This project is a spin-off from PRIO’s work on small arms transfers. Its objective is to pilot a new approach to security sector reform in Malawi, emphasizing human rights norms and cooperation with civil society as part of professional standards and training. The immediate goal is to help prevent the proliferation of small arms in the country. The guiding principle of the pilot project is that community involvement and civil society support for policing operations are vital aspects of the rule of law, which cannot be sustained without ensuring respect for international norms regarding human rights by law enforcement officials. The project, which is planned for one year, will function as a demonstration of the possibility of integrating community safety and human rights norms with sustainable development and the prevention of violent conflict.
The main achievements so far have been:
- Increased analysis, media coverage and public awareness of the nature of the threat of violent crime involving illegal firearms;
- More concrete political will to embrace national and community-level measures to combat the problem;
- Mobilization of civil society groups and local communities in 10 priority districts to work with the police and customs to monitor and prevent illegal cross-border trafficking and firearms possession;
- Expressions of community and NGO support for better police training and accountability, and involvement of these groups in contributing ideas for a training programme in techniques to prevent violent crime and to detect unlawful possession and use of firearms.