Before December 2nd 2014, forty-eight years old Hawa Sheikh Mohamoud, had never heard that respect for Human Rights applies even to the Al-Shebaab female prisoners she supervises when performing her job as custodial officer in Mogadishu. “When the al-Shebaab detainees fight among each other or create other disturbances I just beat them up. I did assume this was the right thing to do. I will try and talk them into things from now”, said the well-built lady during a coffee break of the “Judicial Protection Training Course” organized in Mogadishu by UNDP, with the participation of EUCAP Nestor, AMISOM, UNSOM and UNMAS she was attending. Hawa Sheikh Mohamoud just finished listening to the Human Rights session held by EUCAP Nestor Senior police expert Paul Landers.
The ten day course held at the SKA compound in Mogadishu International Airport ended on December 3rd.
Attending were approximately fifty Prison Officers, fifteen Police and ten Attorney General close protection specialists tasked with the safely and security of courthouses and judicial officials. Nine of the participants were female Prison Officers serving in Mogadishu. Some of the trainees were in their early 20s, others over 40 years old.
“The course was set up to ensure that the protection agencies know their duties and responsibilities in light of the recent assassinations of judges” explained the event coordinator Peter Faulhaber from UNDP. The EUCAP Nestor experts conducted lectures in Leadership and in Human Rights in relation to the use of force. Other topics covered were Emergency and Evacuation Procedures, Body Search, and First Aid.
The majority of the Somali officers participating in this training event learned about these topics for the first time. The lively interaction with the trainers marked the high degree of interest of the local officers engaging with international experts.
Discussions with questions and answers on the Right not to be tortured, as well as the characteristics that make a good leader took place between EUCAP Nestor experts and their Somali students.
“There are lots of wheels in a watch. If you take just one out, that same watch will stop working” said EUCAP Nestor expert Peter Markus ahead of the closing ceremony of the course, congratulating the Somali officers for their lively contributions and underlying the need for security agencies to work in harmony to gain efficiency.
“Just remember how you would like your mother, brother, sister, son or daughter treated if arrested” was the final message EUCAP Nestor expert Paul Landers delivered the students. A message universally understandable.
Unfortunately the violence that occurred on December 3rd near the gates at Mogadishu International Airport prevented visiting Guests’ movement to the venue where the closing ceremony of the training took place.
The incident, that forced student and trainers to reach a safe area and temporarily interrupt the activities, was a reminder of the difficult environment that Somali security sector officers and International actors engaging in Somalia to support them, have to live and work with on a daily bases.
EUCAP Nestor is a civilian EU mission, under the auspices of the Common Security and Defence Policy, which assists host countries in the Horn of Africa and Western Indian Ocean region in strengthening their capacity to ensure maritime security and in particular to fight piracy.