Roundtable on GBV in Lebanon: NGOs and Law Enforcement Officers Speak Out
Omar Nashabe is a criminal justice specialist and researcher.
Vol 42, Issue 1 (2018) | Article | Published: 1st of May 2018 | DOI:10.32380/alrj.v42i1.1787
Copyright: This is an Open Access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.
Al-Raida is pleased to publish the thematic discussion of a roundtable that took place in September 2017 within the context of the project “Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Personnel on Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response” funded by the Dutch Embassy in Lebanon. The project trained local law enforcement personnel on how to effectively prevent and appropriately respond to cases of gender-based violence (GBV), with attention to ensuring justice for survivors. The project was implemented by the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) in partnership with the Lebanese Internal Security Forces (ISF) Training Academy and the General Security (GS). The roundtable focused on the processes and outcomes of this project, alongside other GBV prevention and response programming being conducted by civil society and government partners across Lebanon.
The session facilitator was Colonel Elie Al Asmar, head of the research and studies division at the Internal Security Forces (ISF). The attendees included: Colonel Ziad Kaedbey, head of the training division at the ISF and a project trainer; Suzanne Jabbour, director of the Restart Center for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence and Torture; Joelle Cherfane, social worker and shelter manager for migrant domestic workers at Caritas; Noha Roukoss, director of the awareness and training division at Caritas Migrant Center; Omar Nashabe, a researcher; Manar Zaiter, lawyer and human rights activist; Noelle Moawad, the assistant coordinator of the detention program at Restart Center; Priscilla Absy, project manager at ABAAD; Lama Kelzan, coordinator of monitoring, delivery and evaluation at ABAAD; Zeina Halloul, a social worker at the Restart Center detention program; First Lieutenant Dergham Tarabay, a training division officer at the ISF; First Lieutenant Mohammed Hammoud, a training division officer at the ISF; Amal Farhat, director of AFEL and GBV case management advisor at ABAAD; Bassima Roumani, coordinator of the children’s legal department at Himaya; Sandra Manachi, head of the capacity building, research and development department at Himaya; Faten Abu Chacra, coordinator of the domestic violence unit at KAFA; Lina Abirafeh, director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) at the Lebanese American University (LAU); and Carol Khater, Program Officer at IWSAW-LAU.
Colonel Elie Al Asmar: The purpose of this roundtable is to highlight each of your organizations and to discuss the projects you have all done in collaboration with the ISF, with the aim to identify best practices, recommendations for future work, and ultimately, how we can sustain these partnerships in the future. This roundtable is held under the rubric of the project “Capacity Building for Law Enforcement Personnel on Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response” in collaboration with the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World (IWSAW) and the Dutch Embassy. Over the next two days, we will listen to presentations from each of you on your work with the ISF, training programs and activities, and any suggestions or recommendations for systemic GBV training within the ISF. Our ultimate goal here is to steer clear of any potential repetition or duplication of earlier trainings or projects, to avoid wasting valuable time and resources.
Faten Abou Chacra: Our goal is very clear: institutionalization. In other words, it is important to us that government institutions take charge, coordinate, manage, and choose how to operate in relation to specific issues, such as GBV. There is also the issue of whether or not there should be coordination between institutions: To what extent has clear and transparent coordination been achieved between internal ISF departments? Between the ISF and other organizations? Between those of us who work with the ISF? We should focus on providing trainings at the ISF Academy that complement each other, and ensure that we are not all giving trainings on the same subjects.
Al Asmar: There are those whose job it is to conduct studies based on academic lessons and experiments, and there are those who take on practical experiences on the ground. I believe that when we all work together, we will create a rich product in the future and this will enrich future training.
Lina Abirafeh: IWSAW is at the intersection of academia and activism and covers a broad range of areas, including formal education, applied research, and development projects. In light of our work on the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325), we wanted to focus on supporting human rights actors in Lebanon, specifically their capacity to advocate for and raise awareness on the importance of responding to GBV in Lebanon. We wanted to develop something that could provide people with the necessary information on GBV, gender and women’s rights, the status of women and girls in Lebanon that was practical, boosted technical skills, and that could be put into direct action. Based on this, we designed a program of 10 courses, five of which cover gender issues in development settings, and five that cover gender and GBV in humanitarian settings. These courses give participants expert knowledge of international best practices related to GBV protection and response; GBV holistic care (case management); collecting rigorous data on GBV in emergencies; and gender mainstreaming at both the institutional and project levels. The Gender in Development and Humanitarian Assistance (GDHA) certificate also includes three specializations, each including an additional five courses: the one that participants took as a part of this project was the specialization on GBV.
Al Asmar: I want to mention that the program took place from February 13 to April 6. It included 35 ISF and GS officers, women and men. We first opened the training program with a quick brainstorming on the definition of GBV and other key concepts. After this, subject-specific trainings began, including a course called “Human Dignity and Human Rights: between Texts and Practice”. In this course, participants were briefed on the history of human rights, including their philosophical tenets, and compared the Arab Charter on Human Rights and the International Bill of Human Rights. Participants also learned about the evolution of the human rights legal framework and its development at the local, regional, and international levels.
My colleague Colonel Ziad Kaedbey spoke about the most prominent challenges facing human rights both in Lebanon and beyond. He talked about corruption and the different social patterns that have an impact on gender and sex discrimination. He also talked about democracy, human rights, the relation between rights and duties, and the role of security institutions in promoting democracy. Dr. Omar Nashabe spoke of the moral and legal conduct of the police, the police’s work in democratic systems, the police and non-discrimination, and police performance. He illustrated how police investigations should be carried out with transparency, objectivity, impartiality, and without any gender discrimination. He also discussed civil chaos, states of emergency, and armed conflicts, highlighting groups that need added protection or special treatment – by this I mean juveniles, women, and other victims of armed conflict. Manar Zaiter provided an in-depth discussion on gender and the status of women in Lebanon, including the various theories and practices related to women’s rights and gender equality. She talked about the situation in Lebanon, the main challenges, and the opportunities we have to improve gender equality. Zaiter also spoke about the effects of gender discrimination – including physical, sexual, and legal violence – on women and girls in Lebanon, including how this can affect their psychosocial well-being and health more generally. Finally, Zaiter gave an overview of the Lebanese legal framework in relation to women’s rights and gender equality, including its legal obligations as a signatory to numerous international legal conventions, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Torture, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking known as the Palermo Protocol, and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Brigitte Chelebian, Director of Justice without Borders, discussed the Lebanese legal framework as well, focusing on Law No. 422 on the Protection of Juveniles in Violation of the Law or Exposed to Danger. Chelebian addressed the obstacles preventing children from enjoying the rights accorded to them by international human rights laws, specifically issues related to custody, the relationship between a mother and her children, Personal Status Codes, and child custody cases. Chelebian also discussed the Anti-Trafficking Law, and its connection with international conventions.
The courses progressed from theory to practice. In my course, we discussed the role of the judicial police department in countering sex-based crimes. I talked about the legal framework for countering human trafficking in Lebanon, the indicators of trafficking, and techniques for investigating trafficking. We spoke about armed conflict, specifically the victims of such conflict, the position of the international human rights framework, and the role of police during armed conflict. We then dedicated some time to tackle a rather thorny and sensitive topic, which is how the ISF deals with homosexuals. We adopted a very objective and legal approach and were thus able to agree, with the trainees, on how to deal with this group. In fact, we consider that there are certain articles that discuss how homosexuals are dealt with. There are certain articles that consider certain acts as crimes; but there is no text that criminalizes people making their own choice or having a particular tendency. Since there is no punishment without law, then there is no punishment in this case, and it is not deemed a crime to be transgender. We adopted an approach based on treating these persons as human beings and discussed how to implement the law when they commit a crime. Afterward, the discussion shifted toward the role of the security sector in countering GBV and violence based on social status. Dr. Nashabe analyzed the content of relevant texts and mentioned a number of practical field experiments conducted by gender experts. He then went over the gender-related laws. This was all discussed in the context of performing our duties as a judicial department. Next, Dr. Nashabe addressed the United Nations standards for police response to violence against women, and a discussion arose around these standards and their application to the ISF and the GS in Lebanon.
