On 2 and 3 May 2018, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the African Policing Civilian Oversight Forum (APCOF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) hosted a Dialogue on Human Rights and Policing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. The two-day dialogue brought together approximately 45 policing experts, government officials, oversight bodies and civil society representative from accross the South Africa. The Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI) was among the civil society organisations that participated in the dialogue.
The dialogue sought to create a space for constructive discussion between various stakeholders to engage on human rights-related policing; to support and encourage South African contributions and inputs into police policy developments; and to encourage stakeholders to share experiences and comparative analysis of human rights in the policing context.
SERI research associates Michael Clark and Mary Rayner participated in two panel discussions. Michael Clark contirbuted to a panel discussion on the decriminalisation of petty crimes. His presentation, which dealt with the legal challenge to the City of Johannesburg's Operation Clean Sweep, highlighted how the policing of informal trade impacted on the human rights of traders and their families. Mary Rayner contributed to a panel discussion on police oversight mechanisms. Her presentation was based on recent SERI research report, A Double Harm: Police Misuse of Force and Barrier to Necessary Health-Care Services during Student Protests (October 2017), which documents the injuries caused by the often disproportionate and unlawful use of force by police officers called in to disperse campus-based protest at the University of the Witwatersrand in September to November 2016.