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VOLUME I S S U E

04 02

DECEMBER 2010

Rights Review this issue Counterpoint: Canada and the DRIP P. 6 The Right to Water P. 7 Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence P.10 Christine overlooking Kabul in 2008

Advisory Board Louise Arbour Adrienne Clarkson Ronald Daniels Bill Graham Yash Ghai Harold Koh R. Roy McMurtry Cecilia Medina James Orbinski Robert Prichard Bob Rae Ken Wiwa

Faculty Advisory Committee Audrey Macklin Rebecca Cook Trudo Lemmens Patrick Macklem Mariana Moto Prado Judith McCormack

Focus Feature: Canada and Refugees P.12

The Need for Afghan National Police Reform Christine Wadsworth, first year, University of Toronto, Faculty of Law After three decades of war, Afghanistan’s government institutions are weak and dysfunctional. The stabilization and reconstruction of Afghanistan remains far from complete. One of the most spectacular failures of the Afghan mission is the training of the Afghan National Police (ANP). The ANP is widely viewed as a corrupt, ineffective, and untrustworthy institution. Members of the ANP have been implicated in bribery, extortion, kidnapping and abuse. The ANP have taken high casualties and have been increasingly targeted by insurgents. A number of factors contributed to the failure of ANP training efforts. The Afghan National Army was seen as the priority in the first few years of the Afghan mission and received the bulk of support and resources. From the beginning, ANP training missions have suffered from low numbers of international trainers. The popular mantra in Afghanistan has become “no trainers, no transition”. The lack of a cohesive training ideology or consensus on the ANP’s purpose has been an obstacle to creating an effective police force. The Germans and European Union believed the ANP should serve a civilian policing function in communities, promoting law and order and upholding the rule of law. However, the American police model envisioned the ANP as more of a paramilitary force that could be used to support counterinsurgency operations. Critics of this model argue that counterinsurgency work detracts from the police’s specialized role in protecting local communities. Pervasive corruption in the Ministry of the Interior (MOI), which runs the ANP, is another obstacle to reform. There have been numerous allegations that the MOI and police are involved in organized crime and the opium trade. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) describes a complex network of payments between traffickers, police chiefs, and officials who provide political protection for traffickers in exchange for money. Factional networks and drug traffickers try to obtain positions in the MOI and ANP to give

them access to bribes, particularly along key drug smuggling routes. These individuals attempt to co-opt state institutions to facilitate their illegal activities. Local power dynamics have also corrupted the ANP. Many Afghans believe the police abuse their coercive powers in the service of local elites. Patronage systems are ingrained in the hierarchy of the MOI and in local policing. Provincial police chiefs often appoint their local militia commanders as district police chiefs and incorporate militia members into the local police force. Giving these militia members official positions of power, arming and training them, increases their legitimacy and influence over communities. Another catalyst of corruption is the low pay that police officers receive. Low pay leads police to look for alternative sources of income such as bribes, extortion, and involvement in the narcotics trade. Recently, the MOI increased police officers’ basic salary in an attempt to rectify this problem. Longevity pay has also been created to reward long-term service. High rates of illiteracy have posed significant problems for training. Illiterate officers cannot carry out basic policing functions such as reading drivers’ licenses and reviewing identification. High rates of illiteracy contribute to the perception that the ANP is not a professional force. Literacy training has been incorporated into basic training, but this is not sufficient for individuals who have no formal education. Without a functioning judicial system, the ANP is limited in its ability to fight crime and provide stability. The Afghan justice system is weak, suffers from corruption, processes complaints slowly if at all, and is known for the widespread impunity that has become characteristic of many Afghan institutions. Employees of the justice system are inadequately educated and poorly paid. There is little coordination be(Continued on page 16)

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Rights review, volume 4, issue 2 fall 2010  

Rights review, volume 4, issue 2 fall 2010  

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