Earlier this month Operation 1325 organised a workshop in Juba, South Sudan, on implementing UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in Security Sector Reform (SSR) processes. For the workshop sessions Operation 1325, with sponsorship from the Folke Bernadotte Academy, brought in international SSR expert, Dr. Anthony Cleland Welch. One of the most vital things for SSR to work is that it has to be owned locally, Welch writes.
The author is a leading SSR expert, academic and former UN official and Brigadier in the British army, who has contributed to the debate on security sector reform and post-conflict development and regeneration.
Participation in the workshop organised by Operation 1325/ Eve Organization for Women development in Juba, South Sudan was, for a person who has for many years studied and participated in Security Sector Reform, a rewarding experience. The workshop brought together members of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), international officials working on security and gender issues and a wide selection of civil society actors working on the rights and security of women and girl children.
Security Sector Reform (SSR) is based on the principal of making people safer by ensuring that the military, police and judiciary of a post-conflict country fully understand their responsibilities to all the citizenship of the state, regardless of gender or ethnicity, and that the security institutions come under democratic civilian control. Often other areas of the state, including health, education and economics, fall under the security reform process.
However, the concepts of UNSCR 1325 are often forgotten in the SSR. In order to ensure that UNSCR 1325 forms a part of security reform in South Sudan, the workshop, held 5-10 November, brought together international community representatives and women’s organizations in South Sudan. The aim was to further the understanding of SSR and seek ways that all involved could improve co-ordination and co-operation.
The workshop explained the objectives of SSR and gave examples of how it has been undertaken elsewhere in the world. It also showed how vital UNSCR 1325 was to ensuring that SSR was truly representational and inclusive and how it was vital to local ownership. This is necessary for SSR to work – as it must be owned and understood by all the people of a country, not just the international and local leadership.
Delegates at the workshop, both international and civil society, agreed that SSR was a vital step in ensuring human rights and security for both men and women in South Sudan. The workshop delegates proposed ways in which SSR could be improved by better co-operation within and between the international and local institutions and organizations working in the Republic.
I was struck by the enthusiasm and interest shown by key players in the workshop and trust that this desire to embrace the requirements of women and girl children in security reform can now be conveyed to other officials and activists. The seeds of co-operation and co-ordination that were sown are essential in ensuring that the spirit of UNSCR 1325 will be taken forward and nurtured in the Republic of South Sudan.
Anthony Cleland Welch