Can Security Sector Reform Contribute to the Reduction of Gender-Based Violence?

With a Case Study on Sierra Leone

Master's Thesis 2011 88 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: Development Politics


Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction

2. Relevance of Gender for Security Sector Reform

3. The Concept of Security Sector Reform
3.1. Elements and Actors
3.2. Influencing Factors and Relevant Preconditions

4. The Meaning of Gender for Development Cooperation
4.1. Gender-Based Violence
4.2. Sexual Violence in Armed Conflicts
4.3 Consequences of Gender-Based Violence

5. Integrating Gender in Security Sector Reform
5.1. Strategies to Integrate Gender in SSR
5.2. Gender-Sensitive Police Reform
5.2.1. Mandate
5.2.2. Operating Practices
5.2.3. Working Environment and Recruitment

6. Case Study on Sierra Leone
6.1. Civil War
6.2. Prevalence of Gender-Based Violence
6.3. Security Sector Reform
6.3.1. Gender-Sensitive Police Reform
6.3.2. Strengths and Shortcomings

7. Conclusion


List of Figures

Figure 1: Potential Consequences of Gender-Based Violence

Figure 2: Macro Costs of Responding to Gender-Based Violence

Figure 3: Percentage of Female and Male Police Officers in Selected Countries

Figure 4: Examples of Women as Actors and Women as Beneficiaries

Figure 5: Examples of SSR Policy Frameworks

Figure 6: Women in Police Force, Global Average in Percentage

Figure 7: Types of Sexual Violence in Percentage

List of Abbreviations

illustration not visible in this excerpt

1. Introduction

In the late 1990s the concept of security sector reform (SSR) has emerged and gained great importance on the peace-building agenda as well as in general development debates. The development of this concept was strongly influenced by a paradigm shift from state-centred to people-centred approaches and the concept of human security. The international community recognized the linkages between security and development. Referring to the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), “security from disorder, crime and violence is fundamental for reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - and, more broadly, for sustainable economic, social and political development” (OECD 2007: 20). Security sector reform shall therefore contribute to the prevention of insecurities through developing an effective, affordable and efficient security sector as well as ensuring its democratic and civilian control (Valasek 2008: 1).

Critics state that these linkages between security and development, in particular human-centred approaches to security, will rather strengthen military interests than promoting civil conflict management strategies. The application of a widened security definition, including a new perception of sovereignty and norms like the ‘Responsibility to Protect’1, could increase the acceptance of military interventions and broaden military mandates (Brock 2004; Brock 2005). However it can be stated that in particular security sector reform has to be incorporated in development cooperation due to its far-reaching impacts on citizens’ security and consequently sustainable development. Moreover, the United Nations (UN) argues that “reforming the security sector in post- conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, extending legitimate state authority, and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict” (United Nations Security Council 2007: 1).

Supplementary, the growing acceptance of human-centred approaches to security also strengthens the relevance of gender issues for security. It can be argued that security and gender issues have a reciprocal relationship. Therefore the integration of gender issues in security sector reform can create major benefits for women, but also the security sector itself. A well established and responsible security sector will be able to prevent human rights abuses and therefore provide a secure environment for its citizens. In particular the prevention of gender-based violence (GBV) is crucial, because “women’s physical security is [I] an essential prerequisite to their effective participation in peace-building” (UNDP/UNIFEM 2007: 2). Simultaneously, the integration of women in the security sector can improve its service delivery and help to improve the public perception of security institutions, which is often negatively influenced by misbehaviors and corruption. Moreover, the “integration of gender issues into SSR processes increases responsiveness to the security needs and roles of all parts of the community, strengthens local ownership of the reform processes and enhances security sector oversight” (Bastick 2008: 2). But even though women’s participation in peace-building processes has grown rapidly in the last decade, it can be argued that gender issues remain a crucial gap in SSR processes and integrating gender-sensitive strategies are still considered to be of secondary importance.

