Baghdad Police Commander to Kids at the Center: Count Me as a Friend
Baghdad Police Commander to Kids at the Center: Count Me as a Friend; Takes Immediate Steps to Protect Iraq’s Most Vulnerable Children
October 6, 2015
On October 1, 2015, Baghdad Police Commander Major General Ali Jaseem made an unprecedented 5-hour visit to the Baghdad Center for street children and orphans, bringing with him gifts, a magic show, and an offer of a shelter for the yard.
“This is an exciting development,” said Jonathan Webb, ICF’s Chairman. “When the police and Iraqi community leaders who work with orphans and street children can sit down and work together, there is great potential for creating a whole new narrative of hope for these extremely vulnerable kids.”
The Center is generously funded by so many of you who are part of Iraqi Children Foundation’s team of supporters and donors.
As the Commander sat and talked with the kids, he met with two disabled orphans – one unable to speak and the other with deformed legs. He embraced them and offered to support them with a donation of his own.
The Commander and his staff also met for nearly two hours with ICF partner, Human Rights Defenders (HRD) that operates the Center, taking immediate action on several key fronts:
• Rather than focusing on arresting children who are begging, the Commander ordered the creation of police units to work undercover to arrest child traffickers who exploit children for begging.
• Raise awareness among children as to legal risks they face by sending teams to educate displaced children who may be on the streets as well as school children.
• For family cases, re-examining police practices to consider more use of mediation and social support rather than arrest of a husband/father which can lead to family disintegration.
• HRD will train Juvenile police officers and social workers this month (through funding from UNICEF) with the Commander saying he will attend some of the workshop himself.
• The Commander donated funds for a shelter to cover the center’s garden to protect children from the sun’s heat. A team will come back within days to construct it.
• The commander ordered the issuance of a directive to all police ordering them to fully cooperate with HRD.