Afterward, Dr. Nashabe taught the officers about scientific research and its techniques. Dr. Nashabe also dedicated an entire session to prisons in Lebanon. He talked about the organization of prisons which is based on a decree issued in the 1940s; current prison conditions in Lebanon; and places of detention. Special focus was placed on women’s prisons in Lebanon. He discussed the most basic rules for the treatment of prisoners and about setting these rules in motion. Dr. Nashabe then discussed sex and gender and its impact on prison reform and the penal system. Finally, a discussion was held on gender-based violence that takes place in stations, prisons, and detention centers. Afterwards, Colonel Kaedbey devoted a very big share to the training of trainers. The goal is to focus on the trainees and then teach them how to play roles; how role play is done in training sessions. Dr. Nashabe discussed the experience of police in several countries and police’s experience in changing the vision towards domestic violence and gender-based violence. He talked about the Turkish, Armenian, Rwandan, and American experiences.
Before we begin, I want to introduce our fellow ISF Academy officers with us today. These officers are from a division within the ISF that oversees the development of all trainings and courses offered here. This office works in coordination with the officers at the division of research and studies, who further develop the curricula before trainings are administered to ISF officers. They will be joining us over the next two days.
First Lieutenant Dergham Tarabay: First, I would like to discuss the different types of trainings we conduct. There are three different levels of training: the first is basic training offered to those entering military or police service; the second includes specialization courses meant to enhance officers’ knowledge and skills once they have completed basic training; the third level is domain-specific, meaning, officers working in certain specialty divisions are required to take courses specific to that sector. There is an exhaustive needs analysis that goes into the creation of each and every course included in the training programs. For example, let’s take the example of a gendarme training program. Gendarmes are not all positioned at the same station; they may work in squads, with traffic police, or in an emergency unit. So the first step is to identify where the Directorate will appoint the new gendarmes, and subsequently, what trainings already exist in each of these domains. Each unit is different in size and is impacted by the location it is located in, for example, in the North or in the Beqaa. Once we have identified these preliminary factors, we visit the unit for whom we are designing the training and study the duties they complete each day, and which skills are most important for their work. Once all of this initial research has been done, only then can we begin discussing the creation of a new training module. This entire process also does not account for the proposals that different divisions themselves have put together and presented to us for consideration, for example, to hold specialty trainings in Beirut on a certain subject.
Once a training has been created, we work closely with trainees to oversee the training itself, modifying it based on their feedback. This is then used to modify the second curriculum; we do not judge the success of the training solely on the new competencies of trainees, but also ask for a written and practical evaluation of the training. Once these preliminary evaluations are collected, we hold a group discussion to futher explore some of the issues raised. This is the current process we use when developing new curricula and training programs.
Suzanne Jabbour: Good morning. Restart Center started working with the ISF in 2005 when we founded a program for prisons. [O]ur experience is more focused on the topic of torture, particularly torture that falls under the Convention against Torture. We believe that any change that we aim to accomplish must be integrated [into both government institutions, and society more generally].
In 2010, we decided to re-evaluate our training experience: we tried to shift from project-oriented to ad-hoc activities, and to be both proactive and reactive. We shifted from general, comprehensive training to more specialized training. Instead of training personnel from all departments, we began to give the judicial police specialized trainings in the form of a 9-day course. The course addresses how to interrogate children and women. The training also [addressed relevant international standards]. Moreover, we covered psychological characteristics [of] women [in prisons], the identity of women who are inclined to commit crimes, the reasons for committing crimes, and similarly, the identity of children [who commit crimes]. We even addressed the case of children with special needs, since the judicial police are not specialized in dealing with [for example] deaf children and interrogating them. We actually learned ourselves from the judicial police during these 9 days rather than just teaching them. We understood how practices take place and how the police learn new interrogation techniques: through learning by doing, [instead of through] a formal training curriculum… [T]his course taught us to always evaluate and, rather than keep information to ourselves, [work collaboratively with the ISF]. As a matter of fact, a [final] report was sent to the judicial police commander after the completion of the judicial police training. For example, regarding gender sensitivity, it turned out that there were women in the trainings who [were more advanced than men] [in terms of] their knowledge and capabilities, yet they were never assigned to take over an interrogation. This is a form of discrimination.
I will give an example of our work and partnership with LAU. It was a wonderful experience. Together, we trained 150 members of the ISF [from various sectors] across Lebanon. Then, based on the evaluation and testing of the attendees, fifteen of them were selected to undergo a training of trainers... In a week, the participants learned about training techniques in addition to the training material they were taught prior to that... [Not only did we] work on changing their convictions, practices, and behaviors, but we focused on increasing technical skills and capacities. This was our experience with LAU over the course of two years. We then saw that this was not enough, and that we needed to [change our approach]... So, we sought the establishment of [different] training curricula... We conducted an assessment of needs and then worked on the curriculum. Today, Dr. Omar Nashabe is working with us; he is an expert at LAU and also at Restart. With support from the Academy, we prepared a comprehensive curriculum. The purpose of this curriculum is to recruit ISF members dedicated to working in prisons. We are aiming at becoming more focused on needs and at responding to these needs. We are currently developing a unified health protocol. We are also not working on it single-handedly: we sought the assistance of officers whose work is linked to prisons, as well as a medical team that operates in institutions. As for subjects, we are specialized in issues related to torture, persons deprived of their liberty, and detention centers. We address all these topics during the training.
Al Asmar: Now, we will move on to the presentation of KAFA. Our partnership started with the launch of the national campaign for legislation against domestic violence. We met, committed to working together, and began drafting the law in 2007. Since then, KAFA has been a constant partner of the ISF, and we are of course building for future projects.
Abou Chacra: In the past few years... we specifically began addressing the issue of domestic violence. In the first roundtable in 2012, [we discussed the issue] since we felt at some point that there are procedures and matters that the ISF can adopt, pursuant to the laws in force, regardless of whether the law against domestic violence had been passed by Parliament or not. During the trainings, some participants would ask questions to which the answers were not very clear. For this reason, roundtables would be held with judges and public prosecutors in particular. So, in brief, an educational pamphlet on the issue of domestic violence was prepared. The pamphlet was then adopted by the Academy. At the same time, the pamphlet was under constant modification with regards to the issues we were working on – [we wanted a pamphlet that would] transmit information and knowledge without boring the participants. Two rooms were equipped for training at the ISF Academy. Interrogation rooms for domestic violence cases were equipped in all judicial departments and some ISF centers in the Beqaa area were equipped as well. We also worked with the Directorate on the measures that must be taken according to law, and commitments that must be respected based on officers’ service authorizations. Nonetheless, when these officers go back to their centers, [they faced] other obstacles. The process that we followed – starting with the preparation of the pamphlet, moving to the performance of the pilot, then to the first set of trainings, and eventually to selecting a final group of people – resulted in two groups of trainers. A [Training of Trainers] was carried out, and then these trainers began to give the training themselves. KAFA is still present, sometimes calling for a pause, so that the work can be reevaluated. Coaching is provided by third parties, and then trainings continue until we reach a point where these trainers would be present at the Academy and the materials available as well. Even if KAFA is not present anymore, the work continues. The number of trained officers and members, including workshops, given to ISF members either in centers, stations, or control rooms is 1,160. With the remaining trainings for this year, the number will rise to 1,235. We have launched awareness campaigns and media campaigns together, one of which is the “We have a mission” campaign. Also, after the law against domestic violence was passed, we distributed flyers called “Zalfa”. A national survey was conducted with IPSOS in 2016, and the questions asked revealed that 55% of people who witness a domestic violence incident first think of calling the police. This is a very big indicator of the work accomplished.
Al Asmar: I just want to say that I was among the trainers who participated in preparing the pamphlet. We attempted to give a course that addresses the needs of personnel in practical departments. For instance, how should officers treat and interrogate the victim, and how should they open and close the interrogation room door for the victim. We tried to focus on such details that are in the victim’s interest. We highlighted some of the sexual crimes as well, in order to identify their legal framework and the way they should be handled by our military personnel entrusted with interrogation. I will now give the floor to Caritas.
Noha Roukoss: Our cooperation with the ISF entails various matters and not just the issue of training in peace and in conflict. We have a long-lasting cooperation with prisons, and we are still working there on countering human trafficking, following up on investigations, and referring cases to safe homes. This means that we head to the Hbeish police station and attend interrogations in order to provide protection, especially for domestic workers. We also cooperate in awareness campaigns on several subjects, and the ISF are present with us on the committee for aiding female migrant domestic workers, as well as the national cell dedicated to migrant workers and countering human trafficking. This cell was created by Caritas, and we are launching it again this year. We also cooperate with the ISF on [various trainings]. From 2009 to 2016, we trained 3,476 ISF officers and members. We introduced the issue of immigration, migrants, and female domestic workers, especially to new members. It was very important that they become aware of human trafficking, so they would know how to properly refer, and help victims of human trafficking that they meet on the street. We also offer training on interrogation techniques and how to detect human trafficking. Of course, there was a training of trainers as well in order to reinforce the existing core of trainers at the ISF, especially at the Academy... We also held a training session on the Protection Sphere... Last year, we gave courses on the topic of refugees and international laws. In these sessions, there were discussions particularly on the subject of SGBV, as well as women and children most at risk of abuse during this period... Today, there are new subjects that we are developing and improving.
