Domestic police and national defence forces that maintain the rule of law and respect human rights are critical for the immediate and long-term stability of countries with a history of conflict, United Nations officials and Member States stressed at the Security Council today.
At the start of a day-long debate on security sector reform chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, which holds the rotating Council presidency for the month of April, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that current crises show what happens when security services lack training, governance and basic capacities.
"Earlier this month, I visited the Central African Republic and saw the terrible consequences of disintegrating security institutions," Mr. Ban said, explaining that the purpose of security sector reform is, simply put, "to make people's lives safer."
He noted that the UN has already supported national security strategies in Côte d'Ivoire, Mali, Liberia, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But he warned that there is an increasing gap between the growing expectations of what the UN could and should do, and the resources to meet them.
Mr. Ban reaffirmed some of the principles of security sector reform outlined in his latest report on the issue, including the linkage between security efforts and broader processes of political and institutional reforms in the countries in question.
"Strengthening operational effectiveness must be combined with efforts to build a strong governance framework, robust accountability and oversight mechanisms, and a culture of integrity and respect for human rights. National ownership is imperative," he said.