabe national police and gendarmerie officers, as well as officers from customs services. Having participants serving in border and internal areas gave the workshop a wider coverage at the national level. It was therefore possible to take into account working conditions in both cities and more remote areas of the country. This will allow for the development of more realistic and pertinent strategies.
Civil society also took part in the workshop. The National Network for the fight Against Corruption ( Réseau National de Lutte Anti-Corruption - REN-LAC) presented the main findings of its research conducted since 2000, and contributed to lead the workshop, along with UNODC and the ASCE-LC.
Throughout the plenary sessions and work in groups, the workshop provided an opportunity to assess: (1) the challenges related to corruption within police, gendarmerie and customs ; (2) the existing efforts in the fight against corruption within defense and security forces ; and (3) the strategies required to more effectively fight against corruption.
Throughout the discussions, weaknesses were identified concerning prevention, control (both at the internal and external level), and repression of corruption within these forces. By looking at examples of successful initiatives in the fight against corruption within police forces, notably in Rwanda, the participants discussed the key features of institutional strategies, as well as immediate actions aimed to increase the levels of integrity within their respective institutions.
The workshop led to the adoption of final conclusions, including recommendations for national authorities regarding prevention, internal and external control, and technical assistance.
Based on these discussions, during the upcmong months a national expert will develop a proposal for an institutional strategy against corruption for each service. A second workshop will be organized to validate and adopt these strategies, ensuring that they are the result of a participatory process.
In line with the United Nations Convention against Corruption, requiring that each State party promotes integrity, honesty and accountability of public agents, including police, gendarmerie and customs officers, this meeting is held within the framework of a process launched by UNODC (within its Sahel Programme) with the organization in Niamey, Niger, on 13 and 14 October 2015, of a regional workshop on police forces and the fight against corruption in the Sahel.
Following the recommendations adopted during this workshop, notably regarding UNODC support to the development and implementation of national strategies against corruption within the police and other national security forces, UNODC has started to implement these actions at the national level in Burkina Faso.
This decision, aligned with the commitment and the interest demonstrated by the Burkinabe institutions, also benefits from a favorable national context, as two anti-corruption laws were adopted in 2015 in this country.
This workshop in Burkina Faso was organized and held thanks to the financial support of the United States of America to the Sahel Programme.