11 December 2012

Algeria: Arab Police Chiefs Meet in Algiers

Algiers — Fallout from the Arab Spring topped the agenda at a recent security summit in Algeria.

The 36th Conference of Arab Police chiefs wrapped up in Algiers Monday (December 10th) after two days of talks focusing on the Arab uprisings.

"This conference takes place at a time when the Arab world is experiencing great change after a major upheaval," said Mohamed Ben Ali Koman, the Secretary-General of the Council of Arab Interior Ministers. "The policeman's function, in addition to guaranteeing the safety of the people, must also extend to respecting human rights."

Officially, the talks included the fight against transnational crime, cyber criminality and the Arab convention on prisoners' transfers.

In official declarations however, and during the opening ceremony, everything was about the Arab uprisings. All but for the opening session of the summit happened behind closed doors.

For his part, Algerian Interior Minister Dahou Ould Kablia stated that officials needed to "concentrate on security and border surveillance and have countries co-operate and co-ordinate efficiently by exchanging information so that to avoid the infiltration of borders by terrorist networks and organised and transnational crime", referring to what happened during the Libyan conflict.

He also asked the Arab police chiefs to pay close attention to fight against corruption, money laundering and terrorism financing.

Ould Kablia also drew a parallel with the Arab spring, saying the conference was happing at a time of "profound changes" in the Arab world, especially in terms of security.

Those changes necessitate taking "efficient and responsible measures allowing us to preserve the states' safety, the land integrity and comply with the people's legitimate requests", the interior minister added.

Major General Abdelghani Hamel, General Director of National Security (DGSN), emphasised Algeria's intention to take part in Arab security co-operation efforts. Major General Hamel noted the summit's attention to "co-operation between security services and civil society organisations".

"No country will be able to confront and face alone transnational organised crime, given how it jeopardises the security, the stability, and the economy of the country and given the infallible organisation of its networks and its extraordinary resources," the security chief explained. He urged his peers not to back down, saying that transnational crime was "just as bad as terrorism".

The Algerian security chief also emphasised the role of civil society in raising awareness on human rights and the impact of crime on society.

The talks ended with a series of resolutions where participants emphasised the importance of human rights, strengthening trust between police and the people and getting rid of cultural and economic marginalisation to avoid terror recruitment.

According to the final press release, participants asked that work involving security services "address the human and social aspect". Attendees also insisted on respecting human rights when implementing the law in order to "reinforce the trust between police and citizens".

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