Why are we here? We are here to cooperate and address the issues that the ISF personnel need to be informed about so that they can improve... We do not want them to take trainings only to obtain certificates; they rather have to really absorb the courses and later implement them. In another project, we worked on enhancing the policies of human rights practices in women’s prisons with Diakonia. A guidance manual for the management of women’s prisons, a training manual for female prison guards, and a summary booklet of the training manual were issued. A training was held for trainers of women prison guards.
Ghida Anani: I just want to ask for clarifications about the sessions that were held [by Caritas] that included large numbers. They were one of the pioneering experiences of Caritas who was the first to [conduct such large trainings]. Was a pre/ post [test] done at the time to find out how effective the training was, and to what extent it affected the personnel’s skills and attitudes? Did this experience at the time undergo some kind of impact assessment, and how is it possible to build on it? Was any assessment made that we can build and base our work on in order to carry on work in another area?
Roukoss: In the small workshops, Caritas carried out an assessment; but in the big workshops, where new personnel attended training, the curriculum was prepared by the Directorate. So, they should have the assessment. However, you directly see the result when you meet one of the trainees on the street, and they tell you that they have applied what they learned. They learn even if they take a small workshop. It is very important that when these persons first become part of the ISF, they acquire certain background knowledge, even if it just consists of brief ideas from several organizations and about several issues. Then, they feel more comfortable. For example, if they see a boy next to them begging for money, they know where to refer him. After taking this workshop, they know that Caritas, Afif Osseiran Foundation, and other institutions are ready to help. This makes ISF members feel more at ease.
Al Asmar: Perhaps what you have just touched on could become a subject of research for us tomorrow. We can add this to the recommendations: how to assess the impact of each training and partnerships with other organizations. Ghida Anani is the director of ABAAD. Our experience with this organization also dates back to several years ago since ABAAD was established.
Anani: Our experience of coordination [and cooperation] alongside the Colonel began in 2005 with our work on the issue of child sexual abuse and the protection of children before we even dug into issues of domestic violence. Huge efforts were made in developing, with the Higher Council of Childhood, a national plan to protect children from violence and abuse... We address public health issues in order to achieve some kind of change, whether in opinion or behavior. The model is set on two axes of action with the ISF: [first], making officers aware that violence is unacceptable and is a crime; [second], creating some sort of behavioral change in officers’ responses in regards to interrogation, reporting, and following up. The echo that reached ABAAD’s reporting centers as well as safe shelter centers constituted a chance for evaluation: Is our knowledge enough for us to be doing things differently? Does knowledge alone bring change in opinion or in performance and behavior, which is the goal we are all striving to achieve with the judicial police? Consequently, the Directorate adopted [a] collaborative journey. This journey was taken over several stages. First, we conducted a cap survey which is a kind of fact-finding study of knowledge, opinions, and behaviors, aimed at showing [the officers’] [opinions] on the issue of domestic violence, as well as [toward] the victim and offender. The findings of this survey [helped improve] the training program whose objective is not only to enhance capabilities and build on previous efforts, but also to bring change. We intended to complete the trainings previously held by fellow organizations which informed participants of the law and of their duty under the law. We aimed to carry out complementary work that creates an anti-violence attitude, seriousness in officers’ interrogations, and commitment to this course of action... The training addressed the systemic approach in dealing with the violence dynamic regardless of who the offender is and who the victim is... The training focused on the complainant, who is the victim and who might be, at times, a child or a man, [and the] intersection between the complainant and the party receiving the complaint. The training was also heavily focused on how to deal with a man who has committed a violent act and who goes or is summoned to the police station. This is essential, followed by the action taken by the public prosecutor whether he’s referring to rehabilitation or not, according to Law No. 293; this forms a cycle. This resulted in a training pamphlet that is available on [our] website. This pamphlet explains the judicial police’s main role in dealing with the dynamics of violence, and shows where behavioral change can be made. Afterwards, we conducted a pre/posttest every time in order to evaluate the acquisition of information and the change in attitudes following each course. We always presented the results to the Academy with recommendations. A fundamental need surfaced during the program, one that all the detectives were asking about: how to deal with a child if they are the victim or the offender. Our colleagues at Himaya presented the Academy with a training program on this issue. So, we held intensive coordination sessions with them in order to establish a complementarity between our three-day-long training and Himaya’s program for the same personnel. Consequently, the same personnel who attended the three-day-long training, followed, with colleagues from Himaya, a fourth day of training. With this added component, we presented the administration here with a plan on how to bring this change. During this stage, we worked with 340 members who attended the pilot training and testing. Subsequently, a mid-cap was performed. In other words, we stopped in the middle of the program and evaluated the progress of the trainees in order to determine which trainees could continue on to particpate in the second stage of the training. This is the track concerned with what we called the social, psychological considerations and the systemic approach in dealing with the issue of violence, particularly with perpetrators of violence, and it constitutes the first axis.
The second axis, which is broader, consists of crimes of sexual violence, which mainly include rape. The need for addressing these crimes also emerged from reporting and safe shelter centers. The primary objective is to have the victims of sexual violence report to police stations, organizations, or hospitals. These three security, social, and medical establishments complement one another. We cannot work on referring cases to one another if a nucleus that joins us is not formed. We held a series of courses on the main messages to be delivered by clinical administrations in cases of sexual violence. In fact, there are 6 main messages that are deemed life-saving with regards to health. If these messages are not delivered to female victims and performed within a period of 72 or 112 hours, the victim might die because of the sexual assault. There is of course a psychological cost as well. Another series of courses was held with 180 ISF members, concerned with the basic messages related to sexual violence, but as we mentioned, this alone is not enough. We wanted to create sustainability inside the Academy. Therefore, a training of trainers was carried out with officers who originally had a medical background, so that they would sustain this training. On another front, we worked on the political aspect, creating a system of accountability so that the personnel would be committed to delivering these messages based on a binding service warrant. Through this warrant, the ISF member would give the victims all necessary information and refer them to the closest medical facility that has a pap kit at its disposal. A pap kit is a package of medication necessary for post-sexual assault treatment. The victims would also be referred to shelters or social and psychological support centers specialized in helping women who survive sexual assault. This also led to a number of sensitizing training courses on the one hand, and a training of trainers on the other. Another accomplishment that we are proud of achieving with the Directorate is the development of the service warrant which is a model warrant in how it deals with cases of sexual assault. A portion of the warrant is consecrated for human trafficking and another for cases of rape and sexual assault. We are [continuing] to [fine tune] our trainings in response to survey results, and we will perform an assessment of the program before moving on to a new stage.
Al Asmar: Now I want to invite Sandra Manachi to talk about Himaya’s work and experience with the ISF.
Sandra Manachi: I will briefly introduce Himaya. We specialize in child protection. Children are exposed to ill-treatment and danger regardless of the source of violence. When we talk about violence, we mean sexual, physical, and psychological violence, as well as negligence. Himaya works through two main programs – prevention and intervention – called immunity and flexibility. Intervention takes place through a psychological, social follow up. Today, we are going to talk particularly about our experience with the ISF. We started in May 2016... after sensing a need in relation to the interrogation of children at risk, we decided to work with the ISF on the issue of juveniles at risk. We worked with a group of 16 ISF members from different areas across Lebanon. The objective was to focus on the forms of violence, the issue of juveniles at risk of ill-treatment, social psychological interrogation techniques, awareness among personnel of their responsibilities as detectives, and the role of social workers during interrogations. After this training, the personnel expressed the importance of holding a training focused on the issue of children at risk, so that they would know how to deal with such children and learn the methods to be used during interrogations, such as child-friendly and effective communication techniques. In the second course, we cooperated with ABAAD. We tried to implement an intersection that would avoid any duplication of work, so that the training would be complementary and comprehensive. In this training, we focused mostly on the role of social workers, that of detectives, and coordination between both, as well as the legal aspect according to Law No. 422 on child protection. This program included two sessions. It included six training courses that involved more than 100 ISF members. In 2017, we had an experience with the training Academy with the Beirut police, in particular. A training course was held with the aim of promoting them to the position of detectives. The group consisted of 20 members. During this training, we also focused on the interrogation of children at risk. Whenever we give a training course, we conduct a pre/post-test, as a form of an evaluation. We noticed from the test that there was an increase in the amount of information. Personnel noted that they learned the most from communication techniques with children because this constituted a big challenge for them. They expressed that the information was very useful and more than 95% said that they will be able to put the information that they acquired during the training to use.
