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

At least 31 civilians and members of the security forces have been killed in Jamaica’s capital Kingston this week in gun battles that erupted after the government announced that alleged local drug lord and arms trafficker Christopher "Dudus" Coke will be extradited to the US.

On 27 March, in Kinshasa (DR Congo), IANSA woman Kenneth Enim Ampi from Women for Justice in Congo organised a meeting to share the information that she gathered during the Arms Trade Treaty campaign meeting, held in Vienna (Austria) last February.

A five-day course on Security Sector Reform (SSR) will be held by the Folke Bernadotte Academy in Sandö, (Sweden) on 8-12 March and 8-12 November, 2010.

The latest newsletter of the Global Consortium on Security Transformation (GCST) includes articles about the armed forces in Peru and organised violence in Mexico. More

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).