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Subject: Conflict | Issued in: 2013 | Symbol: E/ESCWA/ECRI/2013/2

An Overview of the Arab Security Sector Amidst Political Transition: A Reflection of Legacies, Functions and Perceptions
القطاع الأمني في المنطقة العربية في ظل عمليات التحول السياسي: الموروثات والمهام والتصورات

The objective of this paper is to highlight the crucial importance of security sector reform during the challenging time of democratic transition.  Many security services in Arab countries do not utilize modern management practices or computer-based administrative systems, and lack human resources and career development departments, let alone an inspector general’s office to ensure discipline or an internal affairs section to address public complaints. 

This paper argues that any sustainable governance reform of the social contract in Arab countries in transition is inextricably linked to a new concept of the security sector, based on good governance principles that could permeate a new political consensus, profound institutional reforms and a new legal framework.  Security services in these countries must change to serve the public rather than the political interest.  For the purpose of accountability, efficiency and professionalism, and in order to create a culture of institutionalization, civilian oversight of the security sector is essential.  For their part, new civilian leaders must ensure that the security sector receives proper equipment and an adequate budget, particularly for salaries and training.  Security sector reform in the Arab region must be a cultural and ideological discussion, rather than a merely technical one.

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