UN: UNSC, UN officials highlight need for effective, accountable security institutions

New York, US (PANA) - The UN Security Council (UNSC) and UN officials have stressed the need to develop effective, affordable and accountable security institutions to lay foundations for rule of law, peace and sustainable development.

PANA in New York on Friday reports that the Security Council members and senior UN officials representing peacekeeping, development and conflict-related sexual violence made this known at a special  briefing on security sector reform held at the UN headquarters.

Assistant Administrator for the Crisis Response Unit of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, who spoke at the briefing, stated: "Only by promoting people’s security and safety, human rights and democratic oversight in the security sector can we lay the foundations for rule of law, peace and sustainable development."

Ms. Nakamitsu said that "security sector reform required both concerted efforts in the lifetime of UN peace operations and longer-term, sustained support", saying: "It is critical, therefore, to sequence and strategically prioritize various tasks."

"Addressing the negative power bases in the security services of post-conflict countries is one of the most challenging aspects of post-conflict reconstruction," she said, stressing the need for predictable and reliable funding sources for national capacity-building efforts.

She said: "We must look at security in the broader context of promoting safe and secure
environments for communities, especially for women, and in terms of facilitating people's
participation in efforts to strengthen security institutions."

The UNDP official also noted that, "we must also pay more attention to advancing gender
equality and security for women", adding: "These complex situations require a comprehensive and coordinated response from the UN system and international community."

In her remarks, Ms. Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, said: "A comprehensive response to conflict-related sexual violence must include proactive and purposeful engagement with the security sector, particularly in settings where the security services may have been involved in the commission of sexual violence."

She cited the critical nexus between sexual violence crimes and dysfunctional security sector reform processes, or the incomplete disarmament, demobilization and reintegration of former combatants."

Ms. Bangura also gave what she called "tangible results" from initiatives underway such as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Guinea.

She noted that in the DRC, in the 2014 reporting period, military tribunals convicted 135 individuals, including 76 members of the armed forces, 41 members of the national police and 18 members of armed groups, of sexual violence crimes."

In Guinea, the UN official said that a team of experts has provided technical support to a domestic panel of judges established to investigate and prosecute crimes committed against opposition supporters, including at least 109 cases of sexual violence, has resulted in16 indictments, including against high-ranking military officials, and, most recently, former president Dadis Camara.

Moving forward, she stressed that sexual violence prevention should be mainstreamed in all reform processes and be viewed as a fundamental indicator of programme success.

"Greater representation of women in security institutions at all levels was particularly important to help create forces that respected and protected women and children, in times both of war and peace," Ms. Bangura added.

For his part, Mr. Dmitry Titov, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Rule of Law and Security Institutions in the Un Department of Peacekeeping Operations, stressed that security sector professionalization should be at the core of the mandates and activities of UN peace operations where appropriate.

"Well-trained, well-supported and service-oriented police and military professionals are a country’s best defence against the violence and instability that threaten both lives and livelihoods," he said.

Mr. Titov also stated that while peace-operation engagement in security sector reform must concentrate on post-conflict situations, it often has a preventive purpose in some circumstances and should be incorporated early in all relevant operations.

He said that special agreements for such engagements could be facilitated by the UN Security Council, which could also encourage the UN Peacekeeping Department to provide more details on national and international efforts in that vital area.

"In any case, all peace operations should “ideally leave behind at least a basic, functioning security and rule of law system," he concluded.
-0- PANA AA/VAO  21Aug2015

21 august 2015 13:59:47

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