Defending human rights to mitigate risks inherent in illicit activities

June 2, 2021

A cross section of participants during the training. Photo: UNDP, 2021

Civil society has an important role to play in monitoring human rights violations and the impact of organized crime through early warning mechanisms. It also has a lasting role, along with national authorities, in building bridges and lines of articulation between judicial institutions in the process of consolidating the rule of law and public security. This lends to its duty in promoting transparency in investigations related to the violation of human rights and organized crime, including drug trafficking.

The UNDP in partnership with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, UNODC and the League on Human Rights (LGDH), organized a four-day training session on human rights and organized crime and drug trafficking aimed at civil society activists, which was held in Casa dos Direitos in Bissau, from Tuesday May 25 to Thursday May 29, 2021.

The training brought together 35 participants, including activists from the various regions of Guinea-Bissau, as well as representatives of women's organizations and youth associations.

At the opening ceremony of the training session held on Tuesday 25 May, the President of LGDH, Mr. Augusto Mário da Silva, explained the significance of the training, saying “it is essential to adopt an approach centered on the prevention of organized crime and drug trafficking, based on informed and proactive strategies and actions, which goes beyond merely reactive and security approaches.”

Mr. da Silva continued that, "It is in this scope that the training is initiated, aimed at reinforcing participation, working in a network, and establishing strategic partnerships between civil society organizations and other social and political actors to prevent and combat organized crime."

Chairing the opening ceremony, Ms. Luana Natali, Head of Governance at UNDP, reaffirmed UNDP’s commitment in “supporting the Guinean League of Human Rights, as other CSOs, to strengthen the capacity of civil society activists to intervene in building an informed public opinion on corruption, human rights violations and drug trafficking. Associating issues of criminality with the defense of human rights to mitigate risks inherent in this type of illegal activities is everyone's responsibility, hence our contribution to encouraging a proactive and participatory approach by the community in the defense of human rights, in combating impunity and organized crime.”

She explained that the initiative is supported by UNDP as part of the "Observatory of civil society of the illicit economy" project, a partnership with the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime, whose objective is to support civil society in analyzing and reporting on the impact of the illicit economy on communities.

The initiative is not only supported by UNDP in the context of the joint project with GI, but is also supported by UNODC, through another joint project, with the support of the Peacebuilding Fund, whose objective is to strengthen the response of the justice and security sector to drug trafficking and transnational organized crime to reduce insecurity in Guinea-Bissau.

The training responds to the Sustainable Development Goal 16 "promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions”.

According to Mr. da Silva, “LGDH favors an integrated approach, working directly with various social and political actors to promote social changes capable of optimizing the impact and sustainability of civil society intervention.”