Bassima Roumani: Our goal was to push all judicial police personnel to feel that they have an essential role in protecting children... The judicial police are the first to face children victims and, to a certain extent, the first strangers to whom such children are to tell about the suffering they underwent or the violence they were subjected to. Therefore, detectives play a fundamental role in listening to children, reassuring them, receiving them, and taking part in their protection. So the police’s role is not limited to carrying out interrogations and doing the paperwork... There is also a responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the ISF Academy in institutionalizing this training, so that it would become part of the establishment and its property.
Al Asmar: I think we are all on the same page. Now, we will conclude the presentations with AFEL, represented by Amal Farhat.
Amal Farhat: The AFEL was the first to talk about social and judicial protection. We launched a training guide on this subject: it covers when to resort to the Judiciary and when to resort to the eco-systematic approach, in supporting families, in order to avoid resorting immediately to the Judiciary. Therefore, the first project we conducted with the ISF was carried out as a collaboration between the Union for the Protection of Juveniles in Mount Lebanon supported by Save the Children, Sweden. [Our] mission is to work with children who are subject to abuse, violence, or sexual harassment, with children who are at risk of delinquency, and with children who have learning difficulties and cannot attend regular schools. We seek to take precautions to prevent such children from working at a young age and to provide them with protection. We also strive to enable them to integrate properly into society, provide them with a means for protection, empower them, and help them become independent. These children work on themselves and make an effort to learn to say ‘no’. Therefore, our approach addresses the child, as well as the family, society and social institutions so that our work can be inclusive. Of course, we worked with the Ministry of Social Affairs and the Higher Council of Childhood. The internal center welcomes children who have been subjected to violence or are at direct risk of sexual harassment or physical violence. It also receives children who have been referred to us by a decision of the Union for the Protection of Juveniles or a juvenile judge, as well as children who seek our services. The goal is rehabilitating family and child so that the latter can go back to their family environment. We also have a special educational center in Bourj Hammoud for children who have learning difficulties such as dyslexia, who have been subjected to violence, or who did not enter school at the required age. This is the only free school in Lebanon that welcomes children with the aim of helping and directing them back to regular schools or teaching them a certain profession all the while protecting them from child labor and exploitation. More importantly, we work on peaceful conflict resolution because we are beginning to see children being aggressive over the color of their water bottles, the color of their t-shirts, their belonging, and their nationalities... The first project we worked on with the ISF targeted children between 6 and 18 years old, parents, and ISF personnel. The purpose of the project was to raise awareness about the Convention on the Rights of the Child, notification mechanisms, and situations where notifications should be made. We know that we still face a problem in the Lebanese mentality. For example, during the training in 2010, even though we gave a training, we would not have succeeded in delivering the information nor in applying children’s interrogation techniques had we not went out of the box and challenged our cultural principles, especially if we have a certain way of thinking. I still remember very well that it was 5 o’clock, and we were talking about the types of violence, including negligence. An ISF member looked at me and asked, ‘Ms., what time is it?’ I answered, ‘it’s 5 o’clock’. So he told me, ‘you are still giving this course at 5. In your opinion, is this not a form of negligence; don’t you have a family?’ I found this question provocative in a certain way, but it also opened my eyes to other matters. Regardless of how much we train, we still should start from an early age and there should be accountability with regards to the way the ISF treat people. I do not want to insult anyone, but people are not all the same; some grew up in an environment that is very accepting of violence. Consequently, this is unfortunately reflected in their interrogation techniques. We worked on this issue and trained 35 ISF members. The goal was to put an end to assaults on children in Naba’a, Bourj Hammoud, and Sin el Fil, in order to protect them. The specified objectives included providing protection for children who are victims of abuse and negligence, and increasing the knowledge of those who care for them. Here, we focused on the importance of treatment, the significance of social protection and that of judicial protection. We believe that parents have capabilities too, and that we should not separate a child from their family no matter what, except in case of danger. For this reason, we found that it was important to enhance parental skills by providing parents with means other than violence, empowering children who are at risk of danger, helping them protect themselves, and developing a vocational network in society, and this was achieved. A coordination committee was formed in Bourj Hammoud. It has been operating for about 15 years and working on this issue, particularly on raising public awareness about the system of referrals and improving the ability of ISF personnel in identifying the needed techniques and skills to address cases of ill-treatment in an appropriate manner. The targets in 2010 included 500 families, 800 children, and 35 ISF members. The training courses offered to the ISF personnel were on Law No. 422, the types and indicators of child abuse and dealing with children who have suffered violence. Some awareness sessions were also held for parents, and others for professionals. We even held trainings for teachers in public schools.
Al Asmar: Our presence and goal here today have brought me to the conviction and certainty that we need a training policy; we need institutionalization; we need sustainability in training. Although we used to succeed earlier and find positive results on the ground, everything was done spontaneously without an outlined strategy for trainings and activities. Now, ladies and gentlemen, we will hold an open discussion.
Lama Kelzan: I am the coordinator of documentation and evaluation of the program in ABAAD. I have a question for AFEL. Were there specific criteria for choosing the areas you work in, and how were they selected?
Farhat: To be honest, the choice was not based on [criteria]. The thing is that we are located in Sin el Fil, Bourj Hammoud, and Naba’a: we [wanted to deal with personnel working in our areas and the cases we see at our centers]. Colonel Al Asmar chose the departments as well as the office for the protection of morality, and the drug control office: this was one of the challenges because after the training courses, a new distribution of positions was issued. So, ISF members who had been trained were appointed to new positions. You talked about this same issue today: after 100 or 200 members are being trained, they are reappointed. This is a bigger challenge: how will the trained personnel carry on the mission they were trained for? However, when a training strategy is adopted within the ISF Academy, things will change. Our work in 2009-2010 was very primitive; still it was based on good intentions. To us, we were accomplishing achievements since we were training the ISF though, as I mentioned, there had been no bridge that linked us together. We had been afraid of the way we were going to be treated. You all know how a woman or child would be treated when they went to a police station. These were flaws, and we did our best to rectify the situation as much as we can. Today, a lot has changed.
Tarabay: Allow me to briefly comment on the direction of training that we are working on. In 2015, we were assigned to reorganize all training curricula. Of course, the training curricula we had at the ISF were a bit traditional. So, we took on a new approach called the qualifications approach. This approach builds all our needs that require training. We moved from theoretical lessons, only giving them briefly, to a more practical learning. This was the first step that we took, and we are trying to go further. This shows that your efforts have been fruitful. [Speakers] talked about the complementary knowledge that we need as a starting point. We have created new training models, some of which cover human rights, work ethics, dealing with citizens, and communication. We also presented cases: a case related to domestic violence which we gave as basic training and a case of human trafficking also given as basic training. Moreover, we addressed the treatment of prisoners, prison conditions, and prison management – what is meant by the latter is not management in itself but rather the manner prison personnel treat prisoners and their performance of their duties. We are trying to modify the training and develop more professional case studies for training. We, of course, haven’t been able to evaluate the impact of this work yet, but I personally believe that, with time, it will lead to good results. We all know that any situation that changes quickly and gives immediate results is prone to fail quickly as well. Therefore, change takes time.
Roumani: The training given to police in Beirut in order for them to become detectives was more than a wonderful experience. There was a lot of interaction. The police were very responsive and did more than just receive a first level training. They took the initiative to role-play and then give remarks. The fact that they were being promoted was very important and also constituted an incentive: they had the desire to specialize. To us, this entails a specialization in working with children at risk of violence regardless of its source, whether it be domestic violence or violence outside one’s house. Also, I will say this even though everything is being recorded: from the time I spent in police stations, I think that perhaps these police serving in the stations were not provided with their own basic rights with regards to their workplace. How can a policeperson who feels deprived of their rights be comfortable enough to put those who resort to him at ease?
