From state security to human security in conflict zones

By Gabrielle Belli

Traditionally, DDR has been framed as a post-conflict option, but changing conflict dynamics are shifting the DDR mandate. CPA’s are no longer considered a necessary precondition for a DDR program (as in the case of Afghanistan). Lack of a CPA is a reflection of issues surrounding state legitimacy or capacity as a peacebuilding actor and/or security provider. That doesn’t necessarily mean that DDR isn’t possible, but a reframing of DDR is necessary. Where in first and second generation DDR, centralizing and strengthening the state were primary factors to guarantee security, third generation DDR is proving to be a more horizontal process through calibration towards reintegration.

For example, according to the IDDRS, DDR is part of a political strategy to “induce armed actors to exchange violence for dialogue and compromise through power-sharing and electoral participation. It aims to reestablish the State as the sole authority over the use of violence” (emphasis added) (IDDRS, 50).

This is a second generation policy document that no longer reflects practice. Reestablishing the state as the absolute authority over violence is not always possible. DDR cannot prop up failed states nor can it write or enforce a sustainable ceasefire, but DDR gets mandated in these environments.

Where there is no sustainable ceasefire or CPA, or there is a failed state that cannot have a monopoly over violence, or PSO’s don’t have the funds to guarantee security (Haiti, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone are all examples), the focus of DDR should be on protecting civilians and a de-escalation strategy should be fundamental (Rufer 2005). There still has to be a minimum guarantee of security for humans, to allow peacebuilding to begin. A precondition to turning in weapon is trust that they will be not be defenseless, that they will have security, with or without the state.

As stated in paragraph 143 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome (A/RES/60/1), entitled ‘Human Security’, the Heads of State and Government stressed “the right of all people to live in freedom and dignity, free from poverty and despair”, and recognized that “all individuals, in particular vulnerable people, are entitled to freedom from fear and freedom from want, with an equal opportunity to enjoy all their rights and fully develop their human potential” (Source).

DDR enhances human security by creating a conducive environment for peace, through targeting combatants and non-combatants alike. In order to guarantee security through force, past DDR experiences show that intervention with peace forces is only possible if there is a “considerable threat potential.” For example, PSO’s with a Chapter VII mandate have been successful in Afghanistan and Bosnia. (Rufer 2005, 31).

On the other hand, as part of a development process DDR reintegration programming often facilitates the production of equal opportunity (whether it be social, economic or political), enable community solidarity, and provide a platform to address grievances. Through the process of reintegration and development, an environment is created where people no longer need to rely on violence, and human security can successfully be achieved.