· Human Rights Defenders
· Ministry of Internal Affairs
An international conference “Cooperation between NGOs and the Police during the Period of Reform” took place in Syktyvkar, Komi Republic, on 22 April 2011.
The regional NGO Individual and the Law
of the Republic of Marii El and the Komi Memorial Human Rights Commission
(Syktyvkar) were joint organizers of the conference, held as part of the project “Russian Police: from Force to Service,” financed by the European Commission.
The relationship between NGOs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs was the main topic of discussions at the conference. There were three panels at the conference: “Public Oversight over the Implementation of Reforms,” “The Role of NGOs in Reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs”, and “The System of Public Evaluation of Police Activities.”
Altogether about 50 people from 9 Russian regions took part in the conference, including representatives from the Public Oversight Commissions of Nizhnii Novgorod, Kirov, and Murmansk region; human rights defenders from Moscow, Marii El, Arkhangelsk, Kaluga, Novocherkassk, Syktyvkar, Pechory, Izhma, Vorkuta, Troitsko-Pechorsk and Usogorsk; and a representative of the Public Council of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Irina Simakova, chairperson of Individual and the Law said: “It is a great shame that the Marii El Ministry of Internal Affairs did not take part in the conference, although the human rights defenders are confident that they would have had something to contribute, since Individual and the Law and the Marii El Ministry of Internal Affairs have been working together for five years now. The conference demonstrated that NGOs are for their part ready and willing to cooperate with regional offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, promote the concepts of human rights, and assist the police in their work in every way possible.”
According to the data of the website “7 x 7
”, the conference decisively rejected an approach based on indiscriminate public criticism of the police. The conference was devoted to working out specific practices for the interaction of citizens, civic activists and the police during the period of officially-promoted reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The purpose of developing new practices is to move from current conflict towards cooperation.
The most important constructive proposal to come out of the conference was the recommendation made by the human rights organizations to the heads of the regional offices of the Ministry of Internal Affairs that members of NGOs be included in the commissions dealing with the re-evaluation of police officers.