• 21 January 2021

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    The constant adaptation of a cooperation project to change

    The MYPOL project has had to adapt to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the current situation in Myanmar in order to continue promoting the reform of its police force. María José Urgel, FIIAPP’s project coordinator, offers us an overview of MYPOL and the reassessment of its aims and activities.

    MYPOL is a FIIAPP-led European delegated cooperation project tasked with providing support to the Myanmar Police, offering a preventive and effective service and respecting international standards, human rights and gender awareness. 

    In order to achieve this ambitious goal, two offices have been set up in the country, one in Yangon and one in Nay Pyi Taw. From the field and in coordination with the FIIAPP headquarters in Madrid, we have focused on several areas of police intervention: improvements to criminal investigation and crowd management, modernisation of human resources and professional training, improved accountability and legal frameworks and ensuring a closer relationship between the police, civil society and the media.   

    For a little over a year and a half, FIIAPP has also incorporated a gender perspective in MYPOL. Today, it has a gender strategy and a women, peace and security programme in place, mainstreaming gender in the five areas of intervention and implementing the entire strategy at the institutional level.    

    Four partner cooperation agencies cooperate on the project– NICO from Northern Ireland, GIZ from Germany, DCAF from Switzerland and CIVIPOL from France – who pass on specific technical knowledge to the Myanmar police with a main focus on training, preparation of procedural guides and protocols and awareness-raising activities.    

    The exchange between public administrations, a fundamental characteristic of FIIAPP, is provided by the Spanish National Police, which heads up the mass management area.   

    In order to understand the context of MYPOL, the country’s history should be taken into account. Much of the current situation has been shaped by long years of military dictatorship, a protracted civil war with various ethnic groups coexisting which is still to be resolved and big social and cultural barriers that hinder the equality sought for women. There is also significant poverty that has been accentuated by Myanmar’s internal conflicts.      

    Since 2011, the country has been transitioning towards democracy, a process that has yet to be consolidated.In recent years, ethnic tension in the north of Rakhine state, better known as the Rohingya crisis (the Rohingya being a Muslim minority in a predominantly Buddhist country), has seen a dramatic increase in violence in the area, adding to tensions between the international community and Myanmar.   

    COVID-19 and the initial underestimation of its impact took us by surprise, representing an additional challenge. Within a few months, many of the training activities had to be temporarily suspended due to restrictions imposed by the government. This also affected the joint dialogues between the representatives of MYPOL, the police and the authorities.   

    In addition, in recent months, the MYPOL project has had to work within a complex political climate prior to the elections held in Myanmar last November, with mobility restrictions due to COVID-19 and continued violence in some areas of the country.   

    Nevertheless, the ability to adapt to change and the creativity employed by the entire team in order to adjust the strategy for MYPOL has ensured that the implementation of our activities represents an important contribution to the country, without losing sight of the project’s initial objectives. After a great deal of internal reflection, the decision was made to focus efforts on the following areas, among others: 

    – The strengthening of our capacity within MYPOL in gender matters, seeking to ensure that the experts who lead the different thematic areas of the project identify the most important gender aspects on which to work and measure their impact. As part of this institutional reinforcement, we have implemented our own sexual harassment and discrimination policy which is mandatory for all MYPOL personnel and which has been accompanied by a series of awareness-raising courses. 

    – The preparation of information brochures and the consolidation of police action coronavirus protocols which have been distributed throughout the capital. 

    – The provision of virtual workshops to replace face-to-face activities. 

    – The preparation of election orientation guides for police trainers that have focused further on the protection of freedoms and human rights, respect for the media and the provision of a safe environment, especially for women. 

    – The preparation of forensic action manuals and protocols to apply gender perspectives in police interviews. Guidelines have been drawn up regarding police arrest, following international security and human rights standards. 

    – The creation of new bodies in MYPOL, including the Critical Incidental Management Team which is responsible for analysing the COVID-19 situation in the country and its impact on the evolution of the project. 

