Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the UN, United States

Open Debate Security Council on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security Sector Reform”

NEW YORK, 28 April 2014

STATEMENT BY H.E. Karel J.G. van Oosterom, Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to the United Nations. Open Debate of the Security Council on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Security Sector Reform”

Mr. President,

I would like to thank Nigeria for organizing this important Open Debate and for its excellent concept-paper. The Netherlands also welcomes the SG report and the recommendations made therein. Both documents emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach towards Security Sector Reform within the UN system, as well as the need to focus on nationally owned SSR efforts. We fully support these notions. The Netherlands aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.

Mr. President,

My government sees a close relationship between peace and security, good governance and rule of law, as well as sustainable development. Let me quote the fundamental formula of the UN World Summit in September 2005.  “There is no peace without development; there is no development without peace; there is no lasting peace and sustainable development without respect for human rights.” In post-conflict situations, this interconnection is even more manifest. In my statement, I will address these issues, as well as the position of women, fighting crime and the role we see for the United Nations.

(Governance and rule of law)

Effectively functioning security services, which protect civilians and respect and secure their rights, are a key element in the reconstruction phase of post-conflict situations. Security Sector Reform can not be seen separately from the Rule of Law. Security services must operate within the framework of the law and be accountable to civilian authorities. This civilian perspective should be the main focus of SSR: to make sure it delivers human security and not only state security. Such a focus is paramount for the effectiveness of security institutions: It is what gives them legitimacy from a legal perspective and trust from the perspective of society. 

Although very complex to achieve, an SSR process, by definition, must be as inclusive at all stages as possible. Governance and national ownership of SSR efforts are crucial for their success and legitimacy. Therefore political realities of the countries concerned must be taken into account. And substantive roles for relevant non-state actors and structures, national reconciliation dialogues and activities in the field of transitional justice must be ensured. In this respect, I would also like to stress that NGO’s, the media and political parties can play an important role in the accountability component of SSR agendas, as they focus on rebuilding the confidence and trust of civilians in security forces, the former often the victims of the latter in conflict. 

(Women, peace and security)

The implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325 on women, peace and security must be a principle guideline in programming and reform in the field of SSR. Steps have been taken to implement this resolution, but more remains to be done, as the UNSC Open Debate last Friday under the able leadership of Nigeria also made clear. Combatting violence against women and promoting the recruitment of female members of the security sectors should be at the core of this agenda. Furthermore, the overall strategy and planning has to be performed from a gender-sensitive perspective. 

(Crime related issues)

I would like to point out another important, yet often underestimated aspect of SSR: international or transnational crime. Around the world we witness the destabilizing effects of criminal activities, attracted by regions with weak governance and poor security institutions. In such situations the smuggling of drugs, human trafficking and corruption are thriving and criminal networks are able to establish proxy-security forces. This requires us to think about the link with international crime when dealing with questions about SSR.

Mr. President,

(SSR – role of the UN)

The Netherlands commends the SG report for clearly presenting the steps that have been taken to transform SSR from ad hoc undertakings to a more comprehensive and UN system-wide approach. The challenges linked with SSR in post-conflict situations are deeply intertwined with the possible success of stabilization and reconstruction efforts. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that relevant UN entities in the field of SSR and the Rule of Law cooperate effectively – both in New York and in the field. The UN has the comparative advantage to play a coordinating role, to assist communities in formulating and asking the right questions concerning their SSR processes and to support countries in building a human rights based security sector. 

(Netherlands contribution)

The Netherlands has been a strong supporter of SSR, not only in our bilateral development and security efforts in fragile and conflict-affected states but also in the UN context. We supported the development of a system-wide UN approach to SSR. We are a strong supporter of enhanced cooperation between UNDP and DPKO through the funding of SSR-projects in the field. And we support the activities of the Group of Friends of SSR, where inclusive dialogue, policy development and building bridges between a variety of international, regional and national stakeholders are central themes. 

(Concluding remarks)

In conclusion, effective SSR is eventually the result of a synergy between efforts in the field of peace and security, governance and rule of law, as well as sustainable development. The Netherlands is proud to be a partner of many countries in the world as well as the UN in each of these areas. We look forward to our continued cooperation to strengthen peace, justice and development worldwide. The continuing debate on SSR will be an important element of these efforts. We thank the SG for his leadership in initiating the first steps to a comprehensive approach towards SSR and remain committed to discuss with the UN and our partners the further development of this important theme.

I thank you Mr. President.