Due to the limited scope of this thesis, the following research will provide a more detailed analysis of gender-sensitive police reform. The sample of police reform was made by two aspects. First, “police recovery and reform is widely understood to be one of the mainstays of post-conflict recovery, as the effectiveness of all governance processes derives from effective law enforcement” (UNDP/UNIFEM 2007: 2). Second, police is the first security institution that has to deal with gender-based violence as well as with its victims and perpetrators. Hence it is crucial that reform processes consider gender issues, in particular improved prevention and investigation mechanisms for gender-based crimes as well as an increase in female police personnel.

Especially after the occurrence of armed conflicts that are characterized by a systematic utilization of sexual violence, the integration of gender- based violence is of utmost importance. Especially the exposure to gender-based violence, which is one of the most common threats to security in the world, is inadequate in the police sector (Denham 2008: p.3).

The ambition of this paper is therefore to investigate the significance of gender issues for reforming the security sector. Further on it will be analyzed which gender-strategies are crucial for police reform and to which extent gender-sensitive police reform (GSPR) can contribute to a reduction of violence against women. The case study shall examine to which extent gender issues were integrated in GSPR in Sierra Leone. Based on these findings, this analysis will develop recommendations how gender can be integrated successfully into security sector reform. The theoretical part of this paper illustrates the concept of security sector reform and its meaning for peace-building and development. In addition, relevant dimensions and actors are introduced combined with the exemplification of influencing factors and potential obstacles. Afterwards the concept of gender is discussed, including its relevance for development cooperation as well as a description of gender-based violence and its consequences. The theoretical part concludes by merging these two concepts and illustrates the relevance and strategies of gender-sensitive police reform. The second part of this analysis focuses on gender and police reform in Sierra Leone. This chapter begins with a brief description of the civil war in Sierra Leone as well as the prevalence of gender-based violence. Afterwards the chapter analyses to which extent gender-sensitive strategies were integrated in police reform. The paper concludes with recommendations for further gender-sensitive strategies in the security sector and argues if effective police reform can reduce the emergence of gender-based violence.

2. Relevance of Gender for Security Sector Reform

The high significance of gender issues for SSR has to be exemplified by two perspectives, because it has to be differentiated between women as actors and women as beneficiaries. Before illustrating these two perspectives, a brief definition of gender shall be given. The concept of gender may be considered as the particular roles and relationships, personality traits, attitudes, behaviors and values that society ascribes to men and women. Gender therefore refers to the learned differences between men and women, while sex refers to the biological differences between males and females (Popovic 2008: 3).

Even though gender refers to women and men, the analysis of this paper will focus on the role of women in the security sector. It is important to incorporate women in reform processes for several reasons. First of all, the integration and recruitment of women in the security sector can improve its service delivery and help to regain citizen’s trust, which is often destroyed due to human rights abuses conducted by security institutions. Further on, the integration of women in security forces will also alleviate other relevant aspects of SSR, because there are certain contexts in which women’s integration is an operational imperative. One example can be seen in the processes of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR). In most post- conflict societies there are often high numbers of female ex- combatants, which need to be reintegrated into society. These processes, and especially the screening of female ex-combatants, should be conducted by women. By recognizing women in reform processes, including female staff and women’s organizations, local ownership of SSR will be improved as well. In particular, civil society and women’s organizations can help to rebuild relationships with local communities, which have been destroyed by former misbehaviors, and help to identify all forms of security threats faced by individuals.

A successful integration of women will contribute to a more responsive and accountable security sector. These advancements of security forces, especially service delivery of police forces, are well documented:

Research conducted both in the United States and internationally clearly demonstrates that women officers rely on a style of policing that uses less physical force, are better at defusing and de-escalating potentially violent confrontations with citizens, and are less likely to become involved in problems with use of excessive force. Additionally, women officers often possess better communication skills than their male counterparts and are better able to facilitate the cooperation and trust required to implement a community policing model (National Center for Women and Policing 2003: 2).

The consideration of women as actors in the security sector will also have a significant influence on women as beneficiaries. First of all, a well established security sector with effective service delivery will prevent human rights abuses, in particular GBV. The appearance of GBV is one of the largest threats to human security worldwide. Consequently, incorporating GBV should take an important role in security sector reform, because currently it is hardly recognized and addressed by security forces. As Barnes et al. argue, “the social costs of GBV are largely under-estimated and ignored, and it is not generally seen as a security issue that has broader economic or political consequences” (Barnes et al. 2007: 6).

