Advancing Human Rights: SANAC Law Enforcement Sensitisation for Tshwane Metro Police
– Karabo Makgato
On 01 June 2023, the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC) launched the Law Enforcement Human Rights Sensitisation Training for Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) at the Tshwane Management and Training Academy in Pretoria West. The aim of the training programme is to sensitise lawmakers and law enforcers on the rights of people living with HIV, people with TB, key and vulnerable populations (KVP), in order to strengthen protective laws and their enforcement.
The training paves way for an effective implementation of the newly launched National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV, TB and STIs: 2023-2028, which aims to ground the response to HIV and TB in human rights principles and approaches, including to reduce stigma associated with HIV and TB and increase access to justice for KVPs.
Speaking at the training launch, SANAC Technical Advisor for Human Rights and Community Systems Strengthening, Mr Pholo Ramothwala said, “the idea for this training was to create an environment where a person who uses drugs can come to an officer of the law and say I have a problem, the idea is to create an environment where a male person or a transgender person who identifies as a man but identifies as a woman should be able to approach law enforcement officers without judgement and being asked who or what you are”.
According to SANAC, in order to achieve accelerated prevention, access and adherence to sensitizing law enforcement agents will include ongoing senior-level engagements, sensitization and support to policy-makers across government on integrating HIV, TB, health and human rights of KVPs in national responses with a specific focus on those ‘most left behind’, and for engagements on specific issues such as drug policy, development, implementation and enforcement of rights-based and gender-transformative health care guidelines.
MCC for Health in the City of Tshwane, Cllr Rina Marx in her keynote address said, “Our Constitution and Bill of Rights strongly affirm the democratic value of human dignity, equality, and freedom. As public servants, we are duty-bound to provide non-discriminatory quality services to all, be it in healthcare or law enforcement”. Marx added that sensitisation training is important because it can reduce judgemental and discriminatory attitudes towards people living with HIV/aids. This can, in turn, increase empathy and help law enforcement understand their challenges. In her conclusion, the MCC took an opportunity to thank SANAC for availing resources and training for the City of Tshwane and said that the programme would help give the city a true expression of what it is meant to have a multisectoral response to HIV, TB, and STIs for key and vulnerable population groups.
The training will be spread over a period of two months (June-July) with SANAC training the Tshwane Metro police in all the seven regions of the Metro. The aim is to reach most of the 4000 officers in service under TMPD.