Twenty (20) justice stakeholders, such as police officers, justices of the peace and attorneys at law in Suriname’s legal system, recently participated in a CVC organized human rights sensitization session. The session is part of CVC’s efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination, against members of key population groups, in legal and defense services. During the session, participants were exposed to information about the challenges faced by vulnerable groups while also building their capacity to respond to the needs of key population groups accessing their services. Educating these professionals and the public about these issues can help reduce structural barriers and increase access to resources. This will allow more efficient decision-making and community advocacy to protect vulnerable groups’ rights.
Participants openly welcomed the discussion topics and were very engaged in the activities. Diego Druivendal, a police inspector, said he left the session feeling more knowledgeable about the issues and will share the lessons with his coworkers. “I plan to share these lessons with my other colleagues. We must change our mindsets and approach vulnerable populations with empathy and respect,” he said.
Another participant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship, and Technological Innovations also shared her takeaways from the session. “I am thankful for this session because it opened our eyes to the various vulnerable groups in our community. Their hardships and challenges need to be acknowledged and accounted for by improving our services for them,” she expressed.
The 2-day session consisted of several interactive presentations and practical exercises to actively engage participants in applying sensitive and inclusive principles in their work. The session was divided into two sections: 1) defining human rights violations/exploring related legal policies and 2) brainstorming initiatives to address the challenges of key populations.
The following topics were discussed:
- Identifying how human rights issues (e.g., HIV and gender-based violence) affect vulnerable populations through perpetuated stigma and discrimination
- Reviewing international agreements that protect key populations and national policies that adversely affect them
- Understanding how to apply a survivor-centered approach in service delivery
- Developing initiatives to mitigate challenges faced by key populations seeking justice/redress
Meanwhile, CVC’s Technical Programme Officer, Sasha Gaye Shaw, said the session was successful. “This session was strategically designed to help justice stakeholders and other duty bearers in Suriname to be better able to help improve the level of service delivery being offered to members of key population groups in the legal system. Seeing how involved the participants were throughout the sessions and hearing their commitment to implement what they’ve learnt in their daily interactions was satisfying. It demonstrates their willingness to help create positive change within their communities and work towards a more inclusive society,” she said.
The session was organized by CVC with support from our in country partner Suriname Men United.