Center for International Human Rights

Center for International Human Rights

                                                                          CIHR Theme for 2022-2023                                                       

Human Dignity in the Security Sector: Challenges and Prospects

The term Security Sector refers to all institutions and structures whose mission is to protect society from crime, disorder and other forms of violence. It includes law enforcement agencies, intelligence services, and the armed forces, as well as their civilian staff, training establishments and logistical services.

Security Sector institutions bear the responsibility to protect and defend their nations’ populations. While performing their tasks of enforcing laws and regulations, these agencies are expected to be held accountable to their chain of command, as well as to the people whom they are supposed to serve. Respect for international human rights law and international humanitarian law constitutes a key component in the effort to ensure that the security sector is responsive to public needs and provides security as a public good. When security sector institutions perform poorly, societal trust erodes with adverse repercussions for the well-being of societies and their populations.

During the 2022-2023 academic year, the Center for International Human Rights will critically examine some of the main challenges facing the security sector, challenges associated with governance, transparency and conduct-related issues that undermine the quest for human dignity and weaken the prospect for inclusive social orders. Here are some of the focal issues and questions that our activities will seek to address:

  • With the growing convergence between law enforcement and military operations, what is/are the applicable normative and legal framework(s) and how should tensions between human rights law and humanitarian law be addressed?
  • What are the main challenges in advancing effective training in human rights and humanitarian norms in the security sector? How can these be addressed?
  • What are the main obstacles in advancing accountability for human rights and humanitarian law violations? How can these be addressed?
  • What are some of the best practices in addressing sexual and gender-based violence?
  • What can governments learn from international institutions in advancing security sector reform?