The consequences of GBV will be closer illustrated in chapter four, but it is inevitable that these implications prevent a good economic performance and sustainable development. Hence, integrating gender issues in SSR will not only support the emergence of a responsive and effective security sector, it further improves local ownership and contributes in the long-term process to a state’s development.

3. The Concept of Security Sector Reform

The concept of SSR is a relevant issue in peace-building as well as development debates. The term itself was first introduced by Clare Short, United Kingdom (UK) Secretary of State for International Development, while holding a speech in 1998.2 Its emergence was strongly influenced by conceptual changes in security debates which were based on a shift from state-centred to people-centred security. The meaning of international and state security was undergoing changes, which was also influenced by the end of Cold War and leaded to a more multi-disciplinary understanding of security. Traditionally the security concept was strongly affected by the military balance of power between different states and alliances as well as the ability of these actors to defend their security. Therefore security policy was mainly defined in military terms and has focused on the protection of states; this way of cerebration was prevalent until the 1980s. The developing debate about security has emerged in the beginning of early 1990s: “The nature of security has become one of the most widely discussed elements in the intellectual ferment that has been triggered by the end of the Cold War” (Krause/Williams 1997: 33) and over the years “security became a widely used category for promoting a range of policy issues” (Suhrke 2003: 95). The debate was influenced by new upcoming threats to international security and sources of instability like civil wars, social violence, poverty, terrorism and a rise in migratory movements. Additionally, the end of Cold War enabled a debate on linkages between security and development. In 2002 these linkages were further corroborated by ‘Voices of the Poor’, a study conducted by the World Bank, which stated that insecurity is one of the major obstacles to escaping poverty (Narayan/Petesch 2002). Based on these changes and more complex security challenges, humanitarian issues gained a greater importance for the security debate and the concept of security witnessed a significant widening and deepening.

One remarkable change in the security debate was represented through the concept of human security, which took an important role in reconceptualizing security since the early 90s. The United Nations Development Program’s (UNDP) released milestone publication of the Human Development Report (HDR) “New Dimensions of Human Security” in 1994 put it on the map as a full-blown concept. Referring to the concept of human security it has to be distinguished between two definitions:

1. A broad, nearly encompassing concept that links a wide range of developmental and physical security dimensions. The distinguishing characteristic is that it is the individual not the state or society - whose security is to be enhanced.
2. A specific policy agenda promoted by a network of states and international organizations. [I] The agenda prominently included issues such as a ban on land mines, prohibition of child soldiers, control of small arms, and promotion of the International Criminal Court.

(Suhrke 2003: 99)

Due to the concept of human security, but also influenced by the emergence of ‘new wars’3 and changed threats to international security, the focus of security shifted more and more from a state-centred to a people-centred approach. It was recognized by the international community that the primary focus of security concepts should concentrate on individuals and social groups. The privilege of state security was therefore replaced and for the first time a state’s dysfunctionality was seen as a potential cause of insecurity. The above mentioned HDR highlights this new perception and outlines seven different aspects that have an influence on human security:

- Economic security: access to basic income or some publicly financed safety nets
- Food security: physical and economic access to basic food
- Health security: access to health services
- Environmental security: resistance to e.g. drought or floods as well as water supply and living on marginal land
- Personal security: safety from threats of torture, war, ethnic tension, gangs or individuals
- Community security: exists when individuals in a community, whether of gender, ethnicity, or language, do not feel threatened based on their membership in that community
- Political security: state’s respect for human rights

