Lisbon, Portugal, 8 November 2013- Efus organised a Manifesto Day on 8 November in Lisbon which was attended by around 100 participants. This day was part of the work led by the Lisbon municipal police in two of the city’s neighbourhoods: Galinheiras and Ameixoeira.
Indeed, a community policing strategy created by the Lisbon municipal police has been in place since 2007. In this context the police began outreach work with the community group that works in these two neighbourhoods. The topics of mediation, its role in relations between the police and the population, and the upcoming appointment of community mediators from the municipal police in these two neighbourhoods, are discussed regularly with local partners.
Guilherme Pinto, President of Efus
The municipal police had prepared the Manifesto Day beforehand with the help of the partners present in these two neighbourhoods and the local residents, based on the recommendations of the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis. The day began with opening speeches by the president of Efus, Guilherme Pinto, and the Deputy Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Castro; both stressed the importance of building a relationship of trust between citizens, municipal officials and the police. They emphasised that every local policy should include citizen participation. “This approach that consists of bringing the Manifesto of Aubervilliers and Saint-Denis to citizens is an example of a modern initiative promoting democracy,” said Mr. Castro. A French expert in mediation also attended this Manifesto Day; Hibat Tabib (Director of the Association AFPAD for training, prevention and access to the law) presented his experience before concluding the work with the president of the Lisbon Municipal Assembly, Helena Roseta. In addition to the other officials, Maria da Graça Ferreira, the Mayor of the borough in which the neighbourhoods Galinheiras and Ameixoeira are located, also attended.
André Gomes, Guilherme Pinto, Maria da Graça Ferreira, and Carlos Castro
Hibat Tabib and Joana Judice
This Manifesto Day was regarded positively by the participants and particularly by the representatives of citizens’ groups. This day showed the importance of local authorities’ involvement in such participatory and discussion programmes with citizens; their involvement is also crucial as regards mediation and it is important to stress that it is the partnership created in the neighbourhoods of Ameixoeira and Galinheiras that made mediation possible.
The general consensus among the participants at this Manifesto Day is that mediation is a political and cultural challenge for the twenty-first century. Mediation is also a challenge for local development, but it only makes sense if it is done in partnership.