Recently, the Office of the Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights sponsored the Civilian Security Challenge. The Challenge sought to highlight initiatives the State Department is implementing to advance civilian security. Jennie Kim, then of INL’s Afghanistan and Pakistan Office, won the award for her reporting of how INL’s support of the justice sector in Afghanistan aided 18 year-old Lal Bibi in her quest for justice.
Lal Bibi, a herder's daughter, was raped by Afghan Local Police (ALP) officers in Kunduz province in May 2012. Lal Bibi’s family first reported the attack to the local Department of Women’s Affairs (DOWA). DOWA officials referred Bibi to the only women’s shelter in Kunduz, which Women for Afghan Women opened in 2010 with the help of INL funding. INL is the single-largest donor to Afghanistan’s women’s shelters, funding 11 of 19 shelters. With the support of her family and the shelter, Lal Bibi and her family marched on the provincial governor’s office, told her story to the press, and called for the perpetrators to be arrested. The resulting media coverage brought the case to President Karzai’s attention.
In Kabul, Lal Bibi and her mother received housing and legal aid from another INL-funded women’s shelter, the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Center. When the case went to trial, it was handled by a prosecutor of the Attorney General’s Office Violence Against Women Unit, who had received INL-funded training on Afghan laws to protect women. The defense attorneys were members of the Afghan Independent Bar Association, which INL helped establish in 2008.
Defying tribal custom, and at great risk to herself and her family, Lal Bibi testified against her attackers at the trial. In deeply emotional testimony, Lal Bibi stood her ground and told the court what had happened to her. On November 7, 2012, the verdict came in: the judicial panel upheld the law and convicted four ALP officers for sexual assault, handing down a 16-year prison sentence.
By speaking out to the press, to the police, and to the Governor, Lal Bibi won a landmark case against sexual violence in Afghanistan. Lal Bibi’s case also represents six months of hard work by dedicated Afghan government officials and women’s advocates and reflects the impact of multi-year INL assistance programs in Afghanistan. Through training for Afghan officials, assistance with legislative reform, and support to shelters and legal aid, INL’s justice programs have helped establish an environment where the Afghan people can fight for women like Lal Bibi and win.
Iraqi police officers experience the inside of a Maryland State Police tactical vehicle.
They come ten at a time, most for their first-ever visit to the United States. On arrival, they often know little more about America than what they have seen on television. The Iraqi police officers come from every province in Iraq, including Iraqi Kurdistan, to receive three weeks of training at U.S. police departments throughout the country. The training program, funded by an INL grant to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), provides specialized technical and management training in police science. The five-year program, which began two years ago, has produced 100 Iraqi police graduates and is hugely popular with U.S. police departments who want to participate and learn from Iraqi officers’ experiences.
Although the primary focus of Iraqi police officers who come to the United States is training, an added value of the exchange is their exposure to the U.S. policing culture and the American way of life. One of the officers’ favorite training exercises is going on “ride-alongs” with American officers. The Iraqis are impressed with how U.S. police officers interact with the citizens they serve.
The police-sponsored "Polar Bear Plunge" charity event for the Special Olympics Maryland Fund was a hasty affair in the frigid (18F/-7C) weather.
As part of the program, U.S. police departments also host the Iraqi officers at social and cultural events, whether it is a rodeo, a county fair, or even a mid-January “Polar Bear Plunge.” At a recent charity event for Special Olympics sponsored by the Maryland State Police, one brave Iraqi captain plunged into the frigid waters of Chesapeake Bay, to the delight of his fellow officers and hosts.
The Iraqi officers may not know the real United States before they arrive – one officer said his only knowledge of the U.S. came from watching “Baywatch” and the “Jerry Springer Show” – but after three weeks here they have a changed understanding and fondness for the American people.
Assistant Secretary William Brownfield expressed gratitude to 17 civilian police personnel who gave their lives in overseas operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, during a February 11 memorial event in their honor at Gaylord National Hotel at National Harbor, MD. During the ceremony, the advisors were posthumously awarded the Defense of Freedom Medal.
Family, relatives, and friends of the honored personnel.
The DynCorp honorees had worked on U.S. Department of Defense police training missions, supported by INL, in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2011. Representatives from the Department of State and Department of Defense, along with many DynCorp personnel, joined award recipients’ families to honor the fallen at the ceremony.
Recognizing that brave police advisors such as those honored during the ceremony help us realize our mission to build and sustain a more democratic, secure world, Brownfield also announced INL’s plans to dedicate a new memorial in May 2013 at the Department of State to honor civilian personnel killed supporting Department operations.
The Defense of Freedom Medals, the civilian equivalent of the military's Purple Heart, were presented to the families of the following personnel:
Roland Carroll Barvels of Aberdeen, South Dakota
Brett Patrick Benton of Dry Ridge, Kentucky
Brian Morgan Brian of Camden, Arkansas
Michael Wayne Butler of Rembert, South Carolina
Mike Dawes of Stilwell, Oklahoma
Arsenio Ducusin Domingo of Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina
Richard Thomas Hickman of Cave Springs, Georgia
Leon Vincent Kimbrell of Boiling Springs, South Carolina
Deborah Dawn Klecker of Redman, Oregon
Rudy Guerrero Mesa of Maxwell, Texas
William Lawrence Juneau of Orange County, California
Douglas Stephen Thomas of Lexington, South Carolina
Robert McDonald Timmann of Tallahassee, Florida
Donald Bruce Tow of Lake Havasu, Arizona
Darrell Leroy Wetherbee of Raymond, Maine
Gary Wayne Willard of Resaca, Georgia
Ronald Austin Zimmerman of Glenwood, Indiana