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Security Sector Reform

Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects


Scanlon, Helen, and Kelli Muddell. 2009. “Gender and Transitional Justice in Africa: Progress and Prospects.” African Journal on Conflict Resolution 9 (2): 9-28.

Authors: Helen Scanlon , Kelli Muddell


During the past few decades, different models of transitional justice (TJ) have developed throughout Africa to try to address the mass human rights abuses that have occurred during conflicts. These mechanisms, both judicial and nonjudicial, have often failed to adequately tackle the extensive gender-based violence that has been prevalent on the continent. This article examines the ways truth commissions, legal mechanisms, reparations, security sector reform efforts, and traditional mechanisms in Africa have dealt with gender-based human rights violations. While recent African TJ mechanisms have been innovative in developing means to address crimes against women, these mechanisms continue to fail victims. This is in large part because the current discourse on gender and transitional justice needs to be broadened to better address women’s experiences of conflict. Future TJ initiatives need to re-examine the types of violations prioritised, and recognise the continuum of violence that exists in pre-conflict and post-conflict societies. It is also important to challenge the transitional justice field to stop reducing sexual-based violence to ‘women’s problems’, and explore how men are affected by the gendered dynamics of conflict.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Justice, International Tribunals & Special Courts, Reparations, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Post-Conflict, Rights, Human Rights, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence Regions: Africa

Year: 2009

Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice


Ní Aoláin, Fionnuala. 2009. "Women, Security, and the Patriarchy of Internationalized Transitional Justice." Human Rights Quarterly 31 (4): 1055-85.

Author: Fionnuala Ní Aoláin


In the contemporary global context, transitions from conflict to peace and from authoritarian to democratic governance are a critical preoccupation of many states. In these contexts, accountability for the abuses committed by prior regimes has been a priority for international institutions, states, and new governments. Nonetheless, transitional justice goals have expanded to include a broad range of structural reforms in multiple spheres. Whether an expanded or contracted transitional justice paradigm is used to define the perimeters of change, gender concerns have been markedly absent across jurisdictions experiencing transformation. This article examines the conceptualization of and legal provision for gender security and its subsequent effects upon accountability in times of transition, with particular reference to post-conflict societies. The article closely assesses a range of contemporary issues implicated for women including an examination of post-conflict security from a gender perspective, gender and disarmament, and the centrality and effect of security sector reform for women. The article pays particular attention to the under-theorized and under-researched role of international masculinities, and the patriarchy that is imported with international oversight of transitional societies.

Topics: DDR, Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Justice, Transitional Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2009

Security Forces and Sexual Violence: A Cross-National Analysis of a Principal—Agent Argument


Butler, Christopher K., Tali Gluch, and Neil J. Mitchell. 2007. “Security Forces and Sexual Violence: A Cross-National Analysis of a Principal—Agent Argument.” Journal of Peace Research 44 (6): 669–87. doi:10.1177/0022343307082058.

Authors: Christopher K. Butler, Tali Gluch, Neil J. Mitchell


This article investigates sexual violence committed by government security forces. It focuses on the issue of delegation. It uses principal—agent logic to understand sexual violence committed by these forces and to set up a cross-national empirical analysis. The article provides an approach to measuring the amount of agent discretion in a political system and an analysis of new cross-national data on the incidence of rape and sexual violence committed by police and security forces. It is argued that sexual violence is a category of human rights violation that is more likely to be attributable to the selfish motivations of agents, and it is an act that is likely to be hidden. This article identifies the conditions under which these acts are most likely to occur as conditions of conflict, system-wide slack bureaucratic control, and where there are constraints on information and organization. The theoretical argument makes sense of earlier findings in the human rights literature, such as the importance of democracy and conflict, while directing attention to motivations, accountability, and, for the first time in systematic analyses of human rights, to the particular issue of sexual violence. The use of cross-national data on the incidence of sexual violence for the year 2003 provides preliminary support for the theoretical argument. After controlling for factors likely to increase the incidence of sexual violence, such as military size and ethnic fractionalization, it is found that, where agents are more accountable and subject to tighter control, sexual violence is less likely. Finally, the article points to the importance of additional data collection over time, consistent with other human rights and conflict datasets, and draws out some policy implications following from the theoretical argument and analysis.

