Project Highlight

Tunisia: Conference on Police Reform

IWPR involved in organising meeting on how policing can change for the better.

IWPR is co-organising a conference on police reform, a key issue in Tunisia, on January 25-26.

During the long rule of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian interior ministry and police force were used as instruments for oppressing and humiliating the people. In post-revolutionary Tunisia, the police continue to be accused of human rights abuses.

The opening discussion at the Regional Conference on Police Reform will examine the current state of policing in Tunisia, the challenges and future reform programmes.

Another public debate will bring in experts from countries like South Africa, Georgia and Germany to talk about the experience of dealing with police violence, corruption and impunity there.

Civil society groups will then gather to talk about how to improve accountability and transparency in the security sector, the aim being to continue this dialogue once the conference is over.

Bassem Bouguerra, founder of Reform Tunisia group and one of the organisers of the conference, says it is important to bring together representatives of civil society groups, the international community, the interior ministry and Tunisia’s police union, so that they can “define reform in a way that satisfies everyone”.

Bouguerra says the media play an important role in covering police reform and allegations of the use of excessive force and other abuses. Tunisian journalists have also been the victims of police abuses themselves.