Policy and Research Papers
The security sectors of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are to different extents corrupt, lack democratic control and can even be a threat to the population. They differ in terms of both size and quality, as well as with respect to their willingness to reform. Security Sector Reform (SSR) based on democratic principles is urgently needed but not always welcome. The Western concept of SSR is not very well-known in Central Asia. States are mainly interested in military training and equipment, and less so in long-term measures to democratise and strengthen their security agencies and institutions. European actors hesitantly support Security Sector Reform in Central Asia. Is Europe on track? Should it do more, or less?
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The Expert Working Group on Climate-related Security Risks, hosted by SIPRI, launched a new report on Central Asia.
The report, entitled ‘Central Asia: Climate-related security risk assessment’, is the final in the series produced by the Expert Working Group during 2018. It identifies four priority climate-related security risks in Central Asia such as border conflicts intensifying as climate changes reduce access to natural resources.
Previous reports in the series have focused on the Lake Chad Region, Iraq and Somalia respectively. Each report builds on research and insights from the field in order to provide integrated assessments of climate-related security risks—as well as social, political and economic aspects.
To read the full report, Central Asia: Climate-related security risk assessment, please follow the link provided.
Security Sector Reform in Central Asia: Exploring the Policy - Practice Gap of Police Reforms and the Civil Society Factor in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan
This research paper is an abridged version of Olivier Korthals Altes' Master thesis, that analyses the policy - practice gap of democratic reforms of the police forces in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, and the role of civil society within it. This evidence-based assessment has been related to theoretical debates about Security Sector Reform, the current dominant concept within academic and international policy circles on security assistance that entails (re)building and professionalising security forces while creating democratic institutions and mechanisms to hold them controllable, transparent and accountable. In his research, he has suggested an approach to measure progress of democratic governance of the police forces through a number of qualitative indicators that include the creation of independent public oversight and monitoring bodies, battling corruption within law enforcement agencies, and transparency of official police reports and statistics. He has put the formulated policies by national governments and the OSCE annual reports on police-related activities next to his research findings gained from reports and interviews with local civil society representatives, to indicate the rather limited progress of police reforms in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. It also came forward that strengthening civil society alone will not be enough in a context where the Ministries of Internal Affairs, responsible for the police services and policing, are very resistant to any change, and public support for democratic reforms remains too narrow to make a difference.
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A partial handover of political power through an orchestrated transition takes Kazakhstan into uncharted territory. Will it be able to pursue modernization and reform, and break from its authoritarian past?
For full access to the paper Kazakhstan: Tested by Transition, please follow the link.
This report intends to show the latest developments in security sector reform (SSR) legislation in four Central Asian states. Kazakhstan’s open sources offer the most comprehensive overview of the latest legislation adopted between 2005 and 2011. Kyrgyzstan’s resources are accessible as well, but following the violent regime change in April and the ethnic violence in June 2010, the Parliament and government have started revising many of the laws related to the Interior Ministry and Judicial sector. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have only few pieces of legislation available to the public. The report does not analyse whether changes in the law translated into more democratic and more open control over the military.
This policy brief assesses in what aspects of Security Sector Reform the EU is engaged in with Central Asia andin what context these possible activities should be viewed. The main focus will be on direct engagement on security topics such as the EU Border Management project BOMCA.
However, indirect activities such as education programmes that might be beneficial to security and stability in Central Asia will not be ignored. After an exposé on EU security interests in Central Asia, in the second paragraph attention is devoted to national and regional threats to the security of Central Asian republics and engagement of the EU. The paper concludes with a few recommendations for EU institutions and member states that could help to strengthen EU–Central Asia security cooperation including aspects of Security Sector Reform.