Al Asmar: For someone to become an ISF detective, they first have to be in the rank of sergeant. They also have to be serving in a regional division, which is a police station, squad, investigation department, or judicial police office. Therefore, one cannot become a detective unless they meet these two conditions. Second, as concerns the conditions and suitable environment for detectives, you are right. This will constitute one of our strategic objectives within the strategic plan we are conceiving in the ISF. The plan will be launched early in 2018. We will discuss some of the projects that contribute to improving the environment, suitable conditions, and fundamental life necessities of ISF personnel so they can perform their duties as required. Please keep all of this in mind for making recommendations tomorrow.
Farhat: I would like to stress a very fundamental matter, based on my experience on the ground, whether with ABAAD or AFEL. Training is crucial indeed, but in a country like Lebanon, these problems are spread everywhere. At many times, depending on the police stations and the areas they are located in, children and women are being treated differently based on members’ discretion. I do not know how institutionalization can be installed or a certain law applied in order to prevent moving a child from one area to another where they will be treated better, unfortunately. There should be a unified method of treatment. We should not have to call Colonel Al Asmar or Colonel Kaedbey, for example, because we know them and are in contact with them, to ask for their intervention in such cases. We need to stop this practice. How? I do not know; but this is one of my recommendations.
Al Asmar: [T]hese regulations exist internally and institutionally. Warrants and directives exist. The problem is that not all members are receiving training. The ladies present here have talked about their experiences. In some, 3,000 officers were trained, in others 1,200, and in others 300. ISF members amount to a total of around 30,000 including members of different ranks, officers, and staff. So, the training has not been made [available to everyone] yet. However, through our cooperation with you, the trainings will include everyone. Subsequently, everything will be standardized on all levels.
Farhat: I am talking about an issue bigger than training, which is the issue of the [specific areas] where ISF personnel are present. I know that this issue has no political solution, but I have to mention it because these are the challenges that we face. The specificity of an area, the specificity of each person and their cultural views toward violence are challenges that we face. Perhaps, in some areas, if a child is slapped, the person who slaps them would be held accountable. On the contrary, in other areas, a child is whipped, and this is considered a disciplinary act. I am trying to be honest because these are problems we face daily on the ground.
Al Asmar: I can answer you quickly now. Tomorrow, as we prepare the recommendations, we will work toward standards with the public prosecution offices and juvenile courts. Some articles are being amended in the law, yet judges and public prosecutors are not aware of these amendments. For example, Article 186 on child discipline has been amended, but some people still do not know about this modification. They still talk about ‘public customs’, whereas the term has been removed from the law.
Roukoss: With regards to the strategy we are to discuss tomorrow, since every organization is specialized in an area, the strategy can be based on a series of trainings later on. For instance, Caritas works with foreigners and immigrants; another organization works with women; and yet another is concerned with domestic violence. Thus, we can cover all areas. Subjects can be developed according to every organization’s ability to help, up until the State becomes capable of providing all this.
Roumani: When the Directorate General of the ISF or Ministry of Interior announces a training course for volunteers in the ISF, there are training programs for the police on the use of weapons and on other security practices, and, of course, there are academic programs ready as well. Is it possible to include the training courses that each of the organizations here gave in the training programs from the very beginning, based on the Directorate’s evaluation? We do not have to wait until they become sergeants to train them. More will be gained if we train volunteers from the very beginning. Is this possible?
Tarabay: We are already giving trainings on an approach we have called the qualifications approach. In other words, we have three main areas in training based on the person’s rank and already existing qualifications: they either enter as a gendarme, a sergeant, or a lieutenant. For example, there are certain tasks that gendarmes do not carry out, especially with regards to interrogation. A gendarme does not take on an investigation file. Therefore, we do not train gendarmes on interrogation techniques but rather on communication methods. Some of the main topics that we have added to our program as I already mentioned include domestic violence, human trafficking, communication on all levels, and the treatment of prisoners. These subjects have been mainly integrated into our basic training program, but the content differs according to the trainees’ rank. Still, we will further work on this matter, of course, and add the courses you offered next time as we have already discussed. To be honest, sometimes we are tight on time, but we will surely improve our program. Every curriculum is subject to improvement and must be improved.
Colonel Ziad Kaedbey: I just want to elaborate on two things you asked about. Sometimes we cannot add these programs to our basic training for a reason. These programs are considered advanced and specialized, while the basic training, as you said, focuses on weapons training and militarizing the trainee. Some of these former civilians have piercings and spiky hairdos and so on. The first thing to be done is to teach them discipline and order. This is the first stage. Honestly, it has been proven that giving new enlistees specialized academic courses is ineffective...
I just want to underline the subject of the training that took place, which is genderbased violence. We faced difficulties on all levels: preparing the training itself, choosing the topics, deciding on content, and choosing how to deliver and give them. For example, some of the trainees were against the training: they would leave the training because they claimed that what we were teaching opposed their principles and traditions. This is a very important issue: as we were working on the educational pamphlet on domestic violence which the Academy has adopted, the Major General Director General received reviewers who read the pamphlet from cover to cover. They read every single word, criticized the pamphlet, and gave remarks on religious issues. The Major General summoned us and asked us to change our point of view. So we did and submitted the pamphlet again for review, and a second evaluation was conducted. We did the work all over again. So today, when we say that we prepared an educational pamphlet, please keep in mind that we exerted huge efforts to accomplish it, especially since we started working on the pamphlet before the law was even passed, as Colonel Al Asmar mentioned. It was perhaps the first time in its history that ISF made a proactive move. Second, we were on a podium once with one of the most brilliant judges in this field. This was before Law 293 was passed. While the judge was talking, a woman stood up and said, “Sir, if I am being beaten by my husband and am okay with it, why is it your business? You are a judge; so stay in your courtroom”. The judge was confused. I just wanted to highlight that this is one of the hardest types of trainings. We describe trainees in such training programs as suicidal; you cannot imagine the difficulty we faced in these training rooms, at the Institute and in other places as well.
Colonel Elie Al Asmar: Yesterday, each organization presented its experience. Today, the first subject we are going to start with is the lessons you have learned from your work and cooperation with the ISF throughout the years.
Group One: The first negative factor is the resistance of some of the participants in our training course to certain points. I can give a quick example: when we brought up the case of men who file complaints of assault against their wives, the attendees all cried: “What!!! A man filing a complaint against his wife! I would hit him again myself”. They still have not accepted the idea that a man may also be subjected to violence. Further, trainees tell us that what we are teaching is admirable yet cannot be implemented on the ground since our police stations and places of interrogation are not equipped properly. For instance, we tell trainees that when a woman wants to talk about rape, she must be taken to a separate room in order to respect confidentiality. However, ISF trainees respond by asking: “What room? The whole station is only made up of one room, and people are constantly coming in and out”. There is also the issue of distance: most of the training is done here [in Beirut]. Some trainees come from the Beqaa, others from the North, and others yet from the South. Moreover, we do not conduct impact assessments. What we usually do is pre/post-tests and final evaluations to measure the outputs and outcomes, but we never know to what extent these training courses are benefiting the trainees on the ground. Therefore, we do not see the overall evolution of their performance on the ground. Finally, there is a need for sustainability where organizations do not just give a training and then leave. Another thing is that even though ISF personnel are interested in trainings done by organizations, they would sometimes take the training more seriously if it were conducted within another framework, for instance within the ISF Academy.
I will talk about the positives now. From the forms and pre/post-tests, we found that there is an increase in knowledge. People are really benefiting from what we are offering. The experience is being passed on to people outside the group. For instance, after one takes part in a session, they share the experience with the squad they are part of or the station they work at. They are applying this knowledge in their personal lives and benefiting from it.
Group Two: We have noticed the acceptance of our organizations by ISF personnel. When comparing our beginnings and now, we notice that ISF personnel are taking the trainings into consideration. The training programs are being adapted. For example, we are holding a roundtable today in order to adapt the trainings, and this helps us adapt to the current reality. The final issue is the redistribution of personnel, and thus the turnover we mentioned yesterday. We train a certain group, and then suddenly, only one person remains from this whole group. Okay, we spoke about the positive aspect of this point: the trainings are widely spread. However, there is also a negative aspect to this issue: we need to train new members all over again.