Topics: Rights, Human Rights, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Rape

Year: 2007

Assessing the Integration of Gender Issues into Security Reforms in Sierra Leone (2002-2007)


Barnes, Karen. 2011. “Assessing the Integration of Gender Issues into Security Reforms in Sierra Leone (2002-2007).” Paper presented at International Studies Association Annual Conference, Montreal, Quebec, March 16-19.

Author: Karen Barnes


The reform of security institutions has gathered momentum within peacebuilding processes over the past decade, and disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration (DDR) and justice and security sector reform (JSSR) are increasingly seen as means of ensuring a transparent, accountable and democratic security sector in conflict-affected contexts. However, these processes tend to focus on the national-level and are implemented in a top-down manner with little input from stakeholders at the local level, and gender-differentiated security needs are rarely acknowledged and integrated into peacebuilding programming. Using Sierra Leone as a case study, this paper will assess the efforts to integrate gender into the DDR, SSR and justice reform processes during the peacebuilding process from 2002-2007. The paper will argue that women were not perceived to be part of the process of establishing security in Sierra Leone and were depoliticised into the private sphere. As a result, the security reforms did not necessarily meet their needs, and gender issues have not been addressed in the post-conflict phase.

Topics: Armed Conflict, DDR, Gender, Women, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Sierra Leone

Year: 2011

Negotiating the Transition to Democracy and Reforming the Security Sector: The Vital Contributions of South African Women


Naraghi-Anderlini, Sanam, and Camille Pampell Conaway. 2004. Negotiating the Transition to Democracy and Reforming the Security Sector: The Vital Contributions of South African Women. Washington, DC: Institute for Inclusive Security.

Authors: Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini, Camille Pampell Conaway


In October 2000, for the first time in its history, the UN Security Council acknowledged that women have a key role in promoting international stability by passing Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security. It called on all parties to ensure women’s participation in peace processes, from the prevention of conflict to negotiations and postwar reconstruction. The Women Waging Peace Policy Commission was established to examine peace processes, with a particular focus on the contributions of women.

This report, Negotiating the Transition to Democracy and Reforming the Security Sector: The Vital Contributions of South African Women, documents the strategies women used to gain full participation in negotiations and in the transition, as well as their influence in shaping security sector policies and institutions. (Institute for Inclusive Security)

Topics: Democracy / Democratization, Gender, Women, Security Sector Reform Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: South Africa

Year: 2004

Private Military and Security Companies and Gender


Schulz, Sabrina, and Christina Yeung. 2008. “Private Military and Security Companies and Gender.” In Gender and Security Sector Reform Toolkit, edited by Megan Bastick and Kristin Valasek, 1–20. Geneva: Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces-Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights-United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

Authors: Sabrina Schulz, Christina Yeung


This tool addresses the gender aspects and challenges of a relatively new phenomenon: the privatisation of security on a global scale. So far, reliable research data is scarce. Moreover, much of the relevant information, such as companies’ standard operating procedures as well as the contents of most of their contracts, is strictly confidential. However, this must not lead to complacency. In order to ensure the effectiveness and long-term success of security sector reform (SSR) involving Private Security Companies (PSCs) and Private Military Companies (PMCs) it is indispensable to integrate gender aspects into all operations. This tool will explain why gender is important and how gender initiatives can be developed and implemented in operations involving PSCs and PMCs, largely focusing on international PSCs and PMCs.