This new people-centred approach consequently has a certain influence on the concept of security sector reform, even though these “two concepts have contrasting perspectives on the role of the state” (Law 2005: 15). Both concepts recognize the potential differences between a state’s security and the security needs of individuals. Additionally good governance and the importance of civil society are seen as key factors in improving the security sector. However, human security puts a stronger focus on other security providers than the state, while SSR still recognizes the state as a key player in security provision.4 Even though there are some differing perspectives, it can be stated that both concepts have several common elements. Amongst others, both use a comprehensive approach to security challenges, they identify weaknesses in a state’s security provision and they put a strong focus on the security of individuals (Law 2005: 19). As these common elements are rudimentary illustrating, security sector reform differs from former policies of security assistance. In comparison with former policies, the concept of SSR supplementary tries to improve the transparency as well as accountability of security actors and is therefore using a holistic approach, including all relevant dimensions and actors. Further on, SSR also improves the security of citizens and does not only focus on the state itself (Bendix 2009: 9f.). Different actors embrace broader or narrower understandings of this concept, but it can be stated that a definition developed by the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the OECD takes a leading role. According to this, security sector reform includes all the actors, their roles, responsibilities and actions - working together to manage and operate the system in a manner that is more consistent with democratic norms and sound principles of good governance, and thus contributes to a wellfunctioning security framework (OECD 2005: 20).

Therefore SSR can be seen as a system-wide approach that has to be integrated in wider development programs. Security is certainly one of the most important preconditions for sustainable development and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. In 2007 the high significance of security, in particular SSR, was further highlighted by the UN Security Council, which stated that reforming the security sector in post-conflict environments is critical to the consolidation of peace and stability, promoting poverty reduction, rule of law and good governance, extending legitimate state authority, and preventing countries from relapsing into conflict. In that regard, a professional, effective and accountable security sector, and accessible and impartial law- enforcement and justice sectors are equally necessary to laying the foundations for peace and sustainable development (United Nations Security Council 2007: 1).

The recognition of interdependencies between development and security is of high significance for effective development cooperation and is amongst others considered through SSR programs. Reforming the security sector - by providing democratic and civilian control as well as establishing an affordable, effective and efficient security sector - will contribute to sustainable development and is consequently a relevant issue on the peace-building agenda.

3.1. Elements and Actors

For establishing an effective SSR program it is essential to understand who provides security. It can be stated that a wide range of actors are included in this process and additionally actors are not only limited to state agencies. In the last years a high number of private military companies have emerged, but also guerrilla or liberation armies can take over functions in providing security. By recognizing state and non- state actors, the security sector includes the following stakeholders:

- Core security actors: armed forces; police service; gendarmeries; paramilitary forces; presidential guards; intelli- gence and security services (both military and civilian); coast guards; border guards; customs authorities; and reserve or local security units (civil defence forces, national guards, militias).

- Management and oversight bodies: the executive, national security advisory bodies, legislative and legislative select committees; ministries of defence, internal affairs, foreign affairs; customary and traditional authorities; financial management bodies (finance ministries, budget officers, financial audit and planning units); and civil society organizations (civilian review boards and public complaints commissions).

- Justice and the rule of law: judiciary and justice ministries; prisons; criminal investigation and prosecution services; human rights commissions and ombudsmen; and customary and traditional justice systems.

- Non-statutory security forces: liberation armies, guerrilla armies, private security companies, political party militias.

(OECD 2007: 22)

As it is illustrated, SSR has to incorporate a wide range of different actors, but SSR processes shall also address a variety of problems. The reasons for reforming the security sector are multi-faceted and range from post-conflict rebuilding, a disregard of rule of law, human rights abuses to a lack of civilian control. It can be stated that SSR in general covers four different categories of activities. First, the consolidation of civilian control and oversight of the security sector, which includes a strong focus on the collaboration with civil society. Second, the professionalization of the security forces, amongst others by providing trainings and new equipment. Additionally SSR programs have to recognize aspects of demilitarization and peace-building, also including the control of small arms and light weapons (SALW). The fourth category is coping all aspects that contribute to a strengthening of rule of law (Valasek 2008: 2).

Beside these elementary activities, SSR has to cover four different dimensions. One relevant aspect is the political dimension and refers to civilian control and cooperation with civil society. In a long-term process good governance and effective management mechanisms shall be established in the security sector. The economic dimension can be related in some ways to the professionalization of security forces, because its focus is lying on resource allocation. In this regard, sound public financial management practices need to be developed. Third, SSR shall not only provide security for the state, but also and especially for its citizens, which is seen as the social dimension. Another important part in reforming the security sector lies in its institutional dimension and includes the high significance of capacity-building within the security institutions. A well established and clear framework for the different security institutions will improve its efficiency and accountability (Chanaa 2002: 27ff; Wulf 2004: 5). Summarizing it can be stated that SSR “has an explicitly political objective - to ensure that security and justice are provided in a manner consistent with democratic norms, human rights principles and the rule of law” (OECD 2007: 25).

Due to these various dimensions and the sensitive issue of security, meaning interventions in a central part of state sovereignty, SSR has to be recognized as a long-term process, which can take up to a decade until its ambitions are fully achieved. Referring to Baker, a country has to undergo three phases until it reaches a status of normalization.5 Even though Baker puts a strong focus on police reform it can be adopted on other elements of security sector reform as well. First of all, there is a phase of initial response, where military intervention is often necessary to guarantee a minimum level of internal security. During this stage, it has to be decided which reforms will take place in the specific context. In the case of military and police reform, this means either to build up new forces, reconfigure the established ones or reforming these while amending new recruits. In the phase of transformation an accountable and effective security sector has to be established. The implemented mechanisms and procedures will be institutionalized during the phase of sustainability and are further deepened by specific trainings (Baker 2006: 28f).

Establishing all stages in an effective manner is very costly in time and resources. Therefore SSR has to be acknowledged as a long-term process and its funding has to be durable. Additionally, the process has to be internally driven and the international community should primarily focus on being supportive and act as a facilitator. As security sector reform covers a wide range of actors, different activities and dimensions, it is inevitable to have an adequate and intensive preparation. Understanding the specific contexts and the preparation of the political terrain are essential preconditions of effective reform.

3.2. Influencing Factors and Relevant Preconditions

Security sector reform can take place in different contexts, but usually in post-conflict societies, which leads to the fact that there is rarely a good political framework and preconditions are hardly ideal.6 Undoubtedly every context is different and reforms need to be developed individually, but there are some basic challenges which have to be recognized while designing reform processes. As Hänggi argues, “reform contexts matter, and [I] SSR differs from country to country in the sense that, in addition to specific historical conditions, the level of economic development, the nature of the political system and the security environment will heavily influence the pattern of the reform process” (Hänggi 2004: 11).

One key factor is the current level of stability in a country and its security situation. ”At least a minimum level of security is required to advance the process, [because] SSR cannot be implemented in a security vacuum” (Sedra 2010: 8). Beside the often insecure circumstances, the political situation also has a significant influence on the implementation of reform processes. Internal security and military issues are a sensitive issue in nearly all countries, but especially in post-conflict societies, because they are traditional cornerstones of state sovereignty. Respective governments often have a certain mistrust and could assess the reform processes as a method to investigate their security services or that they could become dependent on donor countries in security issues (OECD 2007: 29). Therefore a government’s political will to reform its security sector is of high significance for effective reforms. But the process of SSR can not only be disrupted by the respective governments. Especially in post-conflict societies there are various forms of potential spoilers (e.g. warlords, insurgents or guerillas) which can create certain obstacles to reform processes. Therefore potential spoilers should be analyzed and appropriate strategies need to be developed. In addition, post-conflict societies struggle with disrupted social order and its security forces - especially police and military - are discredited and highly mistrusted by the population, because they have often been involved in human rights abuses during the conflict. These forms of mistrust can also influence the relationship between civil society and the state. The inclusion of civil society in reform processes is seen as one major precondition, because it contributes to the sustainability of SSR. Therefore it is of high significance that the relationship between the state and civil society will be improved and mutual suspicion need to be addressed immediately (Sedra 2010: 18). Additionally security sector reform in post-conflict societies often has to deal with “weak state institutions, a fragile inter- ethnic or political situation, with influential armed and other security forces, both statutory and non-statutory, and precarious economic conditions” (Hänggi 2004: 13). Due to these demanding circumstances and the fact that reforming the security forces often requires a complete reconfiguration, the initiated SSR processes can also be labeled as security sector reconstruction. It is indubitably that SSR in post-conflict societies poses major obstacles. Many countries face a high level of insecurity, which has to be tackled before initiating the primary reform processes. Additionally SSR has to incorporate further processes to handle with implications of the prior conflict, including amongst others the control of SALW, the existence of anti-personal landmines as well as disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes and oversized armed forces (Hänggi 2004: 14).

Further challenges arise by the fact that SSR is a long-term process and therefore organizational and administrative aspects are also of high importance. First of all, donors as well as respective governments need to bear in mind that reforming the security sector can take up to one decade. Thus it is crucial that also minor achievements in the short and medium-term will be publicized to further strengthen legitimacy by local people and respective governments (Sedra 2010: 18).

Additionally, the funding has to be durable, because SSR is expensive and human resource intensive. But it is indispensable that fiscal donor support is solely provided in first stages, e.g. immediate post-conflict situations. The intention of SSR is to establish a self-sufficient security sector and therefore a well-functioning budgeting system need to be developed. To provide sustainability of implemented reform processes, the fiscal durability plays a key role. Partner governments need to be able to provide the financial security to maintain the conducted reforms; a donor-dependency in this regard will only countervail previous achievements.

In general, it can be stated that SSR requires a holistic approach to be successful and a wide range of potential hindrances need to be considered in planning reform processes. Further on, it has to be emphasized that the provision of individual security is seen as a crucial aspect for SSR, which is also based on the linkages with the concept of human security. In particular the aspects of personal, community and political security are providing a basis for integrating gender issues in security sector reform. It is inevitable that SSR has to be seen as a crucial part for sustainable peace-building as well as development. Consequently SSR has to be incorporated in wider development programs while recognizing concurrently other relevant aspects of development cooperation, e.g. the promotion of gender equality.

4. The Meaning of Gender for Development Cooperation

The concept of gender was developed during the 1970s and refers to socially constructed roles of women and men; it is highly influenced by cultural circumstances and learned behaviors. In contrast to the term sex, gender is not determined biologically and can refer to both women and men. Additionally, “gender differences - or ‘gender roles’ - are not static, they vary across cultures and within cultures according to such facts as class, sexual orientation and age” (Bastick 2008: 3). Gender roles are often constructed as oppositional and hierarchical, in principle describing masculinity with power and femininity as vulnerable. It is important to note that gender also refers to men, because various studies still tend to equate gender with women and further have “the tendency to conceptualise men as perpetrators of violence and women mainly as victims of violence or as peacemakers” (Bendix 2009: 19).7

Gender equality is an important issue in development cooperation and especially violence against women is seen as a major obstacle to good economic performance as well as sustainable development.8 Therefore gender inequality has always been a relevant matter for the United Nations and its significance was strengthened by several UN resolutions and declarations. An important contribution for gender equality was the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) in 1948. For the first time, the universality of human rights was explicitly related to gender by stating in Article 2 that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as [I] sex [I]” (UDHR 1948). The appearance of violence against women has always taken a relevant part in the work of the United Nations and its importance was illustrated in many ways. Especially since the early 1990s gender issues have edged ever closer to the spotlight of UN programs, which was mainly influenced by the appearance of massive sexual violence in the conflicts in Rwanda and Bosnia. By way of example, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women further strengthened “the urgent need for the universal application to women of the rights and principles with regard to equality, security, liberty, integrity and dignity of all human beings” (UN General Assembly 1993). Additionally, a gender- sensitive approach to UN conflict management was introduced by the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action in 1995. For some decades the focus was mainly on the abatement of violence against women, but a relevant change in the perception of women and their ways of influences, especially in the context of peace-building, was marked by adopting UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in 2000. Resolution 1325 recognizes the important role of women in peace-building processes and further strengthens the interdependencies between these processes, gender inequality and security. Consequently women’s participation is seen as a crucial element in peace-building by the United Nations as well as donor agencies and has therefore to be recognized in all relevant processes, including security sector reform. But even though women’s engagement is seen as a crucial part for conflict resolution and reconstruction, the UN still emphasizes the need for combating violence against women, because “women’s physical security is [I] an essential prerequisite to their effective participation in peace-building” (UNDP 2007: 2). Another remarkable progress in the struggle for gender equality was taken by the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 as well. Even though all eight development goals are linked to improving gender equality, one goal has a primary focus on this issue. Goal three is to promote gender equality and empower women, amongst others by eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education as well as by a proportion of seats held by women in national parliament.

With the beginning of this decade, the ambition to combat gender inequality was further strengthened and the relevance of women for development is strongly recognized by the international community. As Vlachova argues, “the half-century struggle to end violence against women resulted in a significant shift from a mere declaration of gender equality to a clear condemnation of gender-based violence and, what is of even greater importance, to the recognition of women’s real and potential contribution to peace, human rights protection and development“ (Vlachova/Biason 2004: 13).

Without any doubt, the significance of women in peace-building processes is ever growing and various research has been conducted on the role of women in conflict and post-conflict settings. Based on these changes and the growing importance of women as stakeholders, it is indispensable that women are also recognized in security sector reform. It can be stated that research on this issue is to some extent still insufficient and the incorporation of gender issues in SSR has only fairly begun. But it is also obvious that many organizations follow up on these interdependencies and new collaborations are established. One remarkable cooperation was developed between the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN INSTRAW) and the Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), which developed a toolkit for gender and security sector reform. “The Toolkit was developed in order to increase the knowledge, capacities and exchange regarding the gender aspects of SSR amongst security sector reform policymakers, practitioners and researchers” (Bastick 2008: 3). This toolkit can be seen as an important contribution to the integration of gender in SSR and further as an appreciation of women in peace-building processes.

But as stated before, the UN furthermore puts a strong focus on the combat against gender-based violence and gender inequality, because previous mechanisms are still insufficient. Thus, further resolutions were passed during the last years to fight the appearance of GBV and sexual violence during conflicts. For instance, SCR 1820 in 2008 as well as SCR 1888 and SCR 1889 in 2009 were adopted to further strengthen SCR 1325 - together they form the women, peace and security agenda.9 This agenda consists of four essential aspects:

- Participation: Women need to be incorporated in all levels of peace processes and security policy;
- Protection: Recognition and protection of human rights, especially gender-based violence;
- Prevention: Women have to take part in all relevant measures for conflict prevention, including e.g. peace-building and post- conflict reconstruction;
- Relief and Recovery: Special needs of women should be addressed in relief, early recovery and economic recovery programs. This also includes gender-responsive SSR strategies.

(Dornig/Goede 2010: 5)

The implementation of the women, peace and security agenda clarifies that the perception of gender has surely changed over the past decades and that it is of high significance that women are not only seen as a vulnerable group, but also as relevant stakeholders for sustainable peace and development. Nevertheless it is beyond doubt that various preconditions need to be established to take advantage of women in peace-building processes. It can be stated that the benefits of women as actors and women as beneficiaries will work in a reciprocal way.


1 For detailed information on this issue see Debiel 2004.

2 Speech at the Royal College of Defense Studies, London, 13 May 1998 (Short 1998).

3 For further information on this issue, see Kaldor 2007 and Münkler 2005.

4 Human security recognizes civil society, international organizations (e.g. the United Nations) and in some cases corporate identities as potential security providers (Law 2005).

5 Normalization refers to “the end of extraordinary outside intervention; the determination of policy and standards for all policing (state and non-state) by national political institutions; and operational state policing that is under civilian control and largely according to the rule of law“ (Baker 2006: 28).

6 Hänggi distinguishes between three different reform contexts: developmental, post- authoritarian and post-conflict. For further information on SSR in different contexts see Hänggi 2004: 10ff.

7 For further information on men and SSR, see Bendix 2009: 17ff.

8 For a closer description on the costs of GBV see Chapter 4.3.3.

9 SCR 1325 marked its 10th anniversary in October 2010. For more information on the women, peace and security agenda and its previous successes and shortcomings see Bastick/Torres 2010; Dornig/Goede 2010.


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Security Sector Reform Police Reform Gender-Based Violence Gender Mainstreaming Sierra Leone



Title: Can Security Sector Reform Contribute to the Reduction of Gender-Based Violence?