Group Three: We will not repeat what has already been mentioned by the two previous groups. The most important positive point is that cooperation between civilians and military personnel has improved, and the situation is no longer like before, when the military would not listen to civilians, especially trainings conducted by women. Today, when men attend trainings, they listen to the women leading. This is a very positive point. There are also more opportunities today to train on issues that were previously taboo. Today, if we mention torture and give examples of such practices, they accept them. This is very important. Moreover, the performance development of the personnel is very important to us: for example, when personnel attend trainings, they now feel self-confident since they can discuss any subject. They now have more skills, and both the concepts they have and their mentality have changed. So, when a military person becomes more accepting of subjects that they did not tolerate before and look at them from a military perspective in order to deal with them, then this is something great. Also, direct coordination has been achieved between the focal points in every subject. The routine procedures will still take time, but there are certain places and references that we can go back to during training. This did not exist before. Further, there are now female personnel in the ISF. This was not the case before, and it is very positive. As for the negative points, they include lengthy procedures. When we request that we hold a training, we have to wait for one or two months to receive an answer. Also, as many of you mentioned, there is always a high turnover of personnel. After we start training on a certain subject, one of the trainees is transferred to another place.
Intervention: I believe that two issues have to be dealt with. When women were admitted to the ISF, everything should have been provided for them to do what they love and what they have the potential to do. All their needs as women should have been provided: rooms, bathrooms, and uniforms. Second, during the training and monitoring of female personnel, the trainer sometimes sensed that a woman was really skilled and can perform better than her male counterparts as an interrogator. So, why can’t she become one? Women are usually not appointed to such positions. However, their role must not be very limited.
In my opinion, funding is sometimes offered to the non-governmental sector in the framework of a certain aim that does not necessarily meet the ISF’s priorities but rather those of embassies and international authorities. Therefore, the goal and priority of such funding comes under a certain title that leads NGOs to design programs that meet these goals, ones that are not local goals and have not been adequately studied. One of the conditions set by the Academy’s leadership that brought a difference between more recent and older experiences is its determination to hold all trainings at the Academy rather than in hotels and venues outside the Academy. The aim is to have everything based in the Academy. This is the first step towards gathering us all inside the Academy and also a first step towards organizing in the right direction.
Al Asmar: It is wrong to think that we do not criticize ourselves, do not like to be criticized by others, or do not admit our weaknesses. We overcame this attitude, which refuses criticism, a long time ago. Honestly, we have gotten rid of it. The other thing I want to mention pertains to what you [said] about cooperation between civilians and military personnel. When we first went into the human rights field, I often used to be the only military member to attend conferences; from all the security agencies. However, we have come far, and you can now find, in the same room, attendees from the military, the security forces, the gendarmerie and civil organizations. We have completed a very important stage. I just wanted to comment on this point. Thank you.
We ask you now to tell us about the training strategies that your organizations have adopted. You can join them together, or if you do not reach an agreement, every group can [speak] separately. Next, please mention if you have a training plan with the ISF and if the ISF is among your priorities. Finally, please suggest a mechanism for avoiding repetition, and whether or not an internal ISF representative would be helpful on this point.
Group One: Every institution, of course, has a set of major strategies. How are these strategies designed? First, the needs are detected. Himaya does this through observation, and KAFA uses roundtables. Every organization has its own way to identify needs. Afterwards, we address the content. Focus groups are constituted and discuss the content that should be included. It is then modified. Next, the training starts, and coaching is continually carried out. Of course, evaluations are also conducted. Thus, a continuous cycle is formed. From the evaluations, the necessities are monitored again, and adjustments are made. As for the organizations, whether it is Himaya, KAFA, or Caritas, our priorities include working with the ISF.
I believe the ISF, especially the Academy, has a significant role to play here because different parties are heading to you and offering you training programs whose content you are taking knowledge of. For this reason, the Academy is responsible for identifying the needs, reviewing the content, and communicating with the concerned parties.
Al Asmar: [H]ow do you, as organizations, coordinate with each other?
[Question/Comment]: There are countless numbers of associations and organizations. On the level of institutions, as organizations that can work together, a matching process is followed and alliances are made; so they work and coordinate together effortlessly. Concerning the training material and content that is offered by the Academy or by organizations that see a need and contact the Academy, the content should be specified in both cases, and they must make sure that there is no repetition. Repetition is not the only problem. What’s worse is that sometimes contradictory messages are sent by different groups. I frankly think that you should look into this issue. It is the Academy’s responsibility and not that of the organizations.
[Question/Comment]: Will there be continuity of training? Do you as organizations, and does KAFA include, in its strategy and its plan at the beginning of the year, training sessions for all officers or several training sessions for a certain group of officers?
[Response 1]: First of all, I believe that all our work, including the ideas, results and goals, is done in partnership with the ISF... For instance, we are working on installing a fast response to domestic violence victims and providing them with protection. This involves multiple elements, one of which is preparing a learning course along with training models and materials, as well as conducting trainings with our partners – a group of ISF personnel – so that they can use this material, adapt it, and then train others. We also coach them to make sure that the materials are being taught properly in the sessions in order to reach the intended goal. This, by itself, constitutes continuity and sustainability of work. I believe everyone does the same.
[Response 2]: We trained operating room personnel on how to answer phone calls, act, and direct callers. However, the trainees were replaced by new personnel. So, we have to monitor the turnover and identify any new personnel. In our programs, we have to devote a series of trainings to such personnel. That is applicable when we aim to achieve the largest possible number of trained personnel in order to reach to a point where the majority have been trained. We cannot train them all. This will only be achieved when the Academy urges its trainers, with us, to train every new group of members so that they have this base. This will bear fruit for both sides. However, with regards to sustainability and continuity of work, nothing is continuous except for governmental institutions. We do not know what tomorrow brings.
Group Two: Likewise, we at KAFA, Himaya, and Caritas, start off with observation, assess the needs, and then hold meetings and coordinate with the training department. The training department determines whether these subjects have been covered in trainings before, are new subjects, or offer knowledge enhancement. We then create a training program with the Head of the Academy and Colonel Elie Al Asmar, and finally, evaluation and follow up take place. Caritas found that needs should be assessed in collaboration with the ISF. At Himaya, the observation and needs assessment are conducted based on personal experience and our experience with children who underwent questioning at police stations. Caritas says that subjects are determined, with the ISF, according to the developments on the ground, including laws, events and circulars. We mentioned that coordination takes place to devise a training plan. Coordination should be carried out by presenting a program that addresses different topics without repetition. The training unit or department at the ISF Academy should spread this program over a course of one to three years so that each organization would include it in its strategy. Thus, every organization designs a three-year strategy. Then, it studies whether the issues chosen by the ISF in its training program fall within the organization’s strategy or not. Based on this, training is conducted. We also discussed that we have a common vision that the training materials later become the ISF’s property through the institutionalization of training. Organizations would conduct trainings of trainers, follow up, evaluate and review the training material and trainers in collaboration with the training department. Moreover, there is, of course, a great need for focal points inside the Academy, since these focal points are the ones to establish communication between all the organizations and connections between the subjects. The targeted groups should also be determined on three levels of training: basic training, ongoing training, and specialized training. Thank you.
Zaiter: What you are suggesting Colonel is very important; coordinating in order to avoid repeating efforts and providing materials in a practical manner are very important, given that we already have a lack in materials. First, I would like to confirm what was said: there is a coordination crisis among civil society forces. However, is the problem limited to coordination or is it broader? I believe that, besides the coordination issue, there is a question related to training itself and the error that we perhaps are all falling into: Is training an activity, a building of the capabilities of the ISF agencies, an activity within the framework of many courses of action? Or has training become a goal in itself? This is an issue that we should discuss because it has a wide impact. When training is an activity that serves the projects of KAFA, Caritas, ABAAD, the Justice Without Frontiers, or any other organization, it serves an organization’s bigger purpose and bigger project. In this case, it is no longer a matter of coordination, but rather one of efforts towards avoiding repetition. However, training might constitute a goal in itself. Therefore, when women’s and human rights’ organizations find that there is a real need to enhance the knowledge, skills, approaches and means of intervention of the security apparatus, this becomes a goal in itself. The second issue, in addition to the fact that training has become an activity and not a means to reach another end, is that the outputs of trainings are not very clear. [This was] already mentioned. Besides the issue of sustainability, what do we expect from the people targeted by our training, whether it addresses the protection of children or women, prisons or torture, regardless of the subject? What do we expect and what do we require of them? This is a problem, and security institutions are not responsible for this problem alone, nor are we. We still do not have the proper tools to fully conduct a needs assessment toward capacity building. This is one of the reasons that lead to this result.