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Private Military & Security, Privatization, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2008

Gender and Security in Post-Conflict Peace-Building: A Pilot Study of the Concept of Security in Post-Conflict Liberia


Medie, Peace. 2009. “Gender and Security in Post-Conflict Peace-Building: A Pilot Study of the Concept of Security in Post-Conflict Liberia.” Paper presented at the International Studies Association Annual Convention, New York, February 15.

Author: Peace Medie


In most post-conflict states, threats to the security of individuals remain high and women are especially vulnerable. Although efforts have been made to understand post-conflict (in)security as it relates to gender, the experiences of women have not been fully studied. This study attempts to fill this gap by asking the questions: what constitutes security for women in Liberia and what are the threats to their security. Interviews conducted reveal that rape and sexual violence committed during armed robberies are the most pressing threats to women’s security. The findings also underscore economic insecurity as a principal concern of Liberian women and a strong determinant of how they are affected by Gender-Based Violence (GBV). The findings also reveal that gender is the identity that most strongly determines how women experience (in)security. This paper argues that there is the need to further probe the relationship between women’s identities and their experience of post-conflict (in)security. There is also the need to examine the relationship between armed robbery and rape, to determine if the threats that they pose to women should be tackled within an economic or a women’s-rights lens. Finally, this study recommends a strengthening and gendering of public safety infrastructures, and the economic empowerment of women in post-conflict Liberia.

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Peacebuilding, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Rights, Women's Rights, Security, Human Security, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Rape Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2009

Towards More Coherence? Policy and Legal Aspects of Gender Equality in the Armed Forces of Europe


Eulriet, Irène. 2009. “Towards More Coherence? Policy and Legal Aspects of Gender Equality in the Armed Forces of Europe.” Journal of European Integration 31 (6): 741–56.

Author: Irène Eulriet


This article is concerned with the policy and legal aspects of the incorporation of the gender equality perspective within European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP) missions and Member States’ armed forces. Examining documentation issued by the Council, and relevant jurisprudence from the Court of Justice of the European Communities (ECJ), it appreciates the practical implications and degree of convergence of the measures taken in support of equality between the sexes in the defence and security sector across the first and second pillars. This article argues that while awareness-raising will most likely result from the action of the Council, and although the arbitrariness of discriminatory policies has been reduced through the ECJ jurisprudence, the effects of the overall EU equality activism on the composition of armed forces — be it in national or ESDP troops — are in fact limited.

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militaries, Security, Security Sector Reform Regions: Europe

Year: 2009

Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources


Ward, Jeanne, and Mendy Marsh. 2006. “Sexual Violence against Women and Girls in War and Its Aftermath: Realities, Responses, and Required Resources.” Paper presented at the Symposium on Sexual Violence in Conflict and BeyondBrussels, June 21-23.

Authors: Jeanne Ward, Mendy Marsh

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Gender, Women, Girls, Gender-Based Violence, Health, Mental Health, Trauma, International Organizations, Justice, Post-Conflict, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Security Sector Reform, Sexual Violence, Rape, Sexual Slavery, SV against women

Year: 2006

Gender, Women and Security Sector Reform


Mobekk, Eirin. 2010. “Gender, Women and Security Sector Reform.” International Peacekeeping 17 (2): 278–91. 

Author: Eirin Mobekk


Gender has been marginalized in security sector reform (SSR). Policy has changed in recent years, but the gap between policy and practice remains significant. This article examines gender and SSR, critiques some of the current debate on gender in SSR, outlines the challenges of adopting a gender-sensitive SSR approach and discusses the issue of gender-based violence and justice reform. The article concludes that there is a need to refocus gender in SSR discourse. Gender should be treated within the broader SSR context to avoid the separation of gender from other matters in SSR. Gender is not only about women and essentialist assumptions are not useful to the discourse. There is also a critical need to expand the focus on representation to gender mainstreaming and context sensitivity, and to avoid template models for SSR.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Mainstreaming, Security Sector Reform

Year: 2010


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