Security sector reform

A functioning, responsible and accountable security sector is a vital component in good governance and improving human security. The security sector is often defined as including:

- armed forces and police, intelligence, border agencies, etc

- oversight bodies (eg ministry of police, defence) and justice system (eg courts, prisons)

- private military and security companies, mercenaries, etc

UN-endorsed standards for law enforcement officials include a Code of Conduct and Basic Principles. In 2006, the UN sub-commission on human rights endorsed principles to prevent human rights abuses by state-employed officials with guns. The OECD has also developed SSR guidelines for practitioners.

Global SSR network

Latest news

Ceasefire Campaign, an IANSA member in South Africa, organised a seminar to explore police use of firearms in Johannesburg.

On 14-15 March, IANSA members and Secretariat staff participated in a regional seminar on the joint project by the European Union and the African Union titled “The Fight Against the Illicit Accumulation and Trafficking of Firearms in Africa” in Windhoek, Namibia.

Amnesty international is calling for states to immediately stop the supply of arms and ammunition to Bahrain, in response to recent violence against protesters in the country, killing at least 8 people.

More than 24,000 foreign ex-combatants have been demobilised and repatriated from the DR Congo by the UN Stabilisation Mission in the DR Congo (MONUSCO) since 2002.

The Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF) has released a report on the lessons identified and country-specific examples shared during the conference “Security for All: West Africa’s Good Practices on Gender in the Security Sector”,  held in Saly, Senegal in June 2010.

Latest resources

IANSA members in Liberia continue to monitor the election process in the country.

The latest newsletter from the Southern Africa Development Community Council of Non Governmental Organizations (SADC-CNGO) includes a statement condemning recent violence against protesters in Malawi

The use of private military companies has been a source of controversy for many years. The UN has addressed the subject through its human rights system.

The website of the Global Facilitation Network for Security Sector Reform (GFN-SSR) contains research, best practices and contacts for SSR practitioners.

Law enforcement officials (including military) are often trained in 'how' to fire a weapon. These principles provide the basis for 'when' to use a weapon, and more importantly when not to use a weapon.

These rules apply to all law enforcement officials, including police and military personnel employed in a law enforcement capacity (eg crowd control). Article 3 includes restrictions on the use of firearms.

A training video on how to police during elections according to humanitarian and legal standards has been launched by UNREC, the UN regional centre for disarmament in Africa.

These extensive guidelines are intended for practitioners of security system reform (SSR), and include many case studies.

This resolution endorses 15 principles for preventing human rights abuses with guns, including abuses committed by state actors (eg law enforcement) and private citizens.

This paper examines policy options for security system reform (SSR).