Statement by H.E. Mr. Kazuyoshi Umemoto
Deputy Permanent Representative of Japan to the United Nations
At the Open Debate of the Security Council
On “Maintenance of International Peace and Security:
Security Sector Reform: Challenges and Opportunities”
28 April 2014
At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to the Nigerian Presidency for its leadership in convening today’s open debate on an important issue for us all.
As other colleagues mentioned, there is no doubt that Security Sector Reform (SSR) is one of the most significant elements in peacekeeping, peacebuilding, and conflict prevention. Japan fully recognizes its importance and has implemented several programs in the field, such as those in Afghanistan.
Let me point out one challenge in dealing with SSR. The concept note of this debate prepared by the Presidency emphasizes that there is an excessive focus on “hardware” issues relating to training and equipping the security sector, compared to efforts to enhance the delivery of “software-related” support. With regards to this “software-related support,” I believe that enhancing inclusivity in the security sector, especially in the context of rebuilding post-conflict states, is critical.
The reason is simple. If components and members of the military and police are not inclusive enough in the eyes of local people in post-conflict states, those security institutions may be perceived as either biased or serving only specific political groups. This mistrust between local people and the security sector can easily lead to a relapse of violent conflict as we often witnessed in the past.
Recognizing these challenges of inclusivity in SSR, the Japanese Mission hosted a seminar titled, “Inclusivity in Rebuilding States: Focusing on the Inclusivity in SSR,” co-hosting it with the Tanzanian and the Slovak Missions last week. This is part of a series of seminars on inclusivity in rebuilding states, which Japan has co-hosted since last year.
In the seminar, prominent panelists consistently emphasized that it is crucial for post-conflict states to invite different political, social, and ethnic groups, including traditional leaders and women’s groups, into the decision-making and implementation process of building the new security sector. By doing so, these institutions can enjoy legitimacy and impartiality in the local community.
The discussions at the seminar clearly suggest that this dimension of inclusivity should receive more attention and focus in the context of UN assistance in SSR. Rather than giving too much focus on the number and equipment of officers in military and police sections, the international community and the United Nations must pay more attention to and show commitment in supporting an inclusive and nationally-led process in designing, planning, and developing the security sector so that a wider range of local people may participate in the process of creating new security sectors. This inclusive and participatory process will help local people perceive those institutions as “their own military and police,” functioning based on the rule of law, not on their affiliations to political leaders. I believe that the UN through its good offices function should and can help and facilitate more such inclusive and participating process among all stakeholders.
In closing, let me reiterate that Japan is ready to continue to provide assistance for Security Sector Reform in post-conflict situations.
I thank you.