    – The renovation of police unit training facilities and the provision of the equipment required to carry out criminal investigations correctly. 

    As part of this drive to adapt to change, we have kept two elements very much in mind – the importance of establishing local alliances and the need to strengthen relationships with our four partners.    

    Local alliances have helped us understand the consequences of all these changing circumstances. We have increased the number of national advisers and advisers specialising in police and gender matters as well as strengthening our alliances with civil society, especially with women’s organisations that have worked on gender awareness within the police for many years.    

    Strengthening relationships with our counterparts has helped us to better understand how the different approaches and specialist areas of our partners can be used in a more strategic way in the face of the current situation.    

    FIIAPP has taken advantage of all the opportunities for improvement that have presented themselves, even in the most difficult moments for the project. We have learned that taking advantage of difficulties has helped us to learn lessons from the social change processes undertaken and identify our achievements, limitations and potential in order to improve our work, this being an area we will continue to be committed to.    

    María José Urgel, coordinator of the FIIAPP MYPOL project 

  • 07 January 2021

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    “SEACOP has created the bridges necessary to carry out future operations to fight drug trafficking”

    Alberto Morales, the chief inspector with the National Police and key expert with SEACOP, the port cooperation project, tells us about the progress made in the four phases of the European cooperation project, which is about to end.

    Between 2003 and 2008, a notable increase in drug trafficking (cocaine) by sea was observed in Europe. The state security forces and bodies (SSFB) joined together to create what was later called by the police a “retaining wall“, which led to the usual transport routes being diverted to Africa as an alternative route.

    The SEACOP project was born out of this context. The project required on-site visits to the producing, transit and recipient countries for the drug, requiring adaptation and consensus regarding the needs of all these countries in a project that contributed to this fight.

    This gave birth to the SEACOP project, a project based on four main pillars: intelligence teams (MIU); port control teams (JMCU); databases and cooperation at the regional and transregional levels.

    It is in Africa where the first efforts were initially focused after 2008 and where remarkable advances were seen. For the first time we were able, as specialists, to combine the efforts of the agencies operating in the three countries in which SEACOP was active: Senegal, Ghana and Cape Verde.

    Language has always been a slight problem for them hindering fluent communication and even exchanges relating to experiences or working methods, but, little by little, through the different face-to-face encounters between them, they have managed to establish several communication channels between the teams.

    The police specialists who participated in the project confirmed that there was a clear need to standardise the training given to the agents or officers taking part in the project, although many of them had had little contact with computers or the other means used to gather intelligence and carry out searches on vessels.

    The activities undertaken in these three countries allowed the European Union to consider extending the project in a phase II, with appropriate objectives, to various African countries including: Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin and Ivory Coast, among others, which was a real challenge for all the project members.

    Later phases confirmed the need to involve not only the countries that were the destination for some of the drugs produced in Latin America, but also to continue expanding in successive phases III and IV to other regions such as the Caribbean and the drug-producing and transit countries in Latin America.

    The Caribbean area is especially sensitive to cocaine trafficking in pleasure boats, which is why SEACOP has established alliances with other projects already operating in the area, in order to enhance the strengths and reinforce the weaknesses, such as connections between the islands, training on boat profiling, elements that raise the suspicions of officers when they visit the marinas, teamwork and obviously to provide them with the necessary material to be able to carry out searches on boats without damaging them too much.

    This same training, adapted to the needs of each country, was offered by specialists to the different officers participating in the project. Our experience, after more than twenty years fighting drug trafficking, has been put at their service and it is very gratifying to see how, little by little, they acquired the level required to grow the SEACOP family.

    The producing countries are highly important to the project, countries like Colombia, with the experience acquired in its daily fight against drug trafficking, or Argentina, where the problems experiences along its river system are added to the problems at its ports. This was a challenge that has, obviously, been reflected in the work on both regional and transregional training, in which the countries each played their part regarding the way in which they carry out the work, both at their borders and at the international level.

    However, the greatest problem we have encountered has undoubtedly been the turnover of officers in their posts, the need for a commitment to permanence has been one of the weaknesses that will definately be taken into account in future projects.

