HC Deb 03 June 1998 vol 313 cc232-3W
17. Mr. Derek Twigg

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what actions her Department is taking to support security sector reform in developing countries. [42514]

Clare Short

Security sector reform is an important part of the work of my new Department. A security sector that is well tasked and managed can better serve the interests of all. But a military sector that is inappropriately tasked, badly managed and indisciplined can hinder development. We know from our surveys that for very poor people, decent law and order, and a safe and secure environment, are a top priority.

My Department has taken a number of important initiatives to address this problem. We are supporting an OECD initiative to incorporate greater transparency, civilian accountability and control of the security sector as part of development assistance.

I have had discussions with the Secretary of State for Defence on these issues. I gave evidence to the Defence Select Committee and am due to give evidence shortly to the Development Committee on this and related subjects.

Last month my Department sponsored a major seminar on security sector reform with the research group, Saferworld, that brought together a range of leading experts in this area. This seminar will lead to a substantial report later this year, setting out a range of practical ways in which the British government can support security sector reform in developing countries, both bilaterally and through the multilateral institutions.

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