On 21 June 2019, Dr. Vasu Gounden addressed the United Nations (UN) Security Council Ad Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa on Security Sector Reform.
The UN Security Council, in recognising the need for measures to prevent and resolve conflicts taking place currently in Africa, convened the Ad Hoc Working Group to assess current conflict prevention and resolution mechanisms and to make recommendations to the UN Security Council. The current chair of the Ad Hoc Working group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa is South Africa’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador H.E Jerry Matthews Matjila.
During the session Dr. Gounden placed importance on recognising that Africa’s population is growing at an accelerated rate and that many are transferring into urban centres whose cities don’t have the economies to meet the increased demands for jobs and cities who also don’t have the infrastructure needed to provide for the needs of their people. Dr. Gounden further addressed the many threats that face African countries whose security and justice sector is neglected, that dire threats such as cybercrime and trafficking syndicates will become more prevalent in the online space and that Africa is moving more into the conservative and authoritarian realm than the space for freedom and democracy.
This lead Dr. Gounden to highlight that “security and justice sectors must be professional, independent and accountable to civil authority”. He further stated “the starting point for achieving this is the constitution of the country. The Constitution needs to guarantee the separation and independence of the Legislature, Administration and the Judiciary”. In closing, Dr. Gounden made several recommendations for the session, including; that “when security sector documents are drawn up, civilians must be included in the consultation process. The formulation must generally involve experts. Implementation must be left to the executive. Monitoring should generally involve the Legislature as well as civil society organisations like the media and human rights groups. And lastly, that oversight should be left to the courts or in specific cases Independent Commissions”.
The panel also included Ms. Léonie Banga-Bothy, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Central African Republic, Mr. Michael Kingsley-Nyinah, Director, Central and Southern Africa Division, Mt. Muna Ndulo, Professor of law at Cornell Law School and Director of the Institute for African Development and Ms. Merekaje Lorna Nanjia, Secretary General-South Sudan Democratic Engagement Monitoring and Observation Programme (SSuDEMOP).