The concepts ‘security sector’ and ‘security sector reform’ first appeared in the late 1990s, and although these relatively new terms have become widely used, no single globally accepted definition has yet emerged. UN report defines a security sector as “a broad term used to describe the structures, institutions and personnel responsible for the management, provision and oversight of security in a country.” It is generally accepted that the security sector includes defence, law enforcement, corrections, intelligence services and institutions responsible for border management, customs and civil emergencies.
Actors involved in diverse fields, including development assistance, democracy promotion, conflict prevention, peacekeeping and post-conflict peace building differ in their understanding of the scope of the security sector, and consequently, of which actors and institutions are and should be involved in security sector reform. The United Nations Secretary-General in its 2008 report refers to security sector reform as “a process of assessment, review and implementation as well as monitoring and evaluation of the security sector, led by national authorities, and that has as its goal the enhancement of effective and accountable security for the State and its peoples, without discrimination and with full respect of human rights and the rule of law”.
Establishing international peace and the rule of law are the cherished objective of the Non-Aligned Movement. As such, NAM has the importance of security sector reform (SSR) among other important components in the context of UN peacekeeping and post conflict situations, and stressed that SSR should be integrated in the broad framework of UN Rule of Law activities, thus ensuring that SSR activities and structures are not duplicating the work carried out in the Rule of Law area.
NAM has reaffirmed that the development of a UN approach to SSR must take place within the General Assembly, and in accordance with the principle of national ownership, and stressed that the formulation of strategies to SSR, including its scope and mandate, should be carried out through the intergovernmental process and must be context-specific. NAM has further called for need to take a human security approach when analyzing the security sector in a given environment as a precondition for setting priorities and developing the narrower range of activities that are necessary.
NAM has emphasized that SSR should be undertaken at the request of the country concerned, and underlined the primary responsibility and the sovereign right of the country concerned in determining its national priorities in this regard.
It has also highlighted need to simultaneously address the role of armed non-state actors and informal security institutions in post-conflict SSR while building governmental capacity to provide security to the people in an accountable way ,and the importance of coordination among intergovernmental organizations (and other international actors) involved in SSR assistance, which is clearly vital.
India, as one of the prominent member state of the Non-Aligned Movement has regularly called for security sector reforms. In 2014, India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Asoke Mukerji said in a U.N. Security Council debate on ’Security Sector Reform (SSR): Challenges and Opportunities’ that security sector reform is an “important element of post-conflict peace-building” and should be part of the internal political process of a nation emerging from conflict.
Mr. Mukerji said India has experience relevant to reform of a country’s security sector, having played an active role in 43 U.N. peacekeeping missions in which almost 170,000 Indian peacekeepers have participated so far. Six peacekeeping operations and eight Special Political Missions have been mandated to do SSR and in many of these peacekeeping operations, troops from India are directly involved.
Mr Mukerji outlined India’s principled position on Security Sector reforms in the following remarks: “The most sustainable way for effective reforms is by ensuring national ownership of the process. Given the importance of national ownership and the scarcity of resources, the priority, in our view, should be given to issues such as ensuring impartiality in recruitment, vetting of new recruits and training. Security sector capacity building needs to necessarily occupy centre-stage in security sector reform. Such an approach would be both cost-effective and sustainable” It can thus be inferred that NAM Member States believe that developing and implementing a comprehensive SSR framework is the right step towards post conflict reconstruction in countries ravaged by crisis.