Security sector reform

Authored by: Mark Sedra

Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415690195
eBook ISBN: 9780203068175
Adobe ISBN: 9781135082130


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In 2003, Afghan President Hamid Karzai described the Western-backed security sector reform (SSR) process in his country as the ‘basic pre-requisite to [sic] recreating the nation that today's parents hope to leave to future generations’ (quoted in Hodes & Sedra 2007: 51). Such bold statements by both recipient political leaders and donor officials are now routine in states undergoing war-to-peace transitions. It reflects a consensus in the international development and security policy over the importance of SSR ‘for the consolidation of peace and security, in preventing countries from relapsing into conflict and in laying the foundations for sustainable peace’ (UNSG 2008: 3). But it also conceals the rather poor record of achievement of this model of security assistance, which has given rise to a growing chorus of critiques calling for fundamental changes in how it is conceived and applied.

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