Comparative Resources for Parliamentary Committees of Defence, Interior and Security

This document outlines comparative resource material on security, defense and interior parliamentary committees. The material is divided according to: established democracies, near and middle-eastern democracies, and post-conflict democracies. The "established democracies" category has quite a few committee Terms of Reference, including from the US, the UK, Switzerland, Australia and France; Also included are some rules of procedure, some of which outline more generally what committees do and how they function. Providing the broader context is generally very useful for an establishing parliament. The near and middle-eastern section sought to draw on Arab parliaments. Many of these countries do not have security-related committees, because oversight, particularly of the security sector, is not always sanctioned; some parliaments simply don't have websites; and a number are only in Arabic. Nevertheless, there are a few that are available, including from Turkey and Iraq.

There are also a few examples from post-conflict countries, given the sensitivities to security in such transitions. Here there is quite a bit, particularly from the Balkans. Also included are some secondary sources and case studies. A section on the "Role of Parliaments in Overseeing the Security Sector," is a collection of secondary sources that are very relevant to security-related committees. These include materials from DCAF, the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), UNDP and a couple of others. There are some good case studies from Palestine and Iraq, among others. There is a book chapter about parliamentary oversight of the security sector in Afghanistan (DCAF publication), which has a focus on committees as well as a more general description of how parliaments can exercise oversight of the security sector.

The IPU is a particularly useful website with a comparative database of parliaments around the world and a webpage where parliamentary websites from around the world are made easily accessible on one page. IPU'  PARLINE database contains information on the structure and working methods of 266 parliamentary chambers in all of the 189 countries that have a parliament.