Effective governance and civilian oversight of the security sector are essential mechanisms for improving the accountability of police and other security actors and institutions to ensure that they fulfill their legally-mandated roles and responsibilities to uphold the rights of women and girls to live free of violence. A range of governance and oversight mechanisms are needed at different levels (community, national, regional, international) and through different bodies (internal, executive, parliamentary, independent, civil society) to provide checks and balances to prevent abuses of power and to ensure that security institutions implement their mandate in this area efficiently and effectively (UN Secretary General, 2008).
Oversight should be independent and comprise supervision, inspection, responsibility and control (OECD, 2009). Key governance and oversight mechanisms and responsible bodies for ensuring accountability include:
Internal governance and control (involving military police, disciplinary committees, behaviour/conduct units, human resources, military tribunals)
Executive control (involving head of state, ministries of defense and interior, national security advisory and co-ordinating bodies)
Legislative/ Parliamentary oversight (involving Parliamentarians and oversight bodies)
Judicial review (involving civilian, criminal, administrative and civil courts and tribunals, military courts and tribunals)
Oversight by independent bodies (involving ombudspersons’ office, national human rights institutions, audit office, public complaints commissions)
Civil society oversight (involving think tanks, non-governmental/ civil society organizations, women’s groups, media)
‘National Security Policy-Making and Gender – Tool 8’, Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit’ (Albrecht, P. and Barnes, K. Eds. Bastick and Valasek, 2008). This resource is for staff responsible for drafting, implementing and evaluating security policies. The tool may also be useful to parliamentarians, ministerial staff, civil society, government, international and regional organizations, and donors supporting security policy-development. The tool provides an introduction to the benefits and opportunities of integrating gender issues into national-level security policy making. Available in Arabic; English; French; and Indonesian.
‘Defense Reform and Gender – Tool 3’, Gender & Security Sector Reform Toolkit’ (Hendricks, C., L. Hutton, eds. Bastick and Valasek, 2008). This tool is for security sector reform practitioners and policymakers. It aims to introduce political and implementation actors to the need for a gender perspective in the conduct of reform activities. It addresses both the technical aspects of defense reform (e.g. conducting a defense review and recruitment policies), as well as political-level activities, such as civilian oversight of the sector. Available in Arabic; English; French and Indonesian.
Next Topic Internal governance and control