Canada Announces $12 Million in Additional Support for Rule of Law in Afghanistan

(No. 158 - June 12, 2009) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs today announced that Canada will help strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan—one of Canada’s six priorities in the country—through an additional contribution of $12 million to support Afghan police salaries.

“This contribution demonstrates our continued commitment to helping Afghans improve security and rebuild their country as a stable, democratic and self-sufficient society,” said Minister Cannon.

The International Police Coordination Board, which is chaired by Mohamad Hanif Atmar, Afghanistan’s Minister of Interior, recently approved an increase in the number of police officers countrywide, including at least 1,000 new recruits in Kandahar province, ahead of Afghanistan’s elections in August. This additional $12 million in funding to the United Nations Development Programme’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) will help pay the salaries of Afghan National Police officers in the province of Kandahar.

“During my visit to Kandahar in March, I witnessed first-hand the commitment and bravery of Afghan police officers and the efforts underway to rebuild the Afghan National Police,” said Minister Cannon. “It was evident that Afghanistan requires continued support to develop a professional police force that will work with the Afghan National Army to gradually take over responsibility for security in the country from its international partners.”

“Canada is playing a vital role alongside our international partners to help bring security to the region,” said Minister Cannon. “Today’s announcement further demonstrates our continued engagement in helping the Government of Afghanistan promote the rule of law and ensure the safety of its citizens.”

For more information on Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan, please visit: Canada's Engagement in Afghanistan.

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A backgrounder follows.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
613-995-1851

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
613-995-1874
international.gc.ca

Backgrounder

Canada’s Support of the Afghan National Police

Helping strengthen the rule of law by building the capacity of the Afghan National Security Forces is one of Canada’s six priorities in Afghanistan. It is necessary in order to create the security that good governance and development require. Canada’s goal is to help develop a team of Afghan professionals that will gradually take over responsibility for security in the country from their international partners.

The Security Forces comprise the Afghan National Police (ANP) and the Afghan National Army (ANA).

Canadian police and the Canadian Forces have contributed directly to the training of the ANP through the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, and Canada has provided funding for equipment, infrastructure and police salaries.

Canada has announced that it will help further strengthen the rule of law in Afghanistan through a contribution of more than $12 million to the United Nations Development Programme’s Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA). LOTFA is the main instrument for paying the salaries of Afghan National Police officers. The announcement brings Canada’s total contribution for police salaries through LOTFA to just over $80 million between 2002 and the present.

Other recent investments in strengthening the rule of law at a national level in Afghanistan include:

  • The appointment of RCMP Assistant Commissioner Graham Muir as the first Canadian Police Commander in Afghanistan. Assistant Commissioner Muir will provide expertise at the national level to strengthen ANP capabilities.
  • The March 2009 announcement of $19 million for ANP salaries, to be paid through LOTFA.
  • The announcement, also in March, of $1.3 million for the Human Rights Support Unit in Afghanistan’s Ministry of Justice. This contribution underlined Canada’s commitment to help strengthen the Afghan justice system and build the Government of Afghanistan’s capacity to protect and promote human rights.
  • The contribution of approximately $350,000 to reconstruction following the February 11, 2009, attacks against the Ministry of Justice and the Central Prison Department in Kabul.

The Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan

The United Nations Development Programme established the Law and Order Trust Fund for Afghanistan (LOTFA) in May 2002 to manage the international community’s financial contributions to paying, equipping and training the Afghan National Security Forces. LOTFA supports five aspects of police development in Afghanistan:

  1. payment of police salaries;
  2. institutional development;
  3. supply of non-lethal equipment;
  4. construction and repair of police facilities; and
  5. bringing women into the mainstream.

At present, over 95 percent of the funds are dedicated to police salaries. Major LOTFA donors include the United States, the European Commission, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and Italy.

Training

On March 11, 2009, Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior accredited Canada’s Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team Training Centre as a police training facility. This is an important development, as it allows Canadian civilian police to offer specialized and advanced courses that support the overall efforts of the international community, including the U.S.-led Focused District Development program. Courses include leadership and management development, instructor development, officer safety and survival, basic criminal investigation, crowd control, driver training and first aid.

There are currently 29 civilian police officers from the RCMP and other municipal police agencies deployed in Afghanistan. Civilian police have been deployed to Kandahar since August 2005. Their primary role is to monitor, advise, mentor and train the Afghan National Police.