In states that have experienced violent conflict, a return to some degree of security is seen as vital for development and reconstruction to take place. IDD staff have worked at the interface of security and development, on both a theoretical and a practical level, in a range of projects. The department has particular expertise in Security Sector Reform (SSR) and the reconstruction of the security sector after conflict. Given that police, soldiers and irregular forces are amongst the key sources of violence and insecurity facing citizens in some developing states, this is an area which citizens, development agencies and civil society are keen to address.
SSR refers to the instigation of civilian control of armed and security forces with the aim of creating a structure that protects human security rather than threatens it. The core of SSR is the reform of security services and how they relate to the governance structures of a given country and also to the people on the ground. It encompasses everything from police reform, military governance and intelligence as well as involvement in reconstructing governance structures in the wake of conflicts and the reintegration of combatants into society.
IDD also has expertise in the related area of justice, in particular the role of traditional authorities in delivering justice, and the role of transitional justice- which takes place after conflict-in securing long term peace and the rebuilding of fragile social relations. Other aspects of security which group members have worked on include the role of warlords in post-conflict statebuilding and the use of youth employment programmes to reduce involvement in armed violence.
Current and recent projects undertaken by our members in this area includes the following:
- Support for the ‘Special Committee on the Rehabilitation and Integration of the Maoist Combatants’ in Nepal. Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006, around 20,000 former Maoist fighters have been held in seven main cantonments waiting to be demobilised. Most of them see themselves as a victorious army (at least not a defeated one) and are therefore seeking parity with the Nepali Army that has itself just got over the trauma of the Royal massacre in Kathmandu. Professor Paul Jackson’s role is to provide support for the Special Committee by helping them address the issue of what to do with the combatants. In essence, he is assisting them to persuade the army, the Maoists and Nepal’s politicians that integration is possible, whilst drawing on international experience of what happens after wars and his own research in Sierra Leone in particular.
See Professor Paul Jackson’s ‘Week in Nepal’ blog and 'Week in Nepal - six months on'
- Youth Armed Violence and Job Creation. Dr Oliver Walton reviewed donor approaches to addressing armed violence through youth job creation programmes. It covered a range of programmes including reintegration programmes, early recovery and cash for work programmes; as well as integrated AVR programmes that involve youth job creation components. It found that though donors are learning and improving their programmes, there is a still a significant gap between donor rhetoric and practice in this area. Furthermore, both the theoretical and empirical cases for using youth employment programmes as a stand-alone tool for reducing violent conflict are weak.
See the project findings.
- Coexistence and Transitional Justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).Huma Haider’s research explores potential benefits of bringing the field of coexistence into transitional justice. It considers effects and limitations of transitional justice on reconciliation in divided societies in BiH and elsewhere. Coexistence comprises various activities, such as dialogue facilitation; intergroup projects and associations aimed at achieving shared goals; and media campaigns designed to reframe the ‘other’. This research examines how they contribute to processes of social repair and reconciliation and how they influence the ways that narratives emerging from transitional justice processes and mechanisms, such as court decisions or truth commissions, are received.
- Security Sector Reform in Sierra Leone. Professor Paul Jackson has conducted extensive research into how SSR was conducted in Sierra Leone, exploring how these policies unfolded on the ground and the challenges that remain. This was the first, and arguably remains the only, in depth study of how SSR policy evolved which takes into account the perspectives of both the main donor responsible for the process, the UK, and national Sierra Leonean actors. This research was funded by the UK Government Conflict Prevention Pool.
- Warlords, statebuilding and peacebuilding. Dr Danielle Beswick and Professor Paul Jackson have both published papers on the role of warlords and armed groups in statebuilding. Danielle’s work focused on the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and assessed the role of warlords, particularly general Laurent Nkunda, in processes of statebuilding. Paul’s work focused on Northern Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army, questioning how international and national actors engage with such actors when they often seem to have multiple changing demands, but no discernible agreed agenda that can form the basis of a negotiated end to conflict.