    We are left with the impression of a job well done, with the pleasure of knowing that the necessary bridges have been created to carry out future operations to combat drug trafficking and, above all, of creating a network of contacts that is one of the greatest values contributed by this project.

    We leave behind many hours of work, many cases analysed, and hours of training that have always given us a sense of satisfaction knowing they have strengthened the implementation of the tasks that are currently being carried out and that will, at least, continue in the coming years to be a reference in the fight against maritime cocaine trafficking.

    Alberto Morales, chief inspector with the National Police and key expert on the SEACOP project

  • 30 December 2020

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    FIIAPP in 2020: Innovating and growing in the face of adversity

    During 2020, more than 200 COVID initiatives have emerged in FIIAPP on migration, security, gender and social cohesion issues, among others.

    In January 2020 we started another year with the hope that it would be, at least, a little better than the previous one, both on the personal and professional levels.

    At FIIAPP, we had plans for many trips, events and important activities related to our projects. We had no idea what was coming, what we would have to deal with, just a couple of months later.

    By March, we were dealing with a global pandemic. There was talk that this virus would change everything in every corner of the planet: the way we mobilise, the way we relate to one another, and, of course, the way we work.

    One of FIIAPP’s main activities is the exchange of experiences between Spanish civil servants and their counterparts in the partner countries with which we work. What will happen from now on? How do we keep working? Fortunately, at FIIAPP we have grown in the face of adversity and we have shown our most ingenious side.

    At FIIAPP, more than 200 COVID initiatives have been promoted on various topics such as social cohesion, reducing inequalities, the fight against climate change, gender equality, security and development and of course digitisation, among many others.

    Under the motto “Team Europe”, the European Union and the Member States are working on a global response to the pandemic. One of the initiatives framed under this slogan are the COVID Round Tables. An exercise launched and coordinated by FIIAPP to combat COVID-19 worldwide through cooperation, which has come to stay and to nurture political dialogues through cooperation.

    These Round Tables have started with three pilot experiences, in Argentina, Ecuador and Costa Rica, in order to identify the demands resullting from the health emergency, channelling them in a structured and coordinated way to promote a response strategy.

    Gender-based violence has escalated with COVID-19 and the restrictions on mobility. Cooperation projects such as EL PAcCTO: Support to AMERIPOL and EUROsociAL+ have promoted initiatives that support women and girls exposed to violence.

    The pandemic has also given human traffickers more opportunities to exploit their victims. Rising poverty has multiplied the opportunities for criminal organisations to mislead more victims with promises of a job and a better future. The European project ATIPSOM draws on specialists from the National Police to combat trafficking and the illegal smuggling of migrants in Nigeria. The project has carried out various actions to mitigate risks for the victims, such as the creation of tweetchats, conversations through Twitter. In addition, information and public awareness have been promoted through the media, such as the weekly broadcast of a local radio program: “A-TIPSOM voice”.

    State security forces and bodies are front-line personnel in all countries. European projects such as EUROFRONT and MYPOL, among others, have trained people in managing confinement and the application of disinfectants, as well as delivering the necessary healthcare materials to fight COVID such as masks, gloves and disinfectant gels.

    The pandemic has shown us how much we depend on digital technologies to continue our daily lives; digitisation has come to stay and during 2020 FIIAPP has been involved in more than 70 actions through its projects and programmes in Latin America, the Neighbourhood and Sub-Saharan Africa. Projects including EL PAcCTO, Bridging the Gap, ARAP Ghana and ICRIME, as well as numerous Twinning projects have carried out specific activities related to digitisation such as Higher Education in Algeria or Civil Execution in Turkey.

    In addition, projects such as EU-ACT and Cuba-EU Expertise Exchange have delivered computer materials to the countries in which they are working so they can modernise and connect virtually to the activities being carried out. Likewise, FIIAPP itself has created the connect.fiiapp platform to give all the projects managed by the Foundation the possibility to carry out their activities remotely, in addition to making telecommuting possible for nearly 300 people from one day to the next.

