Gaëlle Rivard Piché

Policy and Research Papers

The Gradual Emergence of Second Generation Security Sector Reform in El Salvador

First generation security sector reform (SSR) was implemented in El Salvador following the end of the civil war. Despite institutional reforms, Salvadoran SSR remains unfinished. Today, 12 years after the deployment of the new civilian police force, El Salvador is plagued by crime and violence. New strategies are necessary to increase the effectiveness of the security and justice sector to control crime and address insecurity, a primary objective of SSR. This paper argues that renewed SSR should address violence and crime through local initiatives that can then inform the national debate and policy-making process. In that perspective, it looks at two initiatives that were put in place in recent years to address crime and violence in El Salvador: the US Central America Regional Security Initiative and the gang truce. These efforts point to the need to rethink how security is delivered and how the state can tackle crime and violence. Most importantly, the case of El Salvador demonstrates that non-state criminal actors who play an important role in the control of communities cannot be left out of the picture when it comes to violence control and SSR. As such, donors and policy makers must rethink how to deal with those armed actors and adopt more flexible, less state-centric strategies that are more likely to bear results.

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Assessing the Impact of Orthodox Security Sector Reform in El Salvador

el salvador

This paper by the Centre for Security Governance (CSG) is part of a multi year CSG research project titled "Exploring the transition from first to second generation SSR in conflict-affected societies". In 1992, the Chapultepec peace accords brought to an end El Salvador’s civil war and laid the foundation of a profound transformation of national politics. More than 20 years later, the Salvadoran peace has been maintained, but the country remains unable to address epidemic levels of crime and violence. This report assesses the impact of orthodox SSR on peace and security in El Salvador; it evaluates the extent to which the reform process respected the core principles of SSR as conceived by key stakeholders such as the OECD-DAC. SSR in El Salvador was a modest success, based on the first generation SSR model. The reform process was locally owned and changed the security sector in several ways, contributing to the sustainability of the peace process. However, it lacked a long-term and holistic vision that would have truly transformed the security sector, while cronyism and lack of transparency remain an important issue in Salvadoran politics. As a consequence, the Salvadoran security institutions remain unable to prevent and address in a sustainable manner armed crime and violence.

To access the CSG Paper n°10 - Assessing the Impact of Orthodox Security Sector Reform in El Salvador, kindly follow the link.

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