Addressing Accountability and Impunity in the Traditional Security Sector; A Critical Link in the Security-Development Nexus
Dustin N. Sharp
University of San Diego - School of Peace Studies
March 27, 2012
REDUCING INSECURITY IN AFRICA: ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES, J. Piombo ed., 2013, Forthcoming
Although the causal connections between them remain an area of continuing research and analysis, development and security are increasingly seen as inextricably intertwined. Implicit in the concept of a “security-development nexus” is a broad notion of what constitutes a threat to security together with the actors understood as necessary to address those threats. Consistent with this expansive “human security” paradigm, a diverse array of actors and institutions are now bringing their expertise to bear on Sub-Saharan Africa’s many security challenges, including key actors within the United States government, both military and civilian. Despite this increasing sophistication, those working on security and development issues are often confronted with a paradox of sorts, which is that the traditional security sector itself — those actors and institutions with the central charge of providing defense and security — have too often instead become a persistent source of insecurity through acts of corruption, extortion, criminality, and various human rights abuses. Without accountability for corruption and human rights abuses in the traditional security sector, the rule or law is undermined, and the prospects for advancing both development and security in the long-term are diminished. In this sense, the problem of the accountability gap within the traditional security sector contributes to a negative feedback loop that makes other issues of governance and insecurity, ranging from fraudulent elections and lack of access to justice, to the ability of the state to address inter-communal violence and competition over access to natural resources, all the more daunting. Addressing the security-development nexus must therefore include greater efforts to close this accountability gap in the traditional security sector. Far from being peripheral to the security-development nexus, issues of accountability and impunity for human rights abuses must be brought to the center of thinking and programming in areas of peace operations, development, and security and justice sector reform. In these efforts, giving greater prominence to the human security lens will also be important. Together, efforts to promote accountability and justice for human rights abuses constitute a critical link in the security-development nexus.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 32
Keywords: Human Rights, Impunity, Security-Development Nexus, Human Security
Date posted: March 28, 2012
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