Al Asmar: As you said, we want to reach a point where we can show civil society groups and international organizations our ‘menu’. Those who would like to help come and decide what to work on. They can choose to develop, for example, a program on countering gender-based violence or a program on combating the phenomenon of street children. Every organization can pick, from the list, what to work on. Also, we then know which activity each organization helps us implement, as our partner, and their activity would contribute to accomplishing our bigger strategic goal. However, I have one question for you. You were asking whether we are currently carrying out activities or implementing a vision and strategy. What is your answer to this question? You asked two questions. What is your point of view? Please tell us with all honesty.
Zaiter: This issue goes beyond the Security Forces and entails all the organizations lately. It is time to make a pause, as the building of capabilities is being addressed in all projects. As you said, we should overcome this problem; but we need to pause. Regardless of how it is being offered, its content and its provider, is capacity building the only activity? Why am I asking this question? I ask because the answer usually shows that many efforts are exerted [toward this goal], yet the impact remains weak. Shouldn’t we ask whether the interventions really suit the extent of the problem? Many trainings are being conducted today, and hundreds of personnel are benefitting from them. I am giving the security Institution as an example here. This is wonderful! The principles, practices, stances and conduct of the Institution’s personnel are certainly changing. However, how much of the problems are these trainings solving? Perhaps efforts can be exerted by means other than training and capacity building. This is the point I am trying to make.
Al Asmar: We consider training to be an enabler that allows us to reach a bigger goal, which is combating crime, enhancing security and stability.
[Question/Comment]: What both [Al Asmar and Zaiter] just mentioned is 100% correct with regards to organizations and associations that were established suddenly in response to the Syrian crisis, primarily. These organizations perhaps do not have a future vision. However, this is not the case in institutions, organizations, and associations whose existence is based on long-term issues, such as gender and women’s rights and the rights of children. However much they speak of children’s rights, these organizations will not survive unless they work with the ISF. Part of what you said is true; but another part is a bit unfair to organizations. Maybe it is not unfair, but it seems to me that the organizations’ goals or those of the trainings taking place are not entirely clear.
Zaiter: I am not expressing any doubt vis-à-vis the training, and there are certainly many organizations; we were just discussing the issue of Syrian refugees. This is another topic to which what I am saying does not apply. I am referring to those organizations which are targeting the ISF as part of their strategy in protection, an issue that they are working on. I am trying to say that capacity building has become a main pillar in all of our interventions, and it is draining our efforts. It is also exhausting our resources. So, we need to pause and look into this issue. That is all I am saying.
Group Three: Concerning strategies, I can give an example from my work with the GS and the ISF. I met with the GS’s training unit, and together, we set up a threeyear strategy which includes topics they consider essential for the training of their personnel. This strategy took into consideration the turnover they have. For instance, the airport security personnel whom we train are replaced every three months because airport work is very strict, and they work 24 hours a day. Since the personnel always changes, the trainings should be ongoing. In the strategy, we took into account all the latest issues that they requested. The same goes for the strategy we have adopted with the ISF. We hold a meeting and ask the ISF what they are looking for and what issues are not being covered. Afterwards, based on this information, we design the training. This is how we work: all the strategies are tailored to meet the needs on the ground, otherwise, trainings would not be effective and would become repetitive as all organizations would be tackling the same subject. Upon meeting with the Institution and designing a three-year strategy, the latter is communicated to all the heads of departments, and their duty is to include it in their budgets. Every year, we train 100 GS members and 100 ISF members. So, we always have trainings.
Al Asmar: Hence, the security forces are always among your priorities. Is there a group to which this does not apply? Is there a group that does not hold ongoing trainings? We have adopted a training approach at the Academy which we call the approach by competence. I will give the floor to First Lieutenant Dergham Tarabay. Can you please give a combination of what was said and your area of specialty? How can we carry out institutionalization and design a training program based on the approach by competence?
Tarabay: First, I would like to remind you that we have three different levels of training: The first is basic training and is offered to civilians who enter the military. The second level consists of ongoing training and is offered to those members who have been serving for a while, in order to enhance their knowledge and capabilities. The last is specialized training which is given in a certain domain. Next, how can we utilize your organizations’ experience in order to fulfill the ISF’s training needs? A third issue is, do you think holding regular meetings together is beneficial in providing the ISF with a sustainable training?
[Question/Comment]: Your questions are pivotal. Don’t the training materials and manual directly become the Academy’s property upon the latter’s adoption of them? As a matter of fact, the Academy can use them whenever. Even if we stop giving our training, there is a group of trained personnel. This is why we train trainers from the ISF specifically. If at some point we were unable to carry on, the manual, the trainers, and the acquired training methods remain available, and the messages are clear to those trainers. Therefore, they can continue holding the training sessions.
[Question/Comment]: I did not know of this issue. Frankly, it is a problem, one at your end. What needs to be done is that the Academy should make a decision regarding any joint activities and the issue of repetition. The Academy should also adopt a work strategy and a long-term vision for developing the skills not only of the personnel on the ground; thousands are joining the ISF. Three thousand are attending the Academy. Are you including the available materials in the training or not? These are questions that need to be asked.
Al Asmar: Some are included, and others undergo selection.
[Question/Comment]: Alright. For example, if there is a group of new personnel undergoing training, we carry out an assessment of their needs and so on. These might include how to draft minutes, communicate, and perform their duty as municipal policemen for example, since each member has a specific role. Then, we include these needs in the program. Anything can be linked to GBV, so a part can always be added.
[Question/Comment]: With regards to ownership and how materials should become the property of those using them, whether they are the ones giving or undergoing training, they should have a say in determining these materials. For example, we could already have a tool we want to use. However, correct me if I’m wrong, we adapt it to our target population. Such adaptation is ensured in cooperation and coordination with concerned persons from the ISF or with the focal points, so that they would really feel that the work was done in partnership with them and that they have ownership over it. So, the material becomes owned by both the organization and the ISF.
Al Asmar: So, ownership is shared with the ISF in general.
[Question/Comment]: With regards to partnership, first of all, training material is the training party’s property except otherwise agreed in an official, legal agreement between us and an institution. The organization and the ISF Academy are both institutions. An agreement should be signed between them stipulating that the training material will become the Academy’s property after the training ends. Otherwise, any person can ask the Academy for intellectual property rights. This is indisputable. Second, in order for the ISF Academy to accept that an organization train trainers and adopt the training material, an agreement should also be signed so that the training material for trainers be available to them. Also, by virtue of the MoU which is signed between both parties, a certain follow up may be agreed upon, and both parties can review the training tools and materials, in order to keep them up-todate and adapt them to the needs.
[Question/Comment]: Regarding the Institute’s right to own all the information, once it devises such a strategic plan for the future, which surely contains several fixed subjects, the Institute has ownership over these subjects. Also, since the Institute already has trainers specialized in these subjects, no one can deprive it of its right to use them. The personnel have already been trained.
[Comment]: Today, I underwent training. I actually experienced this. We were trained on the SOP, and we are trainers of SOP. However, we do not have the right to use the training material, and they have the right to legally pursue us claiming intellectual property. We are working with Saint Joseph University (USJ) and coordinating with the Ministry of Affairs. What I am trying to say is that Himaya is willing to give up its training material and waiver ownership thereof to the ISF Institute provided that Himaya would train the trainers on this subject. The title of the subject would be their property, while the material would belong to whoever produced it.
[Question/Comment]: This should be done. Once a trainer is appointed, they should design the curriculum as they see best since they own it. An example is the issue of human trafficking. Also, many subjects cannot be owned by anyone. In fact, the material is available, so it does not matter how it is given. Once a person has the main subject, they are free to develop it as they wish. When one resorts to others’ expertise, it is because the former lack something and cannot train on it. For example, we can talk about international laws and general points regarding child related issues, but we have to resort to Himaya to discuss certain subjects more specifically.
[Comment]: The Institute certainly has its own curriculum that it offers people who com to the Institution. You already spoke about this. I am a bit confused by what you are all saying because there is no such thing as fixed training material consisting of a document with a specific number owned by a party. Instead, every training program has its own material, based on its purpose, goal, and target, on the expectations from these people, and on the party giving the training. So, are you referring to a compilation of all materials prepared by different organizations on different issues, in a presentation or a PowerPoint presentation? Or are you suggesting that the Institute put together a training curriculum that would include the topics it sees fit, and draft the discussed issues?
[Question/Comment]: I gave the example of the SOP. Colonel Al Asmar trained us on the SOP. I have no right to use the material that Colonel Al Asmar used during the training. So, intellectual property rights were applicable. We signed agreements with the Ministry of Social Affairs, the USJ and UNICEF and committed to respect the intellectual property pertaining to the SOP material, including the material provided by Colonel Al Asmar. He knows what I am talking about. I am only presenting our personal experience.
