This project stems from a need to acknowledge the failure of decades of gradual police reform.

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Illustration by Maldulls – Meritxell Garriga Riba via femiñetas

This project stems from a need to acknowledge the failure of decades of gradual police reform –or lack thereof– and reckons with the legacy of historic and systemic racism in policing institutions. 

These are stories of communities around the world who are successfully substituting collective care to violent police interventions in crisis situations. Inspired by social movements and activists’ protests in the face of violent and discriminatory policing, INCLO members teamed up with grassroots groups in their countries to take a closer look. 

We wanted to ask ourselves: How do demands to ‘defund’ or ‘detask’ police resonate in all parts of the world? Who are the communities disproportionately affected by traditional notions of “public order” and “safety” and what solutions do they want to propose? Are there global lessons we can learn from grassroots social movements fighting against stigmatizing policing and towards the full enjoyment of human rights for all?

From 2022 to 2024, we explored the intersections and disconnects between safety, policing and community-based solutions to social issues. This is what In Our Hands is about. 

We invite you to read these experiences as we gradually publish articles from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Ireland, South Africa, and the United Kingdom of people pushing back against policing discrimination. 

The In Our Hands stories show common trends that stretch across borders:

-The security paradigm continues to carry decades of failure of police reform: this is evidenced in the number of deaths from police shootings during interventions, and of victims of police brutality who come from marginalized communities.
-There is an evident lack of will and imagination from governments to both reform police and enable solutions to community problems that do not require police intervention.
-When policing is applied to a non-security issue, the consequences are severe human rights violations, basically because police are not trained to address and solve issues of drug abuse, sex workers disputes, housing problems, land conflicts, and so many more.
-Police responses that resort to force tend to create further exclusion and violence, rather than generate any progress in the cause for the intervention.

This brings us to three key conclusions:

  • Governments that continuously prioritize police funding over change-driving social programs in budget allocations mark a choice not to address the root causes of community/social problems.
  • Communities must be strengthened, empowered and included in the elaboration of community solutions. We can’t wait for the State to come up with the solutions.
  • The detasking of police on social issues is urgent. We will continue to advocate for the reform of law enforcement institutions until they abide by democratic and human rights.

We hope that In Our Hands will spark critical conversations as we all seek to re-envision a world where all can feel safe and respected, and have the support to thrive.

Illustration by Maldulls - Meritxell Garriga Riba via femiñetas
Illustration by Maldulls – Meritxell Garriga Riba via femiñetas


In Our Hands: Communities rooting out discriminatory policing, is a collection of very diverse articles written by activists, organizers, academics and researchers that propose or reflect on already existing solutions to reduce the harms that accompany the over or discriminatory policing of their communities. 

Ranging from abolitionist to more reformist, these articles raise the voices of communities who question the status quo in the power and protagonism given to police, highlight roles that are better fulfilled by other actors or community members, and above all, make a case for holistic solutions for social ills, centering the human need for care and safety. Believing in the power of creativity and art especially when exploring these difficult topics, we also partnered with the platform femiñetas to commission illustrations for each of these articles.


The International Network of Civil Liberties Organizations is a network of 15 national human rights and civil liberties organizations. This project is part of its Civic Space pillar, you can learn about our work here. The member organizations that participated in this project are the Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales (CELS/Argentina), Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA/Canada), Dejusticia (Colombia), Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC/Australia) KontraS (Indonesia), Legal Resource Centre (LRC/South Africa); and Liberty (United Kingdom).

We want to thank all of the writers who contributed to the articles and participated in an extended review process. They include Naomi Wurramarra, Roderick Mamarika, Linda Mamarika,  Elaine Mamarika, Hugh Bland, Nick Espie, Matt Derrig, Monique Hurley, Georgina Orellano, Juliana Miranda, Felipe da Silva Freitas, Jennifer Chambers, Abby Deshman, María José León-Marín, María Angélica Jiménez, Isabel Pereira Arana, Natalia Vargas Zamora, Ana María Malagón Pérez, Sofía Forero Alba, Devon Turner, Jake Lake, Emmanuelle Andrews, Jenny Liston, Martin Collins, Emily Williams, Auliya Rayyan, Nadine Sherani Salsabila, Rozy Brilian Sodik, and Yuli Langowuyo.

We are immensely grateful to Florencia Coll of femiñetas whose creative vision and passion led the following artists to illustrate the articles in the compendium: Bellina Ilustra, Vicky Cuello, Andréa, Tolaini, Kathryn Boyd, Maria Pichel, Estefanía Henao, Pnitas, Ximena Astudillo Delgado and Alina Calzadilla.

The planning and implementation of this project was led by Laura Kauer Garcia and she was joined by Emmanuelle Andrews and Sherylle Dass as co-editors. Myriam Selhi was responsible for coordinating the copy-editing, translations, illustrations and communications.

We’d also like to extend our gratitude to Michael Power of Alt Advisory and Luciana Pol for their editorial guidance, Sam Kelly and the copy editing of Undisputed Proof and Designed for Good’s Taryn McKay for web and graphic design.  

INCLO thanks Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, Oak Foundation and Ford Foundation for their generous support of our work in this area.