The International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) organised a two-day workshop (February 28 - March 1, 2018) on gender-sensitive interviewing techniques for 5 officers from the Directorate General of the General Security (GS), as part of the technical assistance project Swiss Support to Integrated Border Management Lebanon, funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) and implemented by ICMPD.

As part of a rights-based approach to IBM, the workshop explored the topic of integrating gender issues into border management and how this can contribute to the actual protection and promotion of human rights. Examples of the operational benefits of including a gender dimension in border management were also provided. These include improving the prevention and detection of cases of human trafficking and smuggling; achieving more representative border authorities, by enhancing gender equality and female presence at border crossing points; promoting local ownership and effective collaboration with local authorities and civil society organisations.

Through discussions, role plays and group work, participants then looked into the theoretical and practical aspects of integrating gender into interviewing techniques. Following a recap of previous training, discussions focused on the challenges facing border management and law enforcement agencies in the mainstreaming of gender into interviewing techniques. These include the lack of specific and clear national policies, the misconception of gender as being restricted only to women, the traditional mentality and perception of social roles of men and women and the need for increased awareness-raising on gender within border management and law enforcement agencies.

During the workshop participants shared their experiences with ICMPD and listened to presentations on the added value of mainstreaming gender into interviewing techniques, including the identification/prevention of trafficking in human beings and strengthening the protection of human rights.  They also listened to presentations on good practices in interviewing such as the PEACE model (Preparation and Planning - Engage and Explain - Account - Clarify and Challenge - Closure - Evaluation), considered to be good practice in information gathering and suitable for any type of interviewee; victim, witness or suspect. The model is a non-accusatory, information gathering approach to investigative interviewing, and is based on the assumption that a relaxed subject with whom the interviewer has rapport, is more likely to cooperate.

The workshop constituted an opportunity for participants to share ideas and suggestions over the development of a training module for GS on gender-responsive border management and gender-sensitive interviewing techniques that would also cover identification of trafficking victims and vulnerable groups in need of protection.

From the information collected during the workshop, ICMPD will produce training modules that can be used to raise awareness and improve skills.