The issue of crime has struck a responsive chord in communities across Guinea-Bissau in recent times. Communities have opted to take a unified stand against crime, violence, and disregard for rule of law, and make a commitment to increasing crime-prevention and intervention activities.
On 19 and 20 March 2022, more than 100 people from Civil Society Organizations, State authorities, defence and security forces, traditional and religious leaders, youth and women's groups, converged to discuss and build bridges between the population and the authorities in a national forum on crime, security, justice and peace at Canchungo in the region of Cacheu.
According to the Regional Governor of the Cacheu region, "Creating conditions of security for the population and sensitizing them to report crimes is a necessary good."
He spoke about the establishment of a toll free line, which was shared for people to call and report acts of crime and disorderly conduct as soon as they occur. "The administrative authorities have been allocated the call line to allow reports of crime to be received in a timely manner in order react on time”, he added.
The Minister of Administration and Local Government in his speech said, “Peace is a interdependent act, contributed to by each member of the community and structures of the state. It encompasses different aspects of our lives. We are aware that the weapons used in the robbery practices are a consequence of the conflict of June 7th, 1998. In order to combat these acts, it is necessary to collaborate and denounce them, thus contributing to the promotion of peace. I hope that the two days of work will result in proposals for solutions to combat criminality in Cacheu region”.
The end of two days of discussion resulted in the production of a declaration with recommendations for the defense and security sector actors, including the judicial system, on the effective functioning of justice, the eradication of impunity, the effectiveness of citizen security, and the monitoring and follow-up mechanisms to ensure compliance with the action points. These were presented at a latter date to the President of Republic, H.E. Mr. Sissoco Embalo, who promised to engage on a follow-up by his Government.
The national forum was organized by the Civil Society Organizations Consultant Space with the support of UNDP, and with financing from United Nations Peace Building Fund.