Recent events around the world – including natural disasters, the pandemic and ongoing and new conflicts – have made international humanitarian action more critical and complex than ever. In these circumstances, it is vital that humanitarian principles such as humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence guide and nurture operational effectiveness.

ICRC New Delhi organized an international workshop on integrating humanitarian principles into law enforcement on 15-16 March 2023 on the RRU campus in Lavad, Gujarat, in collaboration with Rashtriya Raksha University (RRU). Approximately 370 people registered for the seminar.

The event created an important platform, bringing together key international experts, academics, and regional interlocutors to discuss Humanitarian Principles in Law Enforcement. In the seminar attended by over 100 participants, eminent panellists and speakers from Gujarat Police, Gujarat National Law University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, senior Indian Army and Indian Police Service officers, ICRC’s Regional experts from Afghanistan and Bangkok, as well as renowned academicians, shared their insights and experiences. Serving officers of the Central Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force, Indian Coast Guard, and Gujarat Police, academicians, research scholars, and students attended the workshop. The high level of participation from former high-ranking police, military and internal security officials was also noteworthy.

As the seminar opened, Dr Bimal Patel, Vice Chancellor, RRU; Manish Das, Deputy Head of Regional Delegation, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives; and Prof Ivan Mingashang, member ILC provided meaningful remarks that set the tone for stimulating discussions. In the follow-on sessions, participants explored the challenges and best practices of integrating humanitarian principles into law enforcement and security operations to foster a more humane and respectful approach to maintaining peace and order. The presentations by ICRC’s regional experts were well received and generated interesting discussions among the audience. Detailed discussions on contemporary Law Enforcement issues such as Perspectives on 21st Century Law Enforcement, Humanitarian Challenges for Security Forces, Impact of technology on law enforcement and Humanitarian Consequences and Public Order Management and Humanitarian Considerations: States Perspectives enriched the narrative about the integration of human rights principles in law enforcement. Additionally, the seminar highlighted the importance of ICRC dialogue with law enforcement agencies. Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla delivered the valedictory remarks to conclude the successful proceedings at the two-day seminar.

Despite being hosted by an Indian university in the country, the event integrated regional and international expertise. It has also paved the way for future fruitful engagements with regional law enforcement experts and the continued association between the ICRC and the RRU.