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The security dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding is widely considered to be a precondition for the political and economic dimensions, and for political and economic development more generally (See, for example, UN 2008:11, Sisk 2009:220, Mayer-Rieckh & Duthie 2009:218). The argument in the literature is that without security, other tasks of statebuilding and reconstruction are not possible (Call 2008a:14).

However, it is important to note here that the security dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding includes mostly softer security measures such as security sector reform, the promotion of human rights and

human security, all measures which are very different from projecting hard military power or waging war.

Like peacebuilding and statebuilding, the term security contains political claims about what the threats or the risks are, whose security is at stake, who is to provide security, and by what means (Rubin 2008:30, Richmond & Franks 2006:28). As Barry Buzan, Ole Weaver and Jaap de Wilde (1998:18) have noted, a security problem is always connected to perceptions of what is to be seen as a security problem, which means that discursive power is essential in questions related to security. While security, like justice, is a contested concept, it is a much less subjective and value-laden concept than justice. As Erik Jensen (2008:126) has noted, it is generally much easier to find a common understanding of security than it is to find a common understanding of justice. At the same time, the literature on security emphasizes the need to be context-specific. As there are multiple sources of insecurity, and as these change over time, no single yardstick is appropriate for every society (Call 2007b:15). Other contextual factors, such as the regional environment and the role of spoilers are also of great importance (Hänggi 2009:346).

In the last two decades since the end of the Cold War, there has been a shift in both academic and practitioner circles away from a narrower state-centric, national and military view of security to a broader focus on human security and non-military threats (See, for example, Buzan, Weaver & de Wilde 1998, Sheehan 2005:3). The shift began with the 1994 UN Human Development Report, which stated that

The concept of security has for too long been interpreted narrowly: as security of territory from external aggression, or as protection of national interests in foreign policy or as global security from the threat of a nuclear holocaust. It has been related more to nation-states than to people. The superpowers were locked in an ideological struggle-fighting a cold war all over the world. The developing nations, having won their independence only recently, were sensitive to any real or perceived threats to their fragile national identities. Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary people who sought security in their daily lives. For many of them, security symbolized protection from the threat of disease, hunger, unemployment, crime, social conflict, political repression and environmental hazards. With the dark shadows of the cold war receding, one can now see that many conflicts are within nations rather than between nations. (UNDP 1994:22)

This shift has resulted in a new security agenda that is both broader and deeper than before. The broadening of the security agenda means the inclusion of primarily non-military security threats, such as environmental scarcity and degradation, the spread of diseases, overpopulation, migration and nuclear catastrophes. The deepening of the security agenda means that there is now a growing willingness to include the security of individuals and groups, rather than just the state, which has previously been the case (Paris 2004b:259).

According to Keith Krause (2009:156), this shift from state security towards human security represents the culmination of the liberal project of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding. As Krause (2009:156) points out, the term human security has its roots in Enlightenment ideas about the importance of personal freedom and the rights of the individual. While the security dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding is, like the other two dimensions, explicitly linked to liberalism, it is much less criticized than the political and the economic dimensions by those who take issue with liberal peacebuilding and its statebuilding approach (See, for example, Richmond 2005, Richmond & Franks 2009, Bhuta 2008). Why this is the case is not exactly clear, but it might be that terms like human security, human rights and security sector reform resonate better with researchers from more critical perspectives, which is where most of the harshest critics of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding are to be found. The generally lower profile, sometimes clandestine, nature of the security dimension might also attract less attention, and thereby less criticism than the more high-profile and visible political and economic dimensions.

3.5.1 Security sector reform

With overlaps to several of the other key concepts of this chapter: rule of law, good governance, human security etc., security sector reform has emerged as a distinct field since the late 1990s, covering efforts to reform the military, police, and all armed personnel, and to bring them under democratic civilian control. This is of crucial importance in the transition from conflict where various armed groups often are operating in an undemocratic manner without democratic or civilian oversight (Mani &

Krause 2009:110). As many of these armed groups are non-state actors, SSR cannot be thought of solely in terms of reforming public structures.

Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) of non-state armed groups is also necessary. DDR is a very important aspect of SSR because if it is done successfully it enhances the law enforcement capability of the police forces. Both demobilization and disarmament of former militias are also two powerful symbols of change in the transition from war to peace (Lia 2006:371).

However, it is important to note that almost nothing has been written in SSR literature about how to handle powerful armed groups, like Hamas and Hezbollah, which simply refuse to demobilize, disarm or integrate their security forces. All that exist in this regard are vague and unspecified phrases like it could be “difficult to carry out SSR activities” (Hänggi 2009:347), or that peacebuilders sometimes have little choice but to act

“illiberally” (Paris 2004a:209).

Almost by definition, the security dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding begins under difficult circumstances where the state often lacks the capacity to provide security and other basic services (Rubin 2008:34). The establishment and control of the means of legitimate violence is therefore considered to be the most important task for the security dimension of statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding (Rubin 2008:34). When peace processes require security reforms or human rights protection, it is necessary simultaneously to strengthen the state, as a weak state usually cannot sustain these reforms (Call 2008a:12). A state undertaking new security reforms in conflict and post-conflict situations must therefore have legitimacy if citizens are to join the security forces and be effective in their work. The success of security sector reform is thus closely related to growing legitimacy of the state. Exemplified by the development in Iraq and Afghanistan, statebuilding as an approach to peacebuilding has encountered difficulty in creating legitimacy for the state and its security forces.

As Rubin (2008:35) has noted, the statebuilding approach includes no basis of national or local legitimacy other than legal and electoral claims, which are generally insufficient in motivating people to sacrifice their lives.

The literature contains no commonly agreed upon definition of SSR, but the UN defines it as

a process of assessment, review and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation led by national authorities that has as its goal the enhancement of effective and accountable security for the State and its peoples without discrimination and with full respect for human rights and the rule of law. (UN 2008:6)

Similarly, the OECD defines SSR as

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 well-functioning security framework. (OECD 2004:20) It is important to note that both these definitions underline the process character of SSR and imply a holistic view of the security sector (cf.

Friedrich 2004:10). According to Heiner Hänggi (2009:337), SSR covers all activities aimed at effective provision of state and human security within a framework of democratic rule. In that sense, SSR is a complex social process, much like democracy, which is always ongoing and where no society will ever achieve perfection (Passia 2006:16).

While SSR covers a broad range of activities, two major categories of SSR activities can be distinguished in the literature (Mayer-Rieckh & Duthie 2009:216, Hänggi 2009:342). The first is measures aimed at reconstructing and improving the capacity of the security forces and justice institutions (which include DDR), and the second is measures aimed at strengthening civilian management and democratic oversight of the security forces and justice institutions. Both the UN (2008:11) and the OECD (2004) also stress the importance of local ownership of the SSR process. This means that in order to be successful, SSR must seek basic consensus and coordination among national actors. A key lesson identified by the UN is that the transformation of the security sector is closely linked to national goals and relationships between various institutions and groups within a country. In other words, SSR is a highly political process, often with winners and losers, and support for it by outside third parties requires both knowledge and sensitivity (UN 2008:11). Potential tensions exist between seeking consensus and striving for inclusiveness on the one hand and vetting measures aimed at excluding human rights abusers on the other hand (Affa’a Mindzie 2010:118). Armed groups naturally feel threatened by SSR efforts aimed at

undermining their status and often also their sources of income as well (Rubin 2008:37).

In the SSR literature, there is a clear tendency towards highlighting the more military aspects of SSR, which in turn has led to a neglect of criminal violence, which is the source of much insecurity in conflict and post-conflict societies. In El Salvador, South Africa and Guatemala – three of the most successful peace processes since the end of the Cold War – the worst violence came in the form of criminality when the wars had ended, after peace agreements had been signed (Call 2007b:4). As Mani (2008:7) has noted, the inability to grapple with criminal violence after transition has been a major failing of international peacebuilding, illustrating the tensions that still exist between national/state security on the one hand and human rights/human security and on the other.

3.5.2 Human security and human rights

The term human security is widely used today by a number of governments, international organizations and NGOs, but a common definition of the term is yet to be found (Krause 2009:150-151). As Paris (2004b:249) has noted, the definitions of human security vary, but most of them emphasize the welfare of ordinary people. The definition by the UN Commission on Human Security’s is one that is often used in the literature:

To protect the vital core of all human lives in ways that enhance human freedoms and human fulfillment. Human security means protecting fundamental freedoms—freedoms that are the essence of life. It means protecting people from critical (severe) and pervasive (widespread) threats and situations. (Commission on Human Security 2003:4)

Critics have been quick to point out that human security is such a vague concept that it can be applied in relation to virtually everything that causes a reduction in human well-being, which means that in the end it will be analytically meaningless (Paris 2004b:264, Sheehan 2005:105). On the other hand, those who advocate using the term have argued that the shift towards human security is not just a matter of labeling, but that it has produced results in terms of increased recognition of new problems and of resources being devoted to them (Krause 2009:152, Sheehan 2005:56).

The shift of focus away from state security towards the security of the individual or the group has highlighted the tensions that sometimes exist between state security on the one hand and human security/human rights on the other, where the former, historically, has often jeopardized the latter two.

The main tension lies in that the state is needed in order to promote and protect human security/human rights, while at the same time, the state is diagnosed as the source of much human insecurity (Krause 2009:154). In defense of the state-centric security paradigm, political realists argue that an expanded security agenda will lead to a loss of focus and that a restricted meaning of security is necessary (See, for example, Walt 1991:213).

While the term human security still lacks a more precise definition, it has undoubtedly changed the focus of the security agenda by showing that a state-centric view of security is no longer sufficient (Buzan 2009:34, Kerr 2010:121). As Krause (2009:155) has noted, issues related to human security – such as security sector reform, protection of civilians, and regulation of weapons – were completely absent from the security agenda a few decades ago.