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28 April 2014 - Security Council - Security sector reform: challenges and opportunities - Statement by Mr. Gérard Araud, Permanent Representative of France to the United Nations

(UN Translation)

I would like to thank Nigeria for organizing this open debate, and you, Mr. President, for your statement. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General for his statement.

In the context of the maintenance of international peace and security, security sector reform plays a primary role in two ways. It enables the establishment of the elements that contribute to lasting stability in post-conflict situations and prevents such situations from relapsing into violence.

In crisis situations, the implementation of transparent, effective and fair security institutions, working within a system of good governance and respecting democratic principles and human rights, is essential to restoring a sense of confidence and to providing an environment conducive to the development of a State. SSR can consist of defining a national security strategy or even a legislative strategy; it can also be a support for governance structures of security institutions or used to strengthen the competence and professionalism of the security services, which must evolve in a judicial and penal context that respects human rights.

Among all the foregoing measures, the rehabilitation of police and gendarmerie services and relaunhing justice services are priorities. Because of their visibility in everyday places, police officers and gendarmes are part of restoring the population’s sense of security and trust in the State. We see that in the Central African Republic. Faced with the collapse of the State and with organized, stirred-up and manipulated intercommunal violence, everyone feels threatened and no lasting political dialogue will be established if the citizens do not see police patrolling for their safety, judges prosecuting perpetrators of crime, and criminals going to prison. All those actions help build the security system that countries need and to which we can subsequently transfer our peacekeeping responsibilities. They are therefore the basis of our exit strategies.

Of the 47 resolutions adopted by the Council in 2013, 24 make explicit reference to SSR, which is a sign that the Council will not be satisfied with a short-term response to crisis situations. For example, the SSR missions are central to the mandate of the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire. The SSR unit seeks to foster the fusion of two armed forces that clashed in the past. The goal is to set up a united and cohesive army. Training is therefore being conducted in the field of human rights, and support for equipping the forces is being provided. It is not easy. In South Sudan, we have failed. The United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan was present at the creation practically ex nihilo of police forces that have been committing human rights violations since December. That is unacceptable. It shows — as if that were necessary — the full importance of the Secretary-General’s policies, in particular his due diligence policy on human rights. SSR missions cannot benefit from forces that are guilty of massive violations of human rights. The Council must now bear all the consequences of that.

SSR cannot give tangible results without the full support and cooperation of national authorities. The State must be prepared to commit itself to a thorough, long-term effort. Permanent and inclusive dialogue among the units in charge of SSR, civil society and authorities is essential. In addition, security sector reform must be based on close coordination between the host country and the various actors who support the programme.

For several years, the number of actors involved in SSR has markedly grown. We are pleased to see the international community and Member States mobilize on those matters. The European Union has thus become a leading player. It is present in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo through advisory missions and training missions, and through its significant financial support . In its national capacity, France has participated through its bilateral cooperation — conducted by the Security and Defence Cooperation Directorate — not only in Africa but also in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Haiti. We have also created, within the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, a pool of national experts in security sector reform, which shows the importance we attach to SSR and justifies our decision to co-sponsor the draft resolution that will be adopted this afternoon. But the increased number of actors does not mean we can do without close coordination. Too often, support for SSR involves duplication of effort. The draft resolution is an opportunity to emphasize the necessary effort that is key to the success of SSR missions.

Finally, we believe that the United Nations must develop a more coherent approach to SSR. Indeed, SSR is a complex process that is based not only on an accurate analysis of the needs ex ante, but also on a regular assessment of results and improvements to be made. That recommendation is made in the latest report of the Secretary-General (S/2013/480), and the Council must do its all to ensure that this evaluation exercise is conducted in a systematic fashion. It is important that the Special Representatives and Special Envoys of the Secretary-General take full measure of the importance of SSR and give it the place it deserves in their missions. Quality support to SSR is the guarantee of the success of those processes and, ultimately, a factor that favours stability and development in the countries concerned and thus a guarantee of their efficiency for the United Nations.

More on SSR.

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Organisation des Nations Unies Présidence de la République France Diplomatie La France à l'Office des Nations Unies à Genève Union Européenne Première réunion de l'ONU