    Spain has positioned itself as a key partner in European cooperation and the Foundation’s Board of Trustees stresses the fundamental nature of FIIAPP’s work. Work that, through its regional programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, its cooperation projects in Africa and Twinning, contribute toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, with the aim of leaving no one behind.

    The role of the public administrations and their staff is fundamental to our work. This year more than ever, all the institutions we work with have made an extraordinary effort to rise to the occasion. And looking at all that has been achieved, it is blindingly obvious that, between us all, we have met our stated objectives, in addition to the new ones that have arisen due to the pandemic, with great adaptability.

    It has been a hard, intense year, with many new situations to be faced both personally and professionally. But let’s remember the words of the poet Khalil Gibran: “No matter how long the storm, the sun always shines through the clouds again”.

  • 17 December 2020

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    The value of numbers in moving towards inclusive justice

    María Luisa Domínguez, Senior Technician in the Democratic Governance Area, head of Inclusive Justice, EUROsociAL+ Programme explains the work developed by the programme in this matter.

    When we were faced with the challenge of telling our story from a perspective which is different from what is traditional (one which is more focused on activities and results), what EUROsociAL does along the lines of Inclusive Justice, we decided to emphasise some numbers. These numbers not only indicate quantities, but also qualities. Here are some of them.

    15. Trajectory

    The number 15 represents the years that the European Union programme EUROsociAL has been supporting social cohesion in Latin America. From its inception in 2005 to 2020, EUROsociAL has been accompanying public institutions in Latin America in the design and implementation of a multiplicity of public policies in all areas: social, economic, justice, gender, regional development, good governance, etc. And at all levels: regional, national and local.

    During these 15 years we have seen 3 phases of the programme, in very different contexts: crisis and economic boom, social conflicts and democratic stability and, more recently, pandemic and humanitarian, economic and social crisis. Also with different focuses: pilot projects in the first phase; orientated to requests from and specific results of public policy in the following two.

    But in these three decades, the DNA and the spirit of the programme has remained the same: to fight against inequalities and improve social cohesion in the region. In Inclusive Justice, the programme has been pioneering in reducing barriers to access to justice for people in vulnerable conditions, which in 2008 materialised in the Brasilia Rules, and that today we are supporting in its conversion to an international agreement.

     16, 10 and 5. Global Agenda

    Promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies is what the 2030 Agenda proposes in its SDG 16, and more specifically in goal 16.3 Promote the rule of law at the national and international levels and guarantee equal access to justice for all.

    At EUROsociAL we understand access to justice to be a key right that allows the exercise and guarantee of other basic rights such as health, education, housing, identity, etc. For this reason, we have placed emphasis on the protection and dissemination of the rights of groups that are in a vulnerable condition: people in the context of mobility, migrants and refugees, children and adolescents; victims and witnesses of crimes; youth in conflict with criminal law; persons deprived of libertypeople belonging to ethnic minorities; and women who find themselves in situations of gender discrimination. And this SDG 16 is an enabler for the achievement of other SDGs: 10, referring to the reduction of inequalities, and 5, which seeks gender equality.

    It is impossible in this brief space to make a detailed list of the numerous actions currently being carried out in the region with the institutions of the justice system: Judiciaries, Ministries of Justice, Prosecutors, Public Defenders and Prison Systems.

    Our fundamental reference here are the aforementioned 100 Rules of Brasilia and the Guides of Santiago for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses, reference documents whose preparation has been promoted by EUROsociAL within the framework of regional justice networks.

     17. Partnerships

    For the proper development of our work we apply SDG 17, and in particular with goal 17.16 aimed at “improving the global partnership for Sustainable Development, complemented by alliances between multiple stakeholders that mobilise and exchange knowledge, expertise, technology and financial resources, in order to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in all countries, particularly developing countries”.

    The association with regional networks, and in particular with the justice networks of Latin America, has been one of the hallmarks of EUROsociAL since its inception in 2005. Promoting alliances and networks for the exchange of experiences and good practices between counterpart institutions in the Latin American and European regions has been one of the central pillars of EUROsociAL and in this we have been pioneers. This has enabled us to move forward in building common responses in several countries to shared problems, such as strategic reference frameworks for public policies at the regional level; joint declarations or guidelines, common model standards or protocols, etc.

    We accompanied the Ibero-American Judicial Summit, through the Brasilia Rules Follow-up Commission, in the definition of the first version of the Rules in 2008, in their update in 2018, in the implementation of the Rules in the countries, transferring them to national programmes, policies and plans for access to justice, and currently in the Roadmap to convert the Rules into an International Convention.

    Also since 2007, we have collaborated with the Ibero-American Association of Public Attorney Offices-AIAMP, strengthening it and supporting the formation of its different Networks (Network of Prosecutors against corruption and Specialised Gender Network) and Working Groups. In 2008, the Santiago Guide for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses was prepared and approved with the support of the programme, and in this third phase we collaborated with the Group of Victims and Witnesses in the review and update of these Guidelines, which will be approved in early November at the AIAMP General Assembly.

    In 2012, in Fortaleza Brazil, the kick-off was given to EUROsociAL’s collaboration with the Inter-American Association of Public Defenders-AIDEF. These eight years of collaboration have been intense and very fruitful, which has allowed progress in the design of regional models that have subsequently been implemented at the national level. From the Regional Guide for public advocacy and comprehensive protection of persons deprived of liberty; the manual for monitoring Human Rights in detention centres by the Public Defenders; and the regional manual on the Bangkok Rules in terms of Public Advocacy, in the second phase of the programme.

    In this third phase, the AIDEF is being accompanied in two very strategic actions that attempt to respond to two very present challenges currently in the region: on the one hand, the cases of institutional violence that occur in prisons in Latin America; and on the other, the situation of exclusion and vulnerability of people in a context of mobility and who require special attention to improve the advocacy and enforcement of their rights.

    In the first case, a regional Model for the System of Registration, Communication and Comprehensive Attention to Victims of Institutional Prison Violence – SIRCAIVI has been designed, which is currently being implemented in 3 countries: Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica, and in the second, progress is being made in the design of a regional model and the creation of a regional network of legal assistance to people in the context of mobility from Public Defender Offices.

    Through work with these networks, EUROsociAL has contributed to the strengthening of the rule of law, promoting the protection and defence of human rights, an indivisible and intrinsic relationship, fundamental not only for social cohesion, but also for democracy.

    19. Resilience and reconstruction

    And then COVID19 arrived. Finally, in the current context, we could not forget the COVID19 pandemic that has come to disrupt and condition everyone’s lives, but which is particularly and disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable groups, as shown by various international organisations such as the OHCHR, the IACHR or ECLAC to name some of them.

    Human rights and their protection and guarantee are crucial in times of crisis. In this context, EUROsociAL has quickly made itself available to countries to redirect their actions and respond to the effects of this global pandemic and to lay solid foundations for recovery and reconstruction, leaving no one behind and not allowing the violation of any rights.

    This involves putting people at the centre of public policies, especially the most vulnerable, and preparing justice systems to overcome current difficulties, guaranteeing the functioning of an independent and fair justice system. The application of the Brasilia Rules as a mandatory norm can be a powerful weapon to fight against the coronavirus and from EUROsociAL+ we will do everything possible to make it so.

    Related audiovisual content: “Justice for social cohesion”.

     

     

  • 03 December 2020

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    “There are no barriers, a disability is never an obstacle to dreaming”

    Pamela Salazar, journalist, opens her heart and tells us about how she has faced her disability with courage and passion for life.

    “Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” (Frida Kahlo)

    This phrase defines me. I am 42 years old, congenitally handicapped from birth, but with an indomitable spirit. Living with disabilities is a challenge. My grandmother often says that “I am unique, because God only gives great battles to his best warriors” and, I have accepted this for every moment of my existence.

    I look back on my childhood with great affection. I grew up in a large family with aunts, cousins, my maternal grandparents and of course, my parents, my sister and brother. I would not be the woman writing these words today if they had not supported me, they are my greatest love. The strength and dedication of my mother is a divine gift, as is the care and understanding of my father. My brothers have been accompanying my life and teaching me the value of fraternity and my grandmother is an absolute rock who has empowered me since I was a child and given me the courage to fight many battles. My grandfather passed away recently, but his sweetness and endless stories will stay with me forever. Now I have a four-year-old nephew who is the apple of my eye and from him I have learned that, if children are brought up to respect everyone, they accept disability as something inherent to human beings. He does not look at me as being different, but as someone fun, because he can race with his “Aunt Pilu” and be happy. This child pushes my wheelchair and shows me off, so this child, my Martin, is my favourite person on this entire planet.

    I went to a private school, because 40 years ago talking about disability more difficult and was synonymous with discrimination and pain, so my parents decided that private education would be better so that I could blossom in an inclusive and friendly environment. That mission was successful.

    For me, school was a place where I could grow and where I developed my love for books, words and the history of my country. I continued to study here and I was fortunate that the great-great-grandson of José María Sáenz (Ecuadorian patriot) was my teacher. He inspired my long infatuation with the libertarian feat of Latin America and defined my desire to be a communicator. I wanted to tell stories… I wanted to start with mine, to tell others that there are no barriers and that a disability is no obstacle to dreaming.

    It was easy for me to adapt. I am an outgoing person, so I never had problems making friends. University was another great challenge. I went to a girls’ school so I found it hard studying in a mixed environment, but I managed it. I was first in my class and I specialised in print journalism.

    Once I had my degree, I discovered that the entire educational process had been nothing compared to the process of finding a job, because even though I had a university degree and a diploma, my abilities were invisible and the only thing that other people could see was my disability . So I was offered jobs as a porter, a cleaner and – of course I do not detract from these trades at all – but I was a professional and wanted to practice my chosen profession.

    There have always been plenty of angels around, and there was one woman, the mother of a young man with a disability, who always believed in my abilities. She gave me my first job as a communicator, which was the starting point of my professional career.

    In 2007 I had my 19th surgery, it was a routine operation. I was used to it, but it was not what I expected, I could not walk again and it was the first time in my life that I became aware of my disability and I felt very down, as through the wheelchair had taken my essence and independence, which is also why I lost my job. My people, my family and the friends I have had all my life, encouraged and helped me again. I am still not entirely independent now, but I am smiling again, and that’s something.

    These days, I look at the world from my wheelchair, and I know that I can conquer it. It is the battle for inclusion, which for me is fairness, not only in terms of disabilities, but also in general. The attitude barrier is still decisive. From my point of view, I would say that being included means walking (rolling) down the street freely, without having to explain why I am using a technical aid. At this point, I should mention that my boyfriend has undergone this process with me. He has learned to live with and understand disability with me, because he loves me. He took on the challenge of overcoming stereotypes and fears.

    In this regard, respecting diversity allows us to build an inclusive and supportive world, such as the Bridging the Gap (BtG) project, which entails sustained and responsible work in schools in Ecuador to guarantee the inclusion of children and young people with disabilities. Your contribution guarantees access to education, which is very important for the full development of a person. I know a woman with a disability who dropped out because her school was not accessible and now, at 57 years of age, she has gone back to high school. This anecdote shows the importance of the BtG project, which makes it easier for students with disabilities to get qualifications and to keep their dreams of success.

    Lastly, I would say that 3 December is not a celebration. It is a day to raise awareness of disability, to make other people realise the importance of accepting people who are different and start an effective and assertive social process that is summed up in a single word: inclusion.

    That is the only way that I can see a different future, where people do not ask me why I am in a wheelchair, where there are no billboards on pavements preventing my blind friends from walking about, where television channels will use sign interpreters to guarantee access to information for people with hearing disabilities. And that is the only way that my brother, Esteban, a young man with intellectual disabilities, will not be treated like a child, and his abilities and knowledge will be appreciated.

    This is how I see the future of people with disabilities in the world, I imagine us free, being included, challenging ourselves and smiling because people no longer give us funny looks or feel sorry for us.

    Pamela Salazar Pérez. Journalist.

  • 15 October 2020

    |

    Posteado en : Opinion

    |
    facebook twitter linkedin

    Legal cooperation between the European Union and Latin America, essential in a globalised world

    Antonio Roma, prosecutor and coordinator of EL PAcCTO’s cooperation between justice systems component, analyses the keys to the need for cooperation between legal entities in Europe and Latin America to combat organised crime, improve security and promote socio-economic development.

    The intensity of legal relations between Europe and Latin America is forever increasing and their efficient functioning is key to combating organised crime on both sides of the Atlantic. This is a crucial issue in achieving the general and legal security of the countries, in addition to facilitating their social and economic development. There are now systems for coordination between institutions in the different states, however, we are at a key moment to further strengthen their consolidation. 

    The regulatory and institutional reality reveals an increase in the working tools available to all of the states’ legal operators, from the territorial units in the Public Prosecutor’s Offices to bodies that cover national jurisdictions. As a consequence, there has been a quantitative and, more importantly, a qualitative increase in requests for cooperation between different national authorities. In addition, following community-based models, more sophisticated cooperation instruments are being implemented on both continents. This is the case in the creation of joint investigation teams and the rules facilitating the execution of transnational warrants for the arrest of suspects and for the protection of witnesses. However, in order that these mechanisms exist and that results are obtained, coordination systems are necessary. 

    Professional networks are an essential mechanism and extremely practical. Furthermore, there is a need, indeed a great need, for inter-agency coordination systems. The European Union has its own bodies, that carry out their own functions in relation to the crimes committed in its different states, as is the case with the recently created European Public Prosecutor’s Office, or that facilitate coordination between national legal authorities, frequently public prosecutors’ offices, as is the case for Eurojust. 

    Between Latin America and several European states there are institutions going back some years that in recent times have made progress with regard results. These include the Conference of Ministers of Justice of the Ibero-American Countries (COMJIB), the Ibero-American Judicial Summit (CJI) and the Ibero-American Association of Public Prosecutor’s Offices (AIAMP). All of them facilitate the relationships between the different groups they contain and they have established foundations for their work over the coming years. 

    Fighting organised crime requires greater effort in coordination and cooperation. Personal and legal protection, as well as economic and social development, means not exhausting efforts exclusively in the operation of assistance systems between the different legal operators. In a globalised world, it is not enough to apply systems that do not extend beyond state or even continental borders, especially with the economic, cultural and family flow that exists between Latin America and the European Union, especially its southern states. 

    Coordination between the community and national institutions of the Latin American states has begun, but it is not enough. In today’s interdependent world, cooperation is imperative to meet common challenges. Our knowledge and our actions complement and reinforce each other. The efficient functioning of the fight against organised crime in pursuit of greater legal protection and economic and social development requires support through more effective cooperation formulas that go beyond strictly legal aspects. And this is now more important than ever. 

     

    Antonio Roma Valdés

    Prosecutor and coordinator of EL PAcCTO’s cooperation between justice systems component

     

     

    More information: 

    EL PAcCTO is a European Union-funded programme managed by FIIAPP and Expertise France with its partners IILA and Camôes. The objectives for the Cooperation Between Justice Systems component led by FIIAPP include promoting cooperation and coordination between institutions in Latin America and Europe. This was the reason behind it organising the 1st Encounter Between the Justice Institutions of the EU and Latin America, on 23rd September, to promote cooperation and legal coordination, as well as increased efficiency in the fight against organised crime.  

    High-level representatives took part in this encounter, including the Spanish Minister of Justice and members of COMJIB, AIAMP, the International Judicial Summit, Eurojust and the Council of Europe, as well as the European Commission Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO).