Making the Case for Conflict Sensitivity in Security and Justice Reform Programming

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the need for conflict sensitivity in security and justice sector reform (SJSR) programming. It is intended to help those involved in designing or implementing SJSR programming understand how conflict sensitivity could ensure their programming avoids inadvertently contributing to conflict.
Key questions this document addresses:
What is conflict sensitivity and why is it relevant to SJSR programming?
How might SJSR programming become inadvertently caught up in conflict dynamics?
What tools are available to enable conflict sensitivity in SJSR programming?

Key messages/essential “take aways”:
All interventions introduce resources into a context, be they equipment, funding, training or process enhancement. All resources coming into a conflict context have the potential to become caught up in the conflict dynamic, and thus no intervention is neutral. Unless there is specific analysis of how any type of intervention may inadvertently contribute to tensions there is a real risk that conflict or tensions may escalate – this applies to SJSR programming as well as any other type of intervention in a fragile and conflict affected state.

Support to the security and justice sector can contribute to tensions by:
 inadvertently replicating or amplifying existing tensions;
 reinforcing patterns of domination and exclusion – often causes of conflict;
 Introducing resources which then become the focus of a struggle for control;
 Challenging power and vested interests triggering a violent backlash.

Additionally, for the security and justice sectors the potential exists that skills, facilities, processes or hardware may be misused and promote conflict or violence.

There are a range of tools that have been developed to enable conflict sensitivity in the development and humanitarian sector. Key to these are:
 Conflict analysis;
 Identification of possible interactions between programming and conflict; and
 Revision of programming in light of that analysis.

These are also applicable to SJSR programming.


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