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Why security forces do not deliver security: evidence from Liberia and the Central African Republic

[journal article]

Mehler, Andreas

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Abstract Little attention has been paid to the factual contribution of the state’s security forces to the physical security of African citizens. Reports about security forces adding to a widespread insecurity are frequent: the protectors become violators, and their appearance causes fear, not security. In many African crisis countries the realization of better security forces appears to be an elusive goal, either because violent conflicts are not definitively settled and therefore do not allow for decent reform or because a lack of capacity as a result of material constraints is not easy to remedy. Above all, the political will of governments to reform their security forces, including their composition and structure, is often limited. This contribution compares the security provision by official forces in Liberia and the Central African Republic, two extreme cases of strong and weak international involvement, respectively, in postconflict security-sector reform. Blueprint models for such reforms that do not take into account local expectations and experiences are bound to fail.
Keywords Liberia; Central African Republic; security sector; reform; military; police; domestic security; conflict potential; security policy; developing country; Africa
Classification Peace and Conflict Research, International Conflicts, Security Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2012
Page/Pages p. 49-69
Journal Armed Forces & Society, 38 (2012) 1
ISSN 1556-0848
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.