The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) works to keep Americans safe at home by countering international crime, illegal drugs, and instability abroad. INL helps countries deliver justice and fairness by strengthening their police, courts, and corrections systems. These efforts reduce the amount of crime and illegal drugs reaching U.S. shores.
Challenges: Burkina Faso is at a critical point in its history. The government has struggled to meet the needs of its citizens as instability and the number of displaced people throughout the country grow.
Burkina Faso’s criminal justice sector also faces numerous challenges, including the need for institutional reform and modernization and more comprehensive efforts to fight impunity and corruption. Several high profile attacks in Ouagadougou and an uptick in violence in the north and east of the country have aggravated the challenges facing the Government of Burkina Faso. Creating substantive improvements in security and the rule of law is essential to build trust and partnership with an activated citizenry. The United States and Burkina Faso share a commitment to address long-term stability through improving public trust and developing an equitable justice system.
Goals: INL’s goal in Burkina Faso is to assist Burkinabe security and justice institutions to serve as legitimate extensions of the central government that effectively provide visible, relevant, and accountable criminal justice services. INL is helping Burkina Faso establish effective, accountable police and corrections institutions to defend the rule of law, promote citizen trust, and address insecurity caused by extremist groups and transnational criminal activity.
Accomplishments: INL efforts demonstrate that communities, informal security actors, and security services in Burkina Faso can work collaboratively to address insecurity.
- Following INL engagement in 2017 in the town of Saaba, the mayor issued a decree formalizing a committee of law enforcement, informal security actors, and citizens who meet regularly to collaborate and address issues of insecurity.
- In 2018, the Government of Burkina Faso hosted the first meeting of a new INL-inspired prison reform network. The Colorado Network for Penitentiary Emergence in West and North Africa (French acronym RECEPAON) includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, and Senegal. RECEPAON is a partner-led initiative conceived during a regional training at INL’s International Corrections Management Training Center in Canon City, Colorado. Burkina Faso planned and executed this event with mentoring and logistical support from INL. The focus of this first meeting was developing and agreeing to founding documents to guide the future of the organization, including the organization’s guiding principles, operating procedures, the official logo, and a work plan for 2019. At the conclusion of the event, the RECEPAON rotating presidency was transferred from Burkina Faso to Mali. INL continues to support this network through advising and training opportunities.