Al Asmar: Excellent. As a result, following is what we are going to do. You have all made your views clear. We want to design the training program or training curriculum based on the ISF’s needs and in partnership with specialized parties. However, the endorsement of this program, curriculum or manual is going take a specific form. We already had an experience with KAFA in which we wrote on the issued manual the following: “This booklet is the exclusive property of the Directorate General of Internal Security Forces and KAFA”. So it was copyrighted. The same was done for the booklet you have with you now, as it reads: “LAU-Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World, Internal Security Forces”. Do you think this is a good solution? Do you find it relevant? Is it doable? Let us know so that we can add it to the recommendations. It suits us. I was speaking yesterday about how, when we put this program together, we met with Dr. Nashabe, with Carol and with people from LAU, and we expressed what we were looking for. They had offered us a program, and they had a certain vision, but we filtered what they offered. Some of the topics do not suit us, while we wanted to cover others more extensively. Others we wanted to make briefer, while we wished to add yet other topics that we found suit the ISF. We all agreed and came up with this product. This took place before us signing any agreements because, as you know, we are a public directorate, and we prefer to avoid entering into agreements with organizations or institutions every time we collaborate with them. We generally do not sign agreements with anyone, except for agreements on the international level. I believe – and everyone here agrees – that nothing prevents us from creating a product. We launch it, and things works out.
Of course, oral agreements are made. These agreements are actually more than just oral: sometimes letters are exchanged, which has another importance. Agreements via letters are also considered valid and may, of course, constitute bases to be built on. Do you all agree? Are there any remarks?
[Question/Comment]: I have something to say. It is not a remark, but rather a question: After a program is issued as a product, how is it used?
[Question/Comment]: It is used based on the need and outlook.
[Question/Comment]: So, let’s say a program on human rights was designed. Is the training level, whether basic or specialized, which the program should be integrated in, chosen first and then the program introduced as is wherever there is need?
[Question/Comment]: It depends. 100% true. The program is adapted to the training course it is going to be included in. For example, training course for regular gendarmes who are new to the ISF, do not include training on interrogation techniques for victims of human trafficking or domestic violence, because, in reality, such gendarmes are not interrogators. They only are the first responders. That’s it. Consequently, we train such gendarmes on dealing with the victims in their first encounters, welcoming them and sitting with them. Since this booklet contains information on how to welcome, seat, interrogate, and refer such victims, it is adapted to the targeted population.
Al Asmar: It is better that the booklet be comprehensive and that we reduce its content as much as possible. If it is already targeted, it is altered based on need. If we are tailoring a program for gendarmes, we render it brief to suit their needs. Do we all agree? I think this is a good recommendation.
[Question/Comment]: Even if you seek our assistance and we collaborate, this does not mean that the ISF has full ownership over the materials. The ISF will certainly have ownership, but they can still seek the assistance of trainers from outside the Institution. This is very important as it motivates and comforts the personnel who always see the same faces giving trainings. This brings diversity. Where can you find trainings to cover all of this?
Al Asmar: You have to take one thing into account. In our approach, we try to create fixed groups, i.e. permanent training teams. We might not have the energy, techniques or capability to conduct TOT in psycho-social issues. We do not have such experts at the Institute. Therefore, we benefit from your help in the primary stage. You train our personnel and work with us to a certain point. When we find that we have the ability to continue the work by ourselves, we thank you for everything you have offered. On the contrary, if we feel that we still need you, we continue working with you. So, we cannot commit to civil society parties for an indefinite period of time. That we cannot do.
[Question/Comment]: So, the ISF holds training courses for experts in certain specialties, such as psychotherapists, like the courses given to physicians, technicians and IT experts. Am I right? Of course, I do not mean right now but rather in the long run.
[Question/Comment]: The goal is to hold a training of trainers.
[Question/Comment]: Of course. However, in order for the Institute not to be indefinitely bound to certain organizations or specialists from organizations as you said, the Institute can take in trainers as well.
Al Asmar: This is 100% true. An example is our experience with KAFA. We first held a pilot training and then a TOT training. We gave the part of the TOT related to legal, military matters. Colonel Kaedbey and I were both training the attendees. As for the psycho-social part and social concepts, they were given by KAFA. We chose officers from the ISF who have training skills, and they underwent the training on these concepts. They received an advanced TOT training afterwards, and they became trainers. Today, the training is conducted by our officers. In certain cases, if an officer does not master a topic, KAFA help them out. They take the floor and complete the information on behalf of such officers when they find that the latter are not ready. Mr. Ziad, would you like to add something?
Kaedbey: The experience with KAFA, regardless of the titles of both KAFA and the ISF, was really important from an objective point of view, and it lays the foundation for further work. This is because it started logically: A workshop was held, a number of recommendations were issued as a result thereof, and we began to implement the recommendations one after the other. The manual, as we mentioned yesterday was issued before the law was passed. Thus, it is possible to say that the ISF acted as a proactive law enforcement agency, and, frankly, this constituted one of the few times that it made such a reaction. This is the first point I want to make. The second point is that a [Training of Trainers] project was conducted afterwards. We started off as a small hive and then began to grow. Three pilot trainings were held. We were 35 persons; and from the 35, we trained 6. So, the main [Training of Trainers] team included 6 members. Then, these 6 persons were promoted, so we held other [Trainings of Trainers]. I wish we could hold a training session on domestic violence here, on the spot with KAFA. As Colonel Al Asmar mentioned, our officers gave training on all the international as well as the local legal frameworks concerning domestic violence. They also gave trainings on interrogation techniques, listening skills, and communication with victims. For their part, KAFA covered the psycho-social aspect and shared their experience by giving examples. This training was extremely important because we broke the taboo in lecturing-based training. We used to hold such trainings in hotels before the Academy took ownership over here. Pictures of these trainings are exhibited on international forums since we are really proud of this accomplishment. We started sub-working groups on the issue. We conducted case studies and used role play. We thus discovered with time our personnel’s capabilities. In the past, we would use books which were full of texts and articles; but at the end, attendees would understand and learn nothing. When discussions were launched, we would tell participants that there is a certain hierarchy in the military. Since I was entrusted with opening training programs, I always used to tell them that every opinion matters here. We learned a lot. I can neither count the mistakes we made nor express how much we learned. I will give an example since I am very fond of learning by example, honestly, due to my professional deformation as a trainer. A First Lieutenant used to serve with me, and at the time, female members were new to the ISF… As we were discussing, a woman suggested a topic. He refused. She made a second suggestion on another topic; he answered, “I am the officer here. I am the one who speaks!” So, she started to cry and blocked us off; she would not answer us. So, we removed her from the training. We then spoke to the First Lieutenant privately. We told him that when he is an officer practicing his authority, he can give personnel direct orders. However, when at a table for discussion, we all have to benefit from one another. Hence, I just want to say that we have made really great progress in this area, and, though the road before us is still long, I believe we are set on the right track, and this is our hope.
Al Asmar: Thank you. Any other recommendations?
[Question/Comment]: I just want to say…that we want to devise a strategic vision for the long run. In my opinion, this issue has two aspects: If the goal of the training is providing an educational framework for all personnel and officers of the ISF, then the ISF should own the exclusive right. However, I believe training has another aspect. It is very important that this partnership with civil society persists, because the change in values and behaviors stems from within the ISF. Of course some officers are giving the trainings, working on them, and are capable of doing so. However, the examples [provided over these two days] allow us to sense the seriousness of the issue. Regarding the approaches of civil society, I believe if the ISF takes this task on by itself, it risks losing control. For example, ISF personnel might receive training on Law No. 293 and on how to interrogate, and I have no doubt that they will learn. However, when it comes to the issue of domestic violence, it is rooted at the level of conservative cultural and traditional beliefs. Therefore, if our goal is to promote awareness as well as enhance and change behaviors, I believe this partnership must continue, even on the strategic level. I think that we can work as a facilitator in the process of changing values and attitude.
Al Asmar: I will reformulate using military language. We all agree that our partnership with civil society organizations must persist. However, I am talking about a different goal: collaborating to ensure that we are constantly working toward the same goal and ensuring that we are not repeating all of the hard work we have already done.
We appreciate [everyone’s] patience, participation, commitment, and your support for the ISF. I once again transmit Colonel Ahmad Al-Hajjar’s greetings to you. He wanted to join us but was not able to attend during the past two days. He sends his regards. Of course, we will all meet again in future meetings, God willing. Thank you very much.