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

Michele Pepe of the West Africa Action Network on Small Arms (WAANSA) and UNIFEM spoke to an assembly of more than 800 army recruits at a meeting in Cote d’Ivoire on 6 October.

On 8 September, Omega Research Foundation and the Institute for Security Studies Africa organised a training workshop on the identification of military, security and policing equipment;

Agnes Marcaillou, Chief of the Regional Disarmament Branch, United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA), visited the IANSA Secretariat in London this week and gave a briefing about the work of the regional disarmament offices.

9 people were killed when a former policeman armed with a .45-caliber pistol and an M-16 assault rifle hijacked a tourist bus with 22 people on board this week.

The Nigerian section of West African Action Network on Small Arms has expressed concern about the government’s recent inauguration of a national task force in response to the proliferation of small